Using rip rap for landscape border?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by mike all together, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. mike all together

    mike all together LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    We went and got some varying rip rap (pic below) that we'd like to use to set up a landscaping border in our front yard. I was curious if anyone had any tips on how to best do this. I didn't really find any pointers online for the process since this would be a good bit different than lining up pre-cut landscaping stone.

    What I'm thinking, which is probably off, is:

    We lay the stones out where we want them
    Cut the sod around them
    Pick them up and remove grass, as necessary.
    Dig into ground slightly to lay the rocks in the dirt (how deep?)
    Lay the rocks into the dirt area

    Now, they wouldn't be pressed together perfectly at all places due to their varying size, so what steps would be effective in attempting to stop the bermuda from growing into the landscaping area? Would digging a really deep line where the rocks go and putting some kind of plastic edging into the dirt help?

    Also, we'll lay down the mulch in the actual landscaped area. Would we wnat to put anything between the mulch and the rock to help stop the mulch from washing out through any gaps in the rock during heavy rain? Any suggestions for that?

    Any other tips would be appreciated... I'm just now starting to think out how I'd like to do this, so I know there are probably (quite) a few things I'm missing.

    I've also attached pictures of where our landscaping will go, in case that helps. It won't be in a rectangle like that... we just had the sod laid around the general area and we're going to cut/move, as necessary.

    While I appreciate all feedback (due to the awesome advice you all tend to give here!), if you plan to post regarding asthetics of using that type of rock at all, it won't be necessary. We're going to lay it out and see how we like it. If it ends up looking like crap, we'll go with something else in its place.

    Rip Rap 2 - Copy.JPG

    Landscape bed resized.JPG
  2. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 345

    Id put down the plastic edging and put some landscaping fabric on the rest to stop the weeds and crap from growing up through the mulch and rocks.
  3. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    This uneven basic border of rock will only allow grass to grow between them and invade the mulch. You can use colmet steel edging to outline that boxbed first and then place the stones around the perimeter.........but you are still going to have to floss those stones after mowing.
  4. georgiagrass

    georgiagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 970

    ditto. Bad plan.
  5. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,102

    why nt mortar them in with a small footing to keep grass from creeping in, i would of chose a larger rock to work with, one that could be built with mortar.....or an entirley diffrent edging.
  6. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    Good advice but on a hunch here.........this photo looks like a spec home- first time install for landscapes. There isn't much money allocated out for the landscape or else they would want something more permanent.
    I am not banishing this poster.......I see these types of landscapes installed by low cost builders and DIY homeowner's. If I were to mortar in any type of stone-it wouldn't be this stuff. TOO UNEVEN!!!
  7. trdtundra00

    trdtundra00 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    when a customer wants to use rocks like that for border, we cut the bed to the shape we want it, then place the rocks an inch or 2 inside the bed line. this leaves us enough room to edge the bed with trimmers like we normally would on a bed with no rock border keeping any grass from intruding and leaving a nice crisp looking edge while retaining the look of the border.
  8. bradseabridge

    bradseabridge LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 720

    That's what I do as well.
  9. mike all together

    mike all together LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Thank you for the responses. I was looking, instead, at doing concrete curbing but can't find anyone to do it. We only need about 30ft done and don't have a tree in the front to bring the square footage up a bit. No one I've found is close enough that they'd do it for their regular price for that size of job - they all want to throw a $300 minimum in there, which isn't worth it.

    So, going back to the rip rap idea...

    When using the trimmer, whether plastic or metal, are you talking about leaving it sticking out like it's normally done when people use only the edging for their beds? I think that'd look pretty tacky in front of the stone, obviously. How deep can I put it in the ground before worrying about the grass just going over it (or, better, what's the smallest amount I can have out of the ground)?
  10. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I think they'll look good. My only other suggestion for aesthetics is to use a larger cobble stone such as 6 inch river rock or granite pieces.

    I would cut a trench about 4 inches deep where you plan on putting the rock. Then I would mix up type S mortar and fill the trench one bag at a time. It looks like you would need three bags.

    Then set your stones in the mortar. Basically it will give you a curb edge to help keep the grass out and the mulch in. Be careful though and try to keep the mortar low so it doesn't show terribly bad when you are done.

    Just setting them in dry isn't going to do you any good. They'll move and the grass will work in between them.

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