Complete Guide to Mow Strips

What is a mow strip?

A mower strip is a small architectural element that lives between the grass of a lawn and another element of your yard. That could be a raised patio, a flower bed or even a large vegetable garden. They can also be used to create a border around a tree so that its roots get better water absorption from the rain. The mow strip can be as simple as a row of economy paving stones to something as complex as a poured concrete trough filled with ornate smooth stone. Regardless of what type you choose, the primary purpose is a functional one, and that is to create a border between where you need to mow and where you don’t. The mow strips create a stylish break between the grass and another element of your landscape. Without them, you are forced to either use a string trimmer or have sloppy poorly cut edges of the lawn. The mow strips are something that can be put in place once that will permanently eliminate the need to use a weed wacker that area. A picture is worth a thousand words so we have included some images of beautiful landscapes.
gazebo in park in Georgia

Why Add a Mow Strip?

There are several niche reasons beyond the obvious one listed above. We will write a small summary of each reason below:
  1. Lower Impact Pet Digging – Dogs, Rabbits and other in home pets can get really excited when they have their outside time, and they often dig holes. Rabbits are especially active hole diggers, and these burrows can cause issues if they are next to your patio or porch. The digging can lead to structural issues if the support around the poles are dug up.
  2. Better Water Drainage – Metal awnings will have gutters; however, fabric awnings especially retractable ones will not have this. When rain rolls off the awning, it will go straight down which can cause the water to pool in certain areas. This can cause erosion adjacent to the porch or patio which can lead to structural problems. By adding mow strips, you are channeling the water away from the load bearing supports. Additionally, you if this is a major reason, you can use a porous material like smooth stones with an absorbent sand at the bottom of a trough.
  3. Add a Pop of Color – This can be a very nice method of adding a uniform and elegant design element to your yard. If you have several matching mow strips that can be placed around various parts of the yard. This will create a nice visual break when someone views your yard. This is best explained by looking at the difference of the two yards below:
  4. Protect your Lighting or Irrigation – I think every homeowner has run over an outdoor light an in-ground irrigation sprayer. When it comes to tree borders or garden boundaries if they can be placed inside.

Gazebo in a large field at a distant used for weddings

Are Mow Strips a DIY Project?

The are 100% DIY projects, and the only time I would consider these not a DIY project is if your home is in restrictive Home Owner’s Association (HOA) that prohibits non-licensed professionals from making changes to the outside of the home.
DIY mow strips around a patio is a project that can be completed in a single afternoon. We have included a high-quality YouTube video of someone adding these to their home.

What Supplies Do I Need?

Wilson Smythe
Date Published: 6/15/2017
Date Revised: 8/25/2018

Last Updated:May 04, 2024