• In this video, This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows how to use a row of Belgian block stones to dress up the edges of an asphalt driveway.

    1. Straighten the rough edges of the driveway with a concrete saw (rents for $50 per day). Mark the cut with a chalk line just inside the edge of the asphalt.

    2. To make the cut, let the saw sit on the driveway's surface, and rock it forward to slice through small sections at a time. Make sure the saw doesn't penetrate the ground under the asphalt, which will dull the blade. To keep dust down as you're working, attach a hose to the saw, or have a helper hose down the asphalt in front of the blade.

    3. Use a spade to pry away the waste asphalt. Clean the edges and undercut the asphalt with a brick set and maul.

    4. Dig a trench next to the driveway. Make it several inches wider than the block and at least as deep as half the height of the block plus one inch.

    5. Place a stake at each end of the driveway and mark the desired height of the blocks above your driveway on the stakes. Tie a mason's line between the stakes.

    6. Mix concrete to a stiff consistency and add a one-inch layer of concrete to the first section of the trench—large enough to fit 5 to 10 blocks.

    7. Set the first block in place. Wiggle it into the concrete until it's level and sits against the edge of the driveway. Tap the block with a rubber mallet until the top is even with the mason's line.

    8. Repeat with the rest of the first section of blocks, installing the blocks in 5-to-10 block runs.

    9. When all the blocks are installed, use a mason's trowel to fill the trench with concrete behind the blocks. Shape concrete level with or slightly higher than the surface of the driveway. Smooth the concrete against the back of the blocks at an angle.

    10. Use a push broom to sweep paver base into the joints, then backfill the trench with topsoil. Wait for the concrete to cure fully before adding flowers and plants as a border.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Cutting asphalt and lifting the stones require some strength.
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • chalk line
        Chalk line
      • dust mask
        Dust mask
      • ear muffs
        Hearing protection
      • hammer
      • concrete saw
        Concrete saw (Rents for about $50 a day from The Home Depot)
      • trenching spade
        Square-tip spade
      • brick set
        Brick set
      • maul
      • mason's trowel
        Mason's trowel
      • mallet
        Rubber mallet
      • push broom
        Push broom

      Shopping List

      1. Nails Make sure they're at least 3 inches long

      2. Standard Concrete Mix such as Quikrete

      3. Belgian block stone Available at stone yards in a variety of sizes and shapes 4. Mason's Line to align the blocks It won't stretch or sag like regular string

      5. Stakes

      6. Paver Base Also known as stone dust

      7. Flowers and plants for landscaping