A sidewalk is one of the easiest concrete pours there are. No reinforcing bars are needed and finishing work can easily be handled by one person. Whether you pour it from a truck or hand mix it in a wheelbarrow yourself, you need to have the form work right to get the proper sidewalk slab.
Before you begin any work, you’ll need to determine a layout. A typical sidewalk is 3 ½-4″ thick and about 5-6′ wide. Depending upon your use, you can make the width however wide you want but the thickness must be between 3 ½”-4″ thick. Use string line and a few well placed stakes to get a general idea of what the sidewalk looks like.
Once you’re ready to form, you’ll need to get a few 1×4’s for form boards. If you’re curving the sidewalk, you’ll need to get 1×4 Masonite since it flexes well. Don’t forget some 16″ stakes.
Set the first 1×4 directly on the ground, just below the grass line. You will need to remove the grass later from the middle. Set stakes about every four feet apart, driving them in just below the top of the form board. Work your way down one side of the sidewalk. Use a string line for straight runs. Tack stakes to the form using 6d duplex head nails.
Now that one side is finished, you can use it to measure the other form boards. Place them below the grass on the ground and stake them in place. A string line can help you keep a uniform width between forms. Level the forms to shed water as needed.
Now that the form work is complete, you need to chop out the grass or weeds that are in the middle. A gas powered grass cutter can be rented to make quick work of the grass on long sidewalk runs.
Check for level when needed, especially when forms run towards a structure. Make sure the form slopes away from any structures. Butting up form boards to existing slabs is fine, so long as the sidewalk is sloped away and is recessed below the slab about ½”. Now you’re ready to pour!