Curbs make the garden look elegant and very clean. On a gravel path, the small stones cannot get into the adjoining beds or the lawn, everything stays where it should be. Many garden owners also use curbs in connection with a fence. So everything has a good shape, nothing grows out of the garden, the demarcation is clean and tidy. You only have to do one job, when planting, and you don’t have to keep reworking, e.g. pulling weeds or the like. The edging prevents the spread of grass and weeds, for example onto the sidewalk in front of the property. Curbs are ideal for lawns in particular. The result is an exact mowing edge and you also save yourself cutting off the lawn edge. The lawn cannot grow into adjacent beds or borders.
Table of Contents
Choosing the curbs
Curbs are exposed to wind and weather all year round. They must be made of good material to withstand these. There is a large selection of different models. The most common are cast concrete curbs. They are available in different colors, mostly grey, brown and anthracite. A distinction is made between stones for straight surfaces and those with which curves can be laid out well.
Natural stones are more beautiful than concrete curbs, but also more expensive. Granite is particularly suitable as a curb.
The dimensions of the stones are also different. A common size is 50 x 200 mm. But they are also larger, i.e. 50 x 250 mm, 60 x 300 mm or 80 x 500 mm. Right-angled curbs are suitable for corners.
A distinction is made between curbs for pedestrian use only, occasional car use, predominant car use and higher car classes that are not needed in the home garden.
- Concrete edging stones with a size of 100 x 15 x 5 cm cost just under 2 € each in the hardware store.
- I found prices from 1 euro on the internet. Here, however, the shipping costs have to be added and they can be high because the stones are heavy. But there is also free shipping. You have to search and choose carefully.
- Granite curbs cost significantly more, around $10 for the same dimensions. But there are big price differences here too.
- Often the price also depends on the purchase quantity. The more you buy, the lower the unit price.
- Paving concrete and gravel are quite inexpensive and usually available for just a few euros.
Setting curbs – instructions
You don’t need a lot of equipment or materials to lay curbs, but you can’t do without them either.
- Rubber Mallet – While there are dedicated paving hammers, a rubber mallet will do as well. It cannot cause any damage to the stone, as can happen with a professional hammer such as the plaster hammer. Also, the rubber mallet is not that heavy. The paving hammer weighs a few kilograms, and over time it gets into your upper arm.
- Paving cord – the paving cord is attached to the paving irons or rods. It ensures that the curbs are placed in a straight line and that they all have the same height at the end. The upper edge of the stones ends exactly on the string.
- Paving iron – the paving irons are driven in line with or along the line in which the curbs should run. They hold the pavement cord.
- Shovel – the shovel is used to dig up the earth for the trench or planie.
- Vibrating plate – the vibrating plate (also vibrating plate) is a motor-driven construction machine for soil compaction. You can rent them at hardware stores.
- Tub for mixing the concrete – construction tubs are available in different sizes. Depending on how much concrete is needed, the size should be.
- Concrete C25/30 – Concrete for mixing on the spot, easy to work with even for laypeople. After mixing, the concrete must be strong enough to form a ball out of it. Ready-mixed mortar that is prepared exactly according to the instructions on the packaging is ideal.
- Anti-freeze gravel – this gravel is water permeable and cannot freeze. There are no frost heaves. It largely lacks the sand parts. Water can always drain well.
- And of course the curbs
Preparation of the laying work
A few things are recommended to make the work before, during and after setting the curbs easier. So it makes sense to lay out large foils or tarpaulins on which you can store excavated earth, gravel or paving concrete. These things can be easily transported on the tarpaulins. You simply pull them further, piece by piece, wherever you need them. Of course, all the materials and tools required for the work must be ready.
Make the bed
- You stretch the paving cord exactly along the line where you want to put the curbs along. Straight stretches are dead straight, so there are no deviations. To be precise, it is best to use a spirit level to get a straight line. With the help of paving sticks, to which the cord is attached, such long sections can be stretched. The cord must be attached at the same height to all bars!
- A ditch is then dug along the line, the so-called planie. Depending on the height of the stone and how high it should look out at the end, this trench must be at least 20 cm deep. The width of the trench is about the width of a spade. It is advisable to compact the trench, especially in sandy soils. Otherwise, the ground may sink, even if it takes years. Cracks and gaps can form in the concrete bed and the curbs become wobbly or, in the worst case, tip over.
- Now fill in about 10 to 15 cm of antifreeze gravel. Many hobby gardeners like to do without the gravel. But it prevents the curbs from sinking or tipping over and secures them from below.
- Pour paving concrete into the prepared bed from the beginning of the plan and along the cord. Sufficient concrete must be used so that the stone has support and does not wobble once it has set. Always only pour in concrete for one stone. The concrete layer is about 5 cm.
- Insert the curb into the concrete, align well and tap with the paving hammer. The stone must lie firmly in the concrete.
- Form the concrete bedding in front of and behind the curb into a wedge, press down with the shovel and smooth out. Even if you don’t see this area in the end, it will be easier to do later paving work.
- Proceed in the same way for edging stone for edging stone.
- It is important to keep checking the distances, the height and the position of the stones!
- Corrections can be made as long as the concrete is soft.
- If there are large gaps between the curbs or if natural stone is used, it is advisable to fill the joints with mortar.
- After two to three days of hardening time, soil can be filled up.
Not all garden owners choose to embed in concrete. They create a gravel bed, put the stones in it and fill the ditch with gravel. This is also a possible variant. The gravel should be very fine and needs to be compacted. It is important not to move the stone out of its position when compacting.
Putting the curbs in concrete is a thing for eternity. Getting rid of that concrete bed is a long and tedious job. Therefore, in my opinion, it makes sense to only use a gravel bed. You have to rework every few years, fill joints and knock the stones back in the exact direction, but you still have the chance to change something in the system. This looks bad with a concrete bed.
If you want to achieve peace and clarity in your garden, if you want to save yourself work and if you also value a harmonious overall impression, setting edging stones is recommended. Grass from the lawn no longer grows between the paving stones or in the beds, soil from the beds stays where it belongs and everything finally looks clean and tidy. Although the installation takes some work, it is also not overly strenuous and labor intensive. Of course, natural edging stones look particularly beautiful. With the large price differences, it is worth searching and comparing. In this way you can save a few euros. Curbs ensure harmony and order, but you have to be careful that the garden doesn’t look too perfect, it quickly looks cold and unfriendly.