Rubber Biscuit! - Creating a flower bed from recycled materials

As part of my insane one-day blitz of completing as many projects I could fit, I tackled the new planting bed at our front entrance. I managed to get into it early, before the peak heat of the 4th hottest day ever in Phoenix . It was still a miserably hot experience.

We planted the flowers a couple weeks ago , so today was a border and mulch install day. We wanted a free form, curved bed, to contrast the sharp edges of the house and walkway. I used a string line to lay out a few shapes, until I found one that Sweetie liked. I measured the string to get an accurate length to put on the shopping list.

A clever string quote goes here.

A clever string quote goes here.

We looked at our options and decided on something a little different. EcoBorder  ("Your best landscape Edge for a greener planet") is a flexible, molded edging. It comes in 4' sections with all needed hardware and is available in a variety of colors. Home Depot had red at one store, red at another, but they carry black, gray, and green on their website. We chose dark brown.


I find myself choosing "green" products more and more often when given the choice. This edging is made from crumb rubber, recycled tires. I'd certainly rather tires beautify our yard rather than spend a millennium in a landfill.

I started at the house, where I wanted the edging to butt up at an angle. It was extremely easy to cut with a hack saw. (I know, I know, a hacksaw?!!! Right, I'll break out a power tool later, I promise)

"Wear gloves" it says,  vs steel-belted radial bits perhaps?

"Wear gloves" it says, vs steel-belted radial bits perhaps?

The sections coupling together with hard plastic pins. They have scalloped ridges, that should help them from backing out. The gap between sections mirrors molded groves equally spaced throughout the piece. I found it best to coupling a few pieces together before making exact, final placement. 


The instructions recommend driving stakes in the ends first. They also state the task requires a "household hammer". Huh? For a tool junkie, that's just gibberish!  There are a lot of hammers in my household; what am I supposed to use?,  ball-peen? sledge, framer's, electrician's, what?!!!.

Moving on, completely free-wheeling without concise, hammer guidance from the manufacturer, I selected Sweetness from my arsenal. Sweetness is my favorite beating stick, a Klein 808-20 Heavy-Duty Straight-Claw Hammer, a common favored sidearm of electricians, ohhhhhh yeahhhhh...

Once I had the sections roughly in place, I started pounding in stakes like Van Helsing. 

Isn't  Sweetness   radiant in the sun?

Isn't Sweetness  radiant in the sun?


I merrily staked three sections down, moving along at a rapid pace. This is hard-packed desert soil, not easy to penetrate, even with a shovel. I was happy with my progress,..then, I ran into trouble. I started hitting rocks. The plastic stakes did pretty good, but in the rough, rocky terrain, I snapped the button head off a couple and broke two of them clean in half. One breaking made Sweetness bounce into my knuckle. I may have let an expletive fly on that last one. Sorry neighbors. 

Looking for another solution, I soaked the ground down, no help. I didn't want to drive an old drill bit into the earth, because I knew there was a 3/4" electrical conduit and who knows what else buried below. Burrowing into a subterranean  electrical line is what professional electricians refer to as, "not a good idea". Finally, I Mac Gyvered it by chucking a long bit extension into my drill  backwards (Yayyyy! Power tool!). This put a blunt tip on the end. I set the drill on hammer-mode and slowly let it loose on the hard packed soil, while letting the hose dribble over the hole. 

Drill baby drill!!!

Drill baby drill!!!

It worked. I had to move the routing a couple times when I hit rocks too big to drill past, but it was close enough, I was able to pound the final stakes. I suspect that a nice, soft grass lawn would allow these stakes to go in easily, compared to the Martian landscape of our front lawn.

One last display of the finest hacksaws-man-ship I could muster, and the border was complete!

The most important, and most used tool of the day is on the left:  Gatorade

The most important, and most used tool of the day is on the left: Gatorade

On to mulching, I found this Vigoro Rubber Mulch at Home Depot. Again, they have red and dark brown, but you can order many more colors on the their website. The dark, chocolaty brown matched the new border very well. I decided against tasting it, to review true chocolaty-ness for you. It was my loss perhaps, but the possibility of left over steel-belted-radial on my tongue, gave me pause.


I'd like to see someone drop this pallet off a building. Would it bounce?

Again, this is from recycled tires. But this time, it's shredded and colored, not crumbles, formed in shape. A close examination will actually show the occasional tire tread pattern. I chose it again for the "green" / recycled aspect, but I also liked the fact that there I wouldn't be laying out a buffet of of munchable wood right where I had found subterranean wood-eating insects feasting on our front porch overhang. The manufacturer states about this rubber mulch:

  • Does not attract insects

  • Saves time and money by eliminating annual mulching

  • Prevents weeds

  • 12 year color guarantee 


Five bags installed, I'm on my way to Home Depot, again.


It was easy to work with, but odd. Dropping a handful on the sidewalk resulted in bouncing, ricocheting rubber. Weird, weird behavior for yard-work material.

What do you want for nothing? A rubber biscuit?!!

                                                            - Elwood Blues, Blues Brother


It was crazy hot by the time I finished. I think it turned out  looking pretty good though. I feel good about using the recycled material, especially since its low maintenance. 


Keeping in theme, I'm going to let Elwood take it from here, as only he can. You ever heard of a ricochet biscuit

Bow bow bow!