Fitting rockfaced gravel board as lawn edging.

Hi everyone,

I am halfway into my first gardening project! I am planning to replace the turf at a damp end of my lawn with gravel. I have dug everything up and before I put membrane and gravel down, I need to put the edging on one end. 

I want to use rockfaced gravel boards 6ft x 1ft (see pic below) as edging. However I do not want to install concrete fence posts as I don't have the machinery to do that. I think the area will only need 2-3 gravel boards in a line to cover the edging. 

My dilemma is, how can I ensure that these are fitted sturdy enough in the soil without use of concrete posts? Please see pic below, you can see where I want to install the gravel boards in pic.

Thanks 
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Posts

  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,933
    How far above the ground do you want the gravel boards - thinking you could just haunch them at the bottom (ie underground) with cement.
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • hogweed said:
    How far above the ground do you want the gravel boards - thinking you could just haunch them at the bottom (ie underground) with cement.
    Thanks for your response :) 
    Being quite a noob with cement handling, I was not sure if cement would work in such a way. I would ideally want 4 inches in the ground and remaining 8 inches above the ground. Do you think 4 inches is sufficient for the gravel board to hold its grip? 
     
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,264
    I would think that would be enough, but do cement the ends of each gravel board together where they butt up as well as this will help the overall rigidity. On a much smaller scale, admittedly, I have just finished a sort of similar thing using concrete coping stones to creat a curved border. As a belt and braces measure, I also dolloped cement along the lower face at each joint and sloped it down like a sort of mini buttress. If you don't raise the buttresses higher than your intended finished gravel level all cack-handed cementing (I speak from experience!) will be covered up, as mine now are with soil. Ta da...


  • Nollie said:
    I would think that would be enough, but do cement the ends of each gravel board together where they butt up as well as this will help the overall rigidity. On a much smaller scale, admittedly, I have just finished a sort of similar thing using concrete coping stones to creat a curved border. As a belt and braces measure, I also dolloped cement along the lower face at each joint and sloped it down like a sort of mini buttress. If you don't raise the buttresses higher than your intended finished gravel level all cack-handed cementing (I speak from experience!) will be covered up, as mine now are with soil. Ta da...


    Thanks Nollie! That looks like a neat job that you've done. It will be my first time handling cement so a bit worried if I pour water on cement and gravel boards are not straight! How can I ensure that they are upright? The reason I am asking is because the ground will be dug up larger than the base of gravel board which will allow movement. 

    Should I hold the gravel board for 10mins until cement hardens?
  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,772
    You could use bits of wood to help prop up the edging temporarily (especially if you're doing it single handed) but ultimately your concrete mix needs to be stiff enough to support them while it goes off. (Will be longer than ten minutes!)
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,264
    I levelled mine all off with pictured spirit level on a bed of gravel first and set the pieces on the gravel and checked the levels again vertically and horizontally so that the pieces sat straight to begin with, which helps a lot. Then I took each piece off, dolloped on the concrete on the base and shuggled each piece in place, checking levels again and tapping down with a rubber mallet. Once they are in position they should stay there, so long as you don’t make the concrete too wet.

    It is tricky at first to get the mix right, the temptation is to add too much water. Mix your concrete well but in small batches so you don’t panic too much, enough for two or three boards at most, or even start with enough for one until you gain confidence, as they are pretty big boards! I set them all in place before I then ‘mortared’ the joints and did the mini buttresses. A proper brickie would be horrified, but I’m an amateur, so whatever works...

    Good luck, if you get it wrong first time, just knock it it out, scrape off the concrete and have another go!
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,933
    If you buy the quick setting cement, it will set an awful lot faster. As said before, don't make the mixture too wet. When you dig your trowel into the mixture it should all stay on the trowel. Mix in a pail or something bigger like a wheelbarrow and just do enough for one board at a time. They should stay upright ok I would think until it sets. And triple check your levels as if they are wrong they will bug you forever more!
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 2,264
    Ps - important point I forgot, I did tamp down the gravel into my clay soil so it was solid, stable and level, you don’t want loose gravel sliding about as you are trying to set the boards in place.

    As a noob, I think you would have to be quite brave to use quick setting concrete, you have to work faster with it. I didn’t use it because I knew I would need the extra time to fiddle and get the levels right. As it is, there is an infinitesimal rise at one end that I am trying very hard to ignore until I get a plant in there to hide it!
  • hogweed said:
    If you buy the quick setting cement, it will set an awful lot faster. As said before, don't make the mixture too wet. When you dig your trowel into the mixture it should all stay on the trowel. Mix in a pail or something bigger like a wheelbarrow and just do enough for one board at a time. They should stay upright ok I would think until it sets. And triple check your levels as if they are wrong they will bug you forever more!
    Thanks! I will give it a shot one at a time. I am thinking to get post concrete mix from Wickes (please google if you can). I believe they come in 5kg bags and guidelines suggest one bag is good for 1 fence post. Would you know how much I would need for the gravel board? Considering it will be a thick mixture. 

    Also, what can I use to mix the mortar mix with water? I don't have any special equipment for it, if needed.
  • Nollie said:
    Ps - important point I forgot, I did tamp down the gravel into my clay soil so it was solid, stable and level, you don’t want loose gravel sliding about as you are trying to set the boards in place.

    As a noob, I think you would have to be quite brave to use quick setting concrete, you have to work faster with it. I didn’t use it because I knew I would need the extra time to fiddle and get the levels right. As it is, there is an infinitesimal rise at one end that I am trying very hard to ignore until I get a plant in there to hide it!
    Thanks Nollie for the detailed advice. I am quite confused on whether I should get quick setting concrete or not... I am definitely a noob when it comes to using cement for anything! I am quite worried on getting the boards straight when I set them. 

    Can you please tell me if the steps I think would work?

    1) Dig the soil 4 inches to make space for gravel board. Flatten the soil from top to keep the gravel board base level

    2) Put concrete mix in the dug up part and add water.

    3) Place the gravel board into the mix and use spirit level to set in straight position.

    4) Hold the gravel board in place until concrete sets

    I am unsure if I need to put any concrete mix at the base of the gravel board too or not.
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