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Question DetailsAsked on 4/11/2016

create garden in place of small concrete slab

I have a small section of driveway that I want to convert to a garden, so need someone to tear out the concrete and replace with topsoil. It's about 3'x7' section. How much should I expect to pay?

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1 Answer


By a Landscaping company - I would guess probably about $1000 give or take. By a small Excavation company or Concrete contractor maybe a few hundred less.

This job takes a concrete cutting saw (to make the cut neat and reduce chances of cracking adjacent part of drive by leaving a rough edge cut), jackhammer or bobcat with impacter to break it up, either bobcat or a lot of breaking into small pieces to be able to load into truck, disposal, and getting topsoil. Topsoil should probably also be a sand blended mix (you want loam, not pure topsoil for most garden plants, especially vegetables as opposed to bushes) or be blended on site with sand and peat unless a good garden soil in the first place.

You probably need some excavation into the ground also so the topsoil is not sitting high on the ground as a mound and spill all around over time - or some sort of wood frame or concrete blocks to build a planter ? Generally you need at least 6 inches minimum of growing quality soil for a garden - more like a foot for larger plants and perennial shrubs or tall flowers.

I would recommend thinking twice about your chosen location - maybe move to a place off the drive, or at least think twice about tearing out part of drive to build a garden - that could really impact resale. Also, in many areas houses are required to have a certain number of cars parking space on drive (commonly 2 cars minimum plus 1 per each additional bedroom over one or two) - do not violate that. Planning and Zoning department should be able to tell you if there are such restrictions in your area.

A possible alternative though it will still stain the concrete under the garden, would be to put drainage mesh or free-draining stone on the concrete, covered with geotextile (permanent "structural" filter fabric - not garden fabric) to provide a free-draining base (make sure it drains off downhill side, not down along drive to avoid major staining and dirt), then building a raised-bed garden on top of that with treated wood timbers or concrete block. Could be a DIY job except for possibly delivery of topsoil and block if used - for the amount of drainage stone you need (if using that, which is better, rather than drainage mesh) bagged product would probably do for you, using your own vehicle to haul from home improvement store/plant center/greenhouse. Or have Handyman do the job for probably less than half the cost of tearing out concrete first.

Doing on top of concrete also reduces the possibility of the water from the garden getting in under the rest of the drive and damaging it. Water running in under the concrete slabs will eventually erode the fines in the fill and cause slab cracking.

Of course, depending on what you plan on planting, a raised bed might not be deep enough for roots or might have to be extra deep. 2x12 treated timber boxes (assembled with brackets as well as screws throguh wood) are fine for most small vegetables, but not tall-growing ones like corn, nor large vegetables like giant cabbage or deep-rooted / tuber type large plants like rutabaga, giant broccoli or chard, shrubs or tall-growing flowering plants like roses, etc. Basically raised beds work good for annuals and normal vegetables, not so good for annuals if you have cold winters in your area because they freeze and thaw so much.

If on slope, raised bed planter could be built with angled sides so it sits level across the top, or if slope can be towards sun install at a slope so the garden surface gets more sunlight.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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