With the winter behind us and the days becoming warmer and longer, many of us are turning our attention to the outside spaces on our properties. From trimming back hedges to painting the shed, the extent to which we embark on garden DIY varies.
The more adventurous among us may even decide to create a new concrete garden path, carrying out a touch of landscaping to add an attractive and practical touch. While concrete can be a difficult material to work with for the inexperienced, so long as you follow these simple tips you should encounter few problems…
How to lay a concrete path
Once you have decided on the positioning of your concrete path, it’s useful to mark out the area with either paint of stakes and string.
Next, make this marked out area approximately 8 inches lower than the surrounding grass, taking care to remove any potential obstructions, such as large stones, roots and other debris. If your intended route ends at a door or entrance to your home, make sure that the finished path is lower than the step to stop rain water from entering your house.
Flatten the soil at the base of the excavation, and fill approximately half the depth with gravel. Spread the gravel evenly using a rake, and flatten this also. A compacting plate is useful in this situation, providing you have the room.
Ensure that the base of the excavation is dry before moving on.
This is a crucial part of the preparation process, and one that can’t be ignored. By placing boards around the edges of the marked out area (at the depth of the gravel to the top of the excavation), nailing or screwing them to stakes at regular intervals, you can create formwork to ensure that the concrete can be easily laid and smoothed. Make sure the stakes are lower than the boards, as this will allow for easier smoothing of the concrete once laid.
Pour, Level and Finish Concrete
Whether using premixed concrete (prepared exactly to instructions of the manufacturer) or having your concrete mixed volumetrically onsite, the method of laying it doesn’t change.
Carefully pour the mix inside the formwork, gently using a rake or a spade to roughly even it out as you go.
Working quickly, use a flat board to smooth along the top edges of the formwork wood, holding the board at an angle so as not to gather too much wet concrete as you move along.
Leave the surface to set for an hour before returning to finish the concrete. Start by separating the formwork boards from the concrete, carefully using a trowel or spade to edge it away. Next, make grooves at 4 inch intervals to allow the concrete to move about while curing. This will protect against cracks caused by the concrete expanding as it dries.
Finally, cover the path with plastic sheeting to aid the curing process while simultaneously protecting it from the unpredictable British weather!
It’s advisable to leave up to 48 hours before removing the plastic.
All Mix Concrete are one of the leading providers of concrete floor services in the North West, Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool and provide concrete pumping services and much more across regions such as Sale. For more information about our concrete floor services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with AMC today.