Concrete Facts

A 60-lb. bag of premixed concrete, while convenient to buy, is only enough for a 2-foot-long setting bed. For big projects, it's less expensive to buy bagged cement and a pile of sand. One 80-lb. bag of cement and 200 pounds of sand make a 20-foot setting base. Blend the dry materials first — three shovelfuls of sand to each shovel of cement — then add just enough water to make a good, stiff mix.

Stone Edge, Step-by-Step

1. EXCAVATE
Dig a trench 1 foot wide and 8 inches deep along the edge of the driveway. If the driveway slopes, start at the top and work downhill. Toss the dirt in a wheelbarrow and dump it on a tarp. You'll need some later for backfill.

2. Clean the edge
Snap a chalk line on the pavement, just inside the driveway's edge. With a cold chisel and 3-lb. sledgehammer, slice away the asphalt along this line. (Make sure to wear safety goggles.) Trim the soil beneath the pavement flush with the clean edge. Before discarding the asphalt chunks, check whether your town recycles them.

3. Stake a line
Drive two stakes at the edge of the driveway, no more than 50 feet apart. Tie a mason's line between them. Its height above the top edge of the pavement should be no more than half the depth of the stone. (Roger used a 2-inch exposure for this project.) Check this height along the string and adjust it as needed by adding a stake. Lay out the first 10 blocks along the pavement near your starting point: at a corner or the most conspicuous end.

4. Set the blocks
In a wheelbarrow, mix up a batch of concrete. It should be relatively stiff so it doesn't squeeze up between the blocks. Shovel a few inches of concrete into the trench over a 3-foot stretch at the starting point, then use a trowel to smooth out the mix. Now take one block and set it in the concrete, tightly against the pavement and even with the corner.

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