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How to Do Forms for a Concrete Sidewalk With Brick Pavers as Borders

By Aurora LaJambre ; Updated September 21, 2017
Form boards shape a wet concrete sidewalk.

A concrete sidewalk provides a smooth, solid footing and an attractive surface that complements a variety of landscape styles. Before pouring a concrete surface, it's essential to install forms to give shape to the wet concrete. Once the concrete hardens and the form boards are removed, installing a brick border is simple. Brick borders block encroachment and give sharp definition to your sidewalk's shape.

Outline the sidewalk site with ropes. Add 8 inches to the width to account for the form boards and braces.

Unearth the site to a depth of 7 inches with a square shovel.

Drive 2-by-2 inch wood stakes in the ground flush against the inner walls of the foundation, with a hammer. Insert the stakes every 3 feet and in every corner. The stakes will brace the form boards against the pressure of wet concrete.

Place two layers of 2-by-4 inch form boards on their sides against the wood stakes. Place a level on the top sides of the boards and adjust the boards until they're level. Fasten the boards together with a hammer and nails.

Fill 3 inches of the foundation with crushed rock and compact the rock with a tamper.

Pour a bag of concrete powder into a concrete mixer, then stir with the suggested amount of water until it's thick, like brownie batter.

Pour the concrete into the foundation from one end of the sidewalk to the other. Drag a 5-foot straight edge back and forth over the top of the forms to remove excess and fill in low areas. Wait about 15 minutes for water to bleed to the surface and reabsorb into the concrete. Press a stiff-bristled broom over the top to add traction to the surface. Wait four days for the concrete to harden.

Remove the wooden form boards and braces. Pull on the end of a form board to see how much it's stuck to the concrete. Position a flat bar between the form and concrete as far down as you can. Use a rubber mallet to drive the bar deeper. Insert additional flat bars down the length of the board until you can pry the boards away from the concrete.

Fill the 7-inch trench along the sides of the sidewalk with 5 inches of gravel and tamp it. The gravel will support the bricks and improve the area's drainage.

Pour bedding sand over the gravel.

Place the brick pavers in the trench end-to-end, with the ends flush against each other.

Sprinkle stone dust over the bricks and brush it into any crevices to lock the bricks in place.


Things You Will Need

  • Ropes
  • Flat shovel
  • Wood stakes
  • Hammer
  • 2-by-4 inch boards
  • Nails
  • Level
  • Crushed rock
  • Tamper
  • Concrete mix
  • Concrete mixer
  • 5-foot straight edge
  • Stiff-bristled broom
  • Flat board
  • Rubber mallet
  • Course sand
  • Bricks
  • Stone dust


  • Don't touch the wet concrete. Wear safety goggles, gloves, rubber boots and a long sleeved shirt.

About the Author


Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and Catalogs.com. She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.