Why Get a Decorative Border on Your Riprap Shoreline?
Decorative borders are an option we offer to our shoreline-loving customers. These borders are made of edging and smaller rock, which winds along the topside of the shoreline. They’re pretty, but they also help your shoreline in moreconcrete ways.
Here are the pros and cons of decorative borders:
Pro: Mowing / maintenance is 10,000 times easier.
Imagine what you get without a decorative border: rock along your shoreline that starts in the water, comes up the slope, and ends right in your yard. You (or your kids) end up having to mow against softball- or basketball-sized rocks. Of course, you can’t get your mower into all the hundreds of small, pie-shaped voids between each stone, so you end up having to use a weed-whacker instead. The alternative is ugly tall grass growing along the edge of your newly installed shoreline.
Remember when you wanted to spend time in your yard? Now it’s like one of those show-poodles with painted claws and a powdered coiffure.
Pro: You increase your protection against high water and heavy waves.
We extend the same piece of fabric that is used underneath the rip rap beneath your decorative rock border, too. That means you get more protection, because it’s the fabric – not the rock – that keeps your shoreline from washing away. The higher you take that single piece of fabric, the more protection you have against high water levels and heavy wave action.
So if we put the edging and decorative rock two feet farther landward from your shoreline, that’s just more protection for you.
Moreover, we use a single piece of riprap fabric. That’s crucial. Just as you can’t make a burrito out of tortilla scraps, you can’t cobble together multiple pieces of fabric and expect it to hold up against the elements. It must be one piece of fabric.
Pro: The decorative border helps to keep dirt out of your new rip rap.
Remember, we reseed your yard when we’re done working on your shoreline to account for any damage – albeit very minor – that our equipment might have done. We also put down a little straw to help fight erosion and to help the newly planted seed retain moisture.
Fine, but what happens if there’s heavy rainfall? Without a border of some kind, all that fresh topsoil can run downhill and into your rip rap. Even tiny bits of debris can puncture and weaken your all-important fabric, and small amounts of dirt can become weedy patches. That’s why we wash the riprap and only use clean fabric, but the rock edging/border also creates a small barrier that helps to hold back dirt and debris in the event of heavy rain.
Pro: It looks sharp.
You get a smooth edge along the landward side of your riprap. It frames your shoreline, adds some curves, and softens the look of all that larger rock. It makes the entire job look more professional, and your property more inviting. If you’re paying to riprap your shoreline in the first place it just makes sense to take an additional step that will make it look extra nice.
Pro: The decorative border helps to keep grass clippings out of your new riprap.
Remember, without a border of edging and smaller rock (or mulch) along your shoreline, you’ll be forced to weed-whip every week. Unfortunately, when you weed whip you’ll shoot grass clippings all over your fresh, new, clean riprap.
Con: It does cost more (short-term).
There’s no getting around that. We are bringing in more rock, we’re using more fabric, and we’re installing edging (poly, brick, or poured curbing).
Con: It can suffer damage if there’s an ice ridge.
If you called us because your shoreline was ruined by ice, then it’s true that this is just one more thing that can “potentially” get ruined by an ice ridge in the future.
On the other hand, ice ridges are a fact of life for most lakeshore homeowners in the northern part of the country, and if you were to use ice ridges as a reason not to get any shoreline work done, you probably wouldn’t want riprap or landscape your shoreline in the first place.
By now, we hope you can tell that we do everything possible to protect your shoreline from Mother Nature, and our method of riprapping works better than any to protect your shoreline from ice ridges.