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Biodegradable Forms Give You Edge on Guy Next Door

Question: I’d like for my yard to look as neat as my next-door neighbor’s, but it always looks scruffy around the shrubbery in front and the flowers in the back. I tried placing bricks in a row to give it a finished look, but they were more trouble than they were worth, because the grass cropped up between them. How difficult is it to pour a concrete edge that would be level with the ground and contain the grass better?

Answer: Not too difficult, if you have a wheelbarrow to mix the cement in, a shovel to dig the trenches and the back to withstand it all.

To greatly simplify the project, you might investigate Ready Forms. These cardboard forms arrive flat in eight-foot lengths. You bend them into a v-shape to fit into a three-inch-wide by six-inch-deep trench, which you, unfortunately, must dig. (Flexible forms are also available in six-foot lengths.)

You place wire spacers, which come with the forms, about every four inches and at the places where two forms are butted together. Push dirt against the forms to hold them in place and you’re ready to pour the cement. The beauty of these forms is they are biodegradable, so you don’t have to remove them after the cement sets.

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If you’d like to dress up the edging a little, you can place bricks or tiles on top of the forms. It will be necessary, of course to dig the trench the additional depth of the brick or tile. Your concrete edge then just becomes a footing for the decorative touch.

The forms are easy to cut to desired length with a utility knife or heavy-duty scissors, and instructions show you how to form square corners. George Johnson, president of the firm that manufactures the forms, says it takes about 90 pounds of ready-mix cement to fill an eight-foot edge.

Forms for the three-inch-wide edges can be ordered from G&E; Products, 2010-D S. Eastwood St., Santa Ana, Calif. 92705. Each section is $1.60 plus 6% tax and 35 cents shipping charge for each section. Send check or money order; minimum order is four sections.

Dale Baldwin will answer remodeling questions of general interest on this page. Send your questions to Home Improvement, Real Estate Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Baldwin cannot answer questions individually. Snapshots of successful do-it-yourself projects may be submitted but cannot be returned.

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