The straggly grass that tries to grow under the shady canopy of a beautiful tree can make the yard look ragged and unkempt. Put edge pavers around a tree to create a neat and tidy boundary between the trunk and lawn or rock landscaping.
Benefits of Pavers Around Trees
Pavers allow water to seep through to the root zone and doesn't suffocate the underlying root system. Roots from the tree that eventually find their way under pavers may lift them, but they are relatively easy to replace or adjust.
Know the Tree Size
Before installing a tree ring with pavers, know how large the tree will grow and the characteristics of its root system. Some trees have deep roots while others have knotted roots that grow along the soil line.
Allow about 1 foot of horizontal space around the trunk for every 10 feet of vertical height of the tree. This gives the roots room to grow and breathe under the soil. A tree that will grow as tall as 30 feet needs about 3 to 4 feet of space between the trunk and the ring of pavers. Trees that will end up at a towering 50 feet need 5 feet of space.
Prepare the Area
The project can be finished in a weekend. Choose a time when the weather is clear and dry. Pull out old mulch and weeds from around the tree with a rake. Dig out stubborn or leggy weeds with a weed tool.
Place Pavers Around the Tree
Lay the bricks down in the preferred shape and allow for curves and turns. Cut bricks into keystones where the brick pattern changes or they don't align, such as at the arch of a curve. To mark a brick to fit snugly, such as on a turn, first set each brick that will be on either side of the cut brick. Then, set the brick you will cut over the two neighboring bricks, and mark the cuts. You can use a masonry chisel and hammer to cut clay bricks or precast concrete pavers.
Install Edge Pavers Around Tree
Dig a trench to hold the base row of bricks and a few inches of gravel. The brick should nestle halfway into the trench. Make the trench a few inches wider than the brick you will be using. Lightly pack the trench with a tamper to create a smooth bed and add about an inch or two of paver base.
Place each brick in the trench and seat it firmly by tapping it with a rubber mallet. If desired, you can check each paver with a torpedo level, but otherwise just make sure it looks good and is consistent with the other pavers. Fill gaps in front of and behind the pavers with the paver base to pack them in.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.