Are you nice to your mailman?

By July 11, 2021 No Comments

Clear path

During a visit to my buddy’s place yesterday, I made a slightly shocking discovery. As we stood in front of his house, I pointed out a small gap in his front bed. And my buddy didn’t skip a beat. Oh, yeah, he prunes his shrubs every year to make room for his mailman. What?

Yes, it’s true, he intentionally prunes his shrubs so his mailman can shave thirty seconds off his route. That’s so nice. Perhaps next year he’ll put in a few stepping stones so the mailman doesn’t step on plants or compact the soil.

The mailman’s gap.

A better man

Clearly, my buddy is a better man. As soon as I heard gap and mailman, my mind started devising ways of blocking off the bed. Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one. I know people who are very touchy about their landscape. Sometimes you can’t even touch their garden hose; never mind sneaking through their planted beds on a daily basis. I can just imagine neighborhood Karens rising.

So, if you like your mailman, keep on pruning your shrubs for great access and consider installing a few stepping stones. Adding some perennial color might be a nice touch, assuming the mailman has time to notice them.

But what do you do if shaving thirty seconds off your mailman’s route isn’t a huge priority for you?


I think a great natural barrier that might stop a mailman would be planting Berberis. It has soft prickles that are annoying enough to make you switch course, but not serious enough to draw blood. We don’t really want the mailman knocking on our door seeking first aid.

Pyracantha, for example, has nasty prickles but the shrub wouldn’t really fit into my buddy’s gap. The smaller Berberis would.

We could also install rocks in the bed edge and plant shrubs densely just behind them to deflect the mailman from his destructive path; and to make it obvious that this isn’t a pathway.


Every day gives us a chance to learn something new. Yesterday I learned something about my buddy and about myself.

How nice are you to your mailman?

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