How to Install Stone Tree Surround Rings

by Jessica Westover

Stone tree surround rings not only provide a manicured look to the landscape, but also increase the functionality of your yard. These permanent edging circles keep grass from growing near the tree's trunk, making mowing around the tree much simpler. Tree rings also act as a barrier for keeping mulch in its place and stopping little ones from playing among any flowers or plants growing around the tree's base. Constructing a stone tree ring out of molded concrete pieces, pavers, bricks or edging blocks allows you to tailor its color and style to match the other hardscape features in your yard.

1 Set the pieces of the stone tree surround on the ground around the tree, positioning them in the desired location. Draw a line with chalk or spray paint around the outside and inside perimeter of the ring. Move the stones off the site.

2 Dig out the area located in between the two lines with a shovel, creating a trench for the stone pieces. Dig down to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.

3 Dig out any grass growing around the tree, inside the trench, using the shovel. Avoid removing too much soil to prevent stripping the ground of its topsoil.

4 Tamp the soil down inside the trench with a tamper. Place a level in the bottom of the trench to check its evenness. Move the level across the entire bottom of the trench to ensure its evenness. Dig out any high spots with a shovel and add dirt to any depressions as needed to create a level trench. Tamp down the soil in any portions that you adjusted with the tamper. Re-check the evenness of these spots with the level.

5 Pour a 2-inch layer of bedding sand in the bottom of the trench. Compact the sand with the tamper. Add additional sand if needed to maintain the 2-inch level. Tamp the sand down again. Repeat this process until the trench contains 2 inches of compacted sand.

6 Place one piece of the stone surround ring in the trench on top of the sand. Place the level on top of the stone. Hit the top of the stone with a rubber mallet to level it, if needed.

7 Place the second piece of stone surround in the trench next to the first piece. Push the second piece against the first so their ends touch. Check the second stone with the level and hit it with the mallet as needed to ensure it sets level. Repeat this process to install the remaining pieces of stone surround in the trench.

8 Spread a 2- to 3-inch deep layer of mulch inside the tree ring, around the tree's trunk and any plants growing there. Keep the mulch 3 to 4 inches away from the trunk and any plants to prevent them from rotting.

Items you will need

  • Chalk
  • Shovel
  • Tamper
  • Level
  • Bedding sand
  • Rubber mallet
  • Mulch

Tip

  • If using flat paver, edging or capstones to creating the tree ring, consider stacking a second or third row on the first to create a small wall. Alternate the stones with those in the previous row to create a staggering, brick-like pattern that will provide stability to the ring.

Warnings

  • Wear gloves when installing the tree ring and spreading the mulch to protect your hands from injury.
  • Do not dig or remove soil within the root zone of newly planted or young trees to avoid cutting through or damaging roots, which may result in the tree's death. Install the ring at least 3 to 6 feet away from new or young trees to avoid disturbing their root system.