Small Concrete Projects

Concrete projects can vary from the most expansive (Hoover dam!) to the simplest fill-in for a post hole, supporting a mail box. And, because concrete is a readily available, natural material, and it’s easy to work with if you know a few simple tips and tricks, it’s the perfect building material for small jobs. Here, we’ll talk about building a concrete bordering around a garden bed or a landscape design element, but the process is the same for almost any type of concrete job: build a form, fill the form with well-mixed concrete, smooth the concrete, then seal it.

Building A Concrete Border

Borders around landscape elements in our yards, are nothing new. In fact, you can use just about anything to hold separate one landscape element from another. But, concrete works well in that it blends-in naturally—it can also be colored to suit your needs. Borders like plastic don’t hold up well, ad could crack with just one season of use, whereas concrete, especially well-installed concrete, will last and last, and even develop a unique patina to further look as if it belongs to the landscape.

To build your border you must first build your form. Forms for something as small as a border don’t require any special tools, just determine where the border will go on the ground, make sure to remove any growth from the area, and then flatten it, adding packed pea gravel over the surface, and some type of flexible border board attached to wooden stakes driven in the ground on the perimeter of the border at one foot intervals.

Next mix your concrete—make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions (and if you have any questions as to the proper way to mix concrete, call Shotcrete Montana before you attempt it). Then pour or drop it form a trowel into the narrow trench you’ve built, use a float to level the surface, then, once the concrete has cured—time in respect to the manufacturers guidelines—you will apply sealer to the concrete and then let that cure for a few days. Backfill the area around the trench as if it were a part of the landscape all along, and then you’re done.

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