Landscape Construction: 3 Tips for Quality Concrete Hardscaping
My latest class at Phipps is all about landscape construction. Here are my instructor's top tips for long-lasting, high-quality concrete paving applications.
1. Thin, Close Expansion Joints
When designing your path, driveway, or patio, plan for thin, closely spaced expansion joints - 1/4 inch joints at least every 100 square feet, if not less. By making more frequent, thin expansion joints, you'll eliminate the need for score lines (also called control joints).
For your expansion joint filler, use an asphalt filler like Sealtight. When you use an asphalt filler, you don't need to bother with joint sealing.
When tooling the joints and edges, opt for a minimal curve, like a 1/8 inch rounding. There's absolutely no need to make the joints appear larger than they are.
2. Reinforcing Concrete for Small Applications
If you have a small space and are using steel mesh, pour half of the concrete, place the mesh, and then finish pouring the concrete. This means that your reinforcement will be even throughout the slab.
3. Old-Fashioned Concrete Curing
Don't cut corners when curing concrete. Do a full five-day wet cure, and use a product like Bur Leen plastic coated burlap to keep the moisture in. Spread it like a blanket over the concrete after daily watering.