Concrete landscaping blocks can help you shape the backyard of your dreams. Better yet, because they are easy to make, you can shape them in any way you desire so you don't have to compromise any of your vision to fit in something ready-made. It's a day long process but well worth it. A quick trip to your local hardware supply store will get you everything you need, including textured inserts if your want to make your blocks look like brick or stone.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Circular saw
- 2-inch-by-4-inch boards
- Form oil
- Canuba wax (if needed)
- Concrete inserts (if desired)
Measure and mark the size of the concrete landscaping block that you want to make on your plywood. To make a block form you will need four pieces of plywood cut: two for the long face and two for the ends. Cut out your plywood pieces. You do not need to cut a top or bottom piece.
Measure and cut four pieces of 2-inch-by-4-inch board that are 8 inches longer than the longest side of your block. Measure and cut four more pieces that are 8 inches longer than the end pieces of your block.
Divide your longest plywood face into thirds horizontally. For instance, if your longest piece is 12 inches high, draw a pencil line horizontally at 4 inches and at 8 inches. Take two of your 2-inch-by-4-inch boards and stand one on each line so the 2-inch-wide edge is flush to the plywood and 4 inches of the board hangs over the edge of each end of the plywood piece. Nail plywood to the board.
Do the same thing with the end pieces of plywood, but offset the lines by exactly 2 inches (above or below does not matter) before nailing the 2-inch-by-4-inch boards into place (so you could place them at 6 inches and 10 inches, for example).
Stand the pieces up and fit them together with the 2-inch-by-4-inch boards on the outside. Nail the boards together at their overlapping ends (which should fit together nicely since you staggered their placement). Make sure the plywood corners are butted up against each other before nailing everything together.
Coat the inside of the your form with form oil. If you do not have access to concrete form oil, use some canuba wax (any kind from an auto store is fine). Rub the wax over the entire interior of your block form. Set the form on level ground and push some dirt around the bottom to better anchor it.
Mix your concrete following the instructions on the bag and pour the concrete into the form. Let it cure overnight and then remove the nails holding the boards together and pull the plywood away from the concrete.
Tips & Warnings
- If you want to give your concrete landscaping block some texture or make it look like brick or stone, purchase a concrete form insert. These are pre-molded plastic sheets that when nailed to the inside face of the block form will create an impression in the concrete as it cures.
- Landscaping blocks made of concrete will be much heavier than you expect, given their small size. Use caution in moving them and have someone help you if possible to prevent straining your back.
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