This is a head-scratcher for me:

I have a client who insists that I show steel edging adjacent to all concrete curbs on bid drawings (standard 6" height catch and spill curbs) in a parking lot, as he believes that the edging will somehow prevent mulch material from migrating into the pavement. I have explained verbally and via email that adding edging adjacent and parallel to a curb is wasteful, creates a trip hazard if not installed properly at or below the back of the curb, will look odd, and is a sign of the coming apocalypse (okay, I didn't mention the last part). Despite my advice, he persists. I am therefore including a note on my drawing stating that any extra edging beyond that used to separate turf beds and shrub beds is to be installed against my recommendation as a licensed professional, and that I will not be held liable for any actions resulting from the extra installation. The note (I am contemplating writing the note in 32 point Arial Black font) and correspondence won't prevent a lawsuit, but at least they will make defense a bit easier when somebody trips over the stuff.

My practice does not extend out of southeastern Wyoming and northeastern Colorado, so I am a bit sheltered. I prefer not to use steel edging at all if I can help it, but it does make sense in certain commercial applications.

My basic question: Is using edging in weird places becoming a standard practice elsewhere?

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This is a new one on me and I have practiced everywhere from Pennsylvania to Texas and internationally as well. As for your note on the drawings, having it noted should be sufficient. I don't know that making it GIGANTIC is really going to do much for your relationship with this client. If you have any desire to do future work perhaps simply having it in with your other notes should suffice.

Best of luck and happy holidays!

Ha. Yeah, I just threw it in the notes. Someday I am going to write all my notes in 32 point helvetica so somebody - anybody - will read them. Other than being wasteful and making me look bad - and I need no help in that regard - the only problem I can see with the edging is that the installer will want to put it in such that the top of rolltop is above the height of the curb, or that it will be allowed to rise up out of the ground like other edging with our delightfully expansive soils. I modified my note to include a maintenance statement, so I would hope that I am okay on this one. Back at you on the holiday well wishes.

We receive this comment all of the time in Ca in regards to mulch flooding over into paved areas. As long as the finished grade of the planting area is 1-2" below the adjacent paving, mulch is a thicker/coarser mix, and the slope of the PA is low mulch will not migrate unless of an irrigation break, severe severe flooding, or general vandalism. We typically place 4-8" and then taper at the walk edges the 1-2" below adjacent paving acts as a back stop to mulch migrating.

To answer your question it is not standard but it sounds like a request from a lack of general understanding.

I am often befuddled by requests like this from clients.  ("Use rubber mulch in beds" almost made the top of my head pop off).  I agree with you that if your bedline is backing up to a hard surface like sidewalk or curb it is not needed and a waste of money.  Even if you put notes on your plans and details for the contractor to bury it flush with top of curb it will migrate upward over time and look unsightly as well potentially create a tripping hazard.  If you are not onsite doing construction observation I will guarantee you the contractor will not install it properly.  I have seen plastic edging installed along sidewalks, another head scratcher and it too looks horrible.  I always point out to friend I am with when I see these things what a bad decision it is to install product like this.  I would incorporate your disclaimer notes in with your other general notes and call it a day.  If you want repeat work from this client it is best to keep them happy.

Weird, but a lot of clients hate the mulch overflow - just make sure the mulch overflow won't happen even under heavy rainfall (1"~2" in my experience isn't always enough in some regions if the flash storms drop a lot of rain, particularly if the bed is sloped)

I have seen this more frequently than I would want to here in the Dallas area. It is generally used in residential settings but I have seen it a couple of times in commercial settings. The problem is that the bed prep has been installed at or above the height of the adjacent walk (ie the bed is slightly bermed "in the center") and then mulch is added on top resulting in wash out during rain events.

Try lowering the elevation bed slightly to accommodate the mulch so that it is more flush with the walk once installed. 


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