Going round in circles

This week has been “give Colin a ring” week (round here things have names which makes referring to them a lot easier).

This is Colin and, in the 17 or so years he’s been resident, the grass-free circle around him has grown every year when the grass gets edged and the circle has become an oval as it’s not easy to cut circles without some sort of template to guide the chopping. It won’t be long before the circle starts growing over the drive and beyond! And as grass roots encroach and other invaders grow through the chippings there’s an almost monthly weeding exercise.

Elsewhere in the garden, metres of Everedge keep the grass in check (and in some cases also stop the gravel from paths spreading over beds and borders). But it’s straight and bending it into a circle and then keeping pieces together has been beyond my capability.

This year, though, those inventive genii at Everedge have invented the pre-shaped garden ring. It comes in three sections and half-a-dozen bolts later it’s fixed together.

It’s worth mentioning that this ring is versatile (apart from coming in two sizes) in that you can use it to create both raised and (as in my case) sunken rings. If you want to create some planting arrangement within a paved or concreted area, you might want it proud of the surrounding surface. Just remember that whichever “side” of the ring (inside or outside) will end up visible is the side from which you insert the bolts – then the heads which are powder coated to match the edging – will be visible rather than the nuts and bolt threads.

So to the excavation. In an ideal world, I’d follow the instructions and mark out a circle using a stick and some string. But to avoid the possibility of theft, Colin is so securely attached to the ground that I can’t remove him. Thinking cap on – how to mark the circle! Easy – just press the ring into the ground a bit and use a spade with a curved blade to cut in between the marks left by the ground spikes.

Voila, marking done and it only took a couple of minutes to make some visible holes (just by wiggling the circle around in the ground a bit).

 

Cutting the circle into the lawn is much easier if done with a spade with a curved blade rather than a half-moon edger. Alternatively, if you have a block of soft wood and the ground is similarly soft you could gently knock the metal circle into the ground to do the cutting for you. Remember that the bottom edge, which will do the cutting, will eventually be hidden anyway. But however you do it, it doesn’t take long to excavate the hole, in this case around the base to which Colin is firmly attached. And here the “Garden Ring” has been laid in place.

Like all Everedge edging products, if you are creating a sunken area you should aim to get the top edge level or a fraction of an inch proud of the surrounding soil surface. It’s important, though, that it isn’t BELOW the surface as this would allow grass roots to grow out of the soil over it. If you’re creating a raised area, then the bottom of the ring should be just below the level of the surrounding surface.

In my case, I still wanted the gravel surround but as an added protection against anything growing through the gravel, I decided to lay concrete in the bottom of the new circle. I just bought a few bags of the “postcrete” pre-mix you can buy in any DIY store and followed the instructions.

Then before the concrete had fully set, I added a layer of the gravel and gently pressed it into the surface – this creates a permanent gravelled surface. The following day, when everything had set firmly, I topped up with gravel to a bit below the top of the ring.

Job done and no more weeding. Now the lawn mower keeps the edge tidy apart from an annual snip around with my lawn edging “scissors” each spring.

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