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How to create some curb appeal
May 20, 2005

 What would we do without curbs.  

Curbs are everywhere, along the edges of streets, our driveways, flowerbeds, gardens and trees.  

A curb is defined in dictionaries as “anything that restrains or controls, restricts or arrests.” 

 A curb restrains or controls the flow of water along our streets and driveways.   Curbs can also restrain or control the edges of the lawn, preventing the grass or tree roots from moving into the flowerbeds or prevent topsoil from washing out of the flowerbeds or garden.  

When curbs are placed around trees and shrubs, decorative earth toppings such as crushed white or red rock or cedar bark chips, etc., can be retained in its place, making the area around the gardens or shrubs look attractive and neat.

Terraced curbs on hills and slopes can keep the soil intact in your flowerbeds, thus keeping the soil from washing away during heavy rain.

Most homeowners are familiar with the inexpensive rolls of green flexible lawn edging, the type that usually gets bent out of shape if your mower happens to get too close to it or someone accidentally steps on it.

However, there are more durable, stronger and easier to use curbing materials for the homeowner’s use. For example, pressure-treated wood planks that will most likely outlast your home.  

Specially treated planking used for wood foundations under homes can be installed in areas that require soil retention. A trench is dug and stakes driven into the ground. A plank of the proper width and length is then installed. These plank curbs work well for retaining interlocking paving stone patio, sidewalk or driveway.

There is another type of curb application that may be required — a concrete curb.  An interesting and unique method of installing concrete curbs is available from specialty contractors that use a machine to “lay down” a continuous concrete curb.   

Contractors are located in most major cities, and they usually can be found in the yellow pages of your phone book.

A special concrete mixture is placed into a machine and is extruded onto the ground. The most interesting aspect of this machine-installed curbing is that it can be extruded in curves, circles and contours.  This makes an ideal edging for curved sidewalks, flowerbeds, trees, or driveways. 

The homeowner can choose the design and colour of the curb.  Also, a contoured lower edge for lawn mower wheels to run on eliminates using an edger.

Because of our climate conditions in Canada, a special concrete mixture is required that eliminates cracking problems.  Air entrainment is added to the concrete curb to withstand expansion and contraction.

 Polypropylene fibres are also added to increase strength and flexibility.

Strategically placed control joints enable the curb to withstand our climate and soil conditions.

A three-man crew can install curbing around your yard without the installation of forms and with little disruption to the surface of the yard. Most jobs are completed in a day unless it is used at a large building complex or if the homeowner has a very large lot to curb.

There are many choices out there and you can choose the best type of curbing for your particular needs most suitable to your pocketbook.