How do I remove concrete to make a bed?

aggieroseJuly 19, 2012

We are buying a new house that has a lot of concrete in the front. Theres an area where I'd like to remove a section of concrete about 6 feet wide by and 18 inches to make a bed. This area is under a window in front of the house. How do I do this?

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It will be rather hard physical labor. If this is part of a bigger slab of concrete, you would need to rent a special concrete saw to make the cuts to outline the area to be removed, and then break it up with either a jackhammer or by hand with a sledgehammer. At least it's a small area. If you aren't proficient with this kind of power equipment, it might be safer just to hire a pro to do it.

Any possibility you could make a raised bed on top of it, or just do container gardening there? -- that would be a LOT easier.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:35AM
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I actually think a raised bed might work. I'll definitely look into that once we move in. If I choose to remove the concrete, I won't do it myself. I don't have any of the tools, or the knowledge! Would a landscaper do it or is there someone else I would have to call?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Definitely a DIY project. We've actually done this twice. Once for a smaller area and once for a much larger area.

We scored down as far as the blade would go with a cement blade on our regular no thrills circular saw. The blades are cheap. The scoring helped keep the remaining concrete from being cracked.

After that we broke up all the concrete and removed it. Your small area can easily be done with a sledge hammer. It can be therapeutic.

Removing all the concrete particles to make room for plants can be time consuming depending how much of a perfectionist you are.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 12:14PM
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How likely is it that the surrounding cement will crack? Since this is right up against the house, if it cracks in one direction it will go under the house, into the foundation. If it cracks the other direction it will be in our driveway. Neither are good. I think I need to come up with a pretty way to make a raised bed. What kind of options do I have that would be pretty enough for the front of a house? Maybe a stained cedar? There isn't any other cedar on the house though so that may look odd. Could I use stone as long as there are drainage holes? There wouldn't be any holes on the bottom though so how would that work?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 12:53PM
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As denninmi said, you must first saw-cut an outline around the area that you remove. This separates it from the concrete that will remain and that you don't want damaged. Then you jack-hammer the rest out.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Sorry, I thought you had to have a special "wet" saw to go through concrete. When I've seen it done, such as when they redid our driveway and then had to make cuts, they had a saw that hooked up to water to lubricate the blade and keep the dust down.

I think you could make a raised bed out of any kind of material you like. Natural stone, pavers, wood, artificial wood, all would work, it's more a function of what appeals to you and is in your price range.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 1:43PM
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You would RENT the kind of equipment you'd need: a wet saw and jack-hammer. If you only need to cut short sections of walk (like 18" x 2) then you could score it (deep) with masonry blades in your skill saw, then break the score line by whacking the concrete to be removed with a sledge hammer. It will cause the concrete to crack where you've weakened it with the score line. (A picture might help to get appropriate advice.)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 1:50PM
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If you post some photos of the entire front of the house, preferably in a new thread, you are more likely to get input on the type of containers that will look good.

If you decide to remove concrete, 6' x 18" seems really small, especially the 18" since you won't want the plants to be actually touching the house.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 9:41AM
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