Extend a Driveway with Recycled Concrete

When I purchased my house three years ago, I was concerned about weeds that previous owners had allowed to conquer the yard. A particular worry was the driveway’s right-hand border where a short parking pad had cracked and the pieces were slightly sunken. At the end of the pad lay a weedy, overgrown planting area.

The weedy planting area was an eyesore and limited the parking space.

The weedy planting area was an eyesore and limited the parking space.

Unfortunately, moving costs left nothing for professional landscaping.

A few months later, the office where I worked demolished a sidewalk, and the debris awaited a trip to the dump. Savage-Sister ingenuity began to stir. Was there a way to keep the unwanted concrete out of the landfill and solve my driveway problem at the same time?

I asked if I could have the old sidewalk pieces, and every day after work, I loaded a few into the back of my little Colt hatchback and drove them home. When I’d transferred them all, I dug out the planting area, lined it with landscape fabric, and filled in the rectangle using concrete chunks as paving stones. The project became a giant jigsaw puzzle — without the helpful box-lid picture.

Instead of mortar, I filled in the cracks with yard pebbles and $5.00 worth of sand from a local sand-and-gravel business. (They weighed the Colt before and after I shoveled the product into as many kitty-litter buckets as the car would hold, and then they charged me according to the difference in pounds.)

Free sidewalk pieces created a wonderful extension to the driveway.

Free sidewalk pieces created a wonderful extension to the driveway.

Since our homeowners’ association doesn’t allow street parking, the extra space for vehicles in my driveway was a wonderful addition. And the flagstone-effect helped the cracked parking pad blend in better with the driveway. Passers-by even stopped to compliment me on the improvement.

When neighbors across the street asked if guests could park in the new spot during a potluck gathering at their house, I said yes. But next time, I may hint for an invitation to dinner.

Come to think of it, recycling concrete may bring more benefits than I ever imagined.

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SAFETY ALERT: Do wear gloves to minimize bruises and abrasions when handling the concrete. Always lift heavy pieces correctly to protect your back from injury (i.e., bend to lift the object instead of stooping; keep your back straight; lift with the strong leg muscles, not the weaker back muscles.) And if you find it necessary to whack a burr with a hammer so the piece will fit better against other “flagstones,” be sure to wear safety goggles.

Written by Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana

© 2009, The Savage Sisters

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