Remove Paver Edging ?

bobby1973July 1, 2014

Hi folks - hoping to get some suggestions on this one. We recently had a new front walkway installed. The contractor did a great job. One thing that I insisted on was that he insert metal edging along the sides of the walkway, so that the mulch from the adjacent garden beds wouldn't spill over onto the walkway. However once it was installed and I looked at it, I absolutely hated it. It reminds me of that black tubing that certain people will edge their beds with:) So i'm thinking about pulling the metal edging out. I'm sure I could control the mulch runoff by simply making sure the adjacent beds don't mound up too high. I'm more concerned about my 3 and 1 year old boys pulling the clay pavers out of position if I remove the edging. Would I just backfill the space with playsand to help keep the pavers in place. Looking forward to your thoughts. Thanks kindly!

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The walk would disintegrate if you remove the edging and don't replace it with some type of restraining edging. While a raised edging (of some type) is a popular idea to control mulch and soil, it is not the way to do it and is an eyesore.

We can't see the exact details of how this walk is constructed, but the first thing I would explore is if the existing edging could be hammered down about 3/4" below the brick surface. You would need to excavate along the side of the walk, exposing the bottom of the edging. Being very careful not to undermine any of the support material, excavate straight down. Once the edging is exposed, place a piece of wood on top of it. Hammer on the wood -- which will press on the metal edging -- and see if you can tap it down. Since it's a continuous strip, you'd need to tap a little on along the whole length and gradually work the entire strip down to the proper level. You ought to be able to determine if this is likely to work by exposing a couple of feet of edging and see how able it is to be countersunk by tapping. If it works, excavate along the entire side of the walk and tap the whole edging down. Be careful NOT to accidentally hit any of the brick. (That's how the wood piece comes in handy.) Once it is 3/4" below the brick surface, backfill the excavation with soil and mulch.

If the above does not work out, you could remove the edging strip and replace it with any conventional paver restraint. Once upon a time the most common paver restraint was formed of concrete. If you have a wheelbarrow, concrete trowel and skills to mix a bag of ready-mix without making it too soupy, this is still a viable option. If you have access to plastic restraint, it may be easier for you to use, but make sure you don't disturb the area too much while removing the present edging. The plastic restraint needs a solid tamped base to sit on. Depending on what you find in your exploratory excavation, you might need to rebuild the base a little.

To control mulch, the soil and mulch level within the bed should not rise higher than the walk surface. It helps a lot to have a plan that calls for solid planting rather than mulch itself as the finished product. Then you don't need to keep refreshing the mulch over the years and building the level ever higher, creating the ongoing problem of mulch sweeping or washing onto the walk.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 9:04PM
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Excellent, detailed suggestions Yardvaark. I did indeed try tapping down on the metal edging with a rubber mallet, but eventually couldn't lower it any further than it currently is. The main problem is that it's a new construction home and so there's a ton of rocks/boulders under and around that walkway. I suppose I could remove the edging and as you suggested, just mix up some ready-mix concrete and pour it along the edging. That'll certainly keep the individual pavers in place and prevent my boys from playing hide n' go seek with them:) Thanks again!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:19AM
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A rubber mallet cannot deliver the force necessary. That's why you must use a heavy hammer (and a wood piece to protect the edging.) Also, you must excavate alongside the edging first in order to allow room for granular material to be displaced from below the edging as the tapping occurs. If it is not excavated there is no place for the material below the edging to go. It can only be compressed and this makes lowering the edging difficult or impossible.

A concrete edge restraint will have a x-section profile that is mostly vertical. The most common error of novices installing it is to create a mostly HORIZONTAL profile. Use a mix stiff enough to hold a shape and create the correct profile. Making it wrong will cause other problems. Note that there is no concrete directly below the pavers.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:12PM
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I just came across this product online called 'Pave Edge' made by Pave Tech. I don't know why my hardscaping contractor didn't use this type of edging instead. It accomplishes the job of keeping the pavers in place, but at the same time it has a low profile. So it wouldn't even be seen once you backfill. I'm not going to invest my own cash into this product at this point though. I think my best bet is to just use a trowel and apply cement to the sides of the pavers, let it dry, and then backfill with sand and mulch.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:14PM
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Thank you again Yardvaark. I'll let you know how it goes once I tackle it this weekend! Btw, I love your computer rendering. But for my site, you would need to add pictures of large boulders where you labeled the 'concrete restraint' :)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:26AM
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