With a few tools and some patience, you can create attractive and functional curves in your pavers made of concrete, brick, stone, or other material.
If you need a gentle curve in your pathway, border, or retaining wall, sometimes you can obtain the shape without any cutting.
Retaining Wall Blocks with Full Pavers
There is some curve built into many styles of retaining wall blocks, which are wider in front than in back. This provides crevices that are filled with dirt, bonding the wall with the earth behind it. But the wedge-shape can also be used to produce a graceful backward curve – the crevice becomes narrower, but still functional.
Try not to totally lose the crevice, or if you must, do so only once or twice in a row. You do still need some crevices to anchor the wall to the earth.
Full Paver Patios and Walkways
You can often just lay these pavers just slightly at an angle to the previous paver and fill the resulting crevice in with dirt or sand.
Cutting Pavers by Hand
If you need a sharper curve or one that goes contrary to the shape of your paver or block, you may need to cut your pavers. The hand method takes considerable practice but is a low-tech way to deal with shaping pavers.
- Mark a line on your paver where the cut needs to be.
- Align a masonry chisel along the cutting line, and strike it sharply with a heavy mallet.
Cutting Pavers with Power Tools
If you are comfortable with power tools, they can take some of the guesswork and luck out of cutting your pavers or blocks.
- Circular Saw - Set the marked paver up on supports (other pavers will work well) with the marked area over the space between the supports. This gives your blade a clear path. Use a masonry blade to cut along the marked line. Depending on the size of your blade and the thickness of the paver or block, you may have to turn the object over and make another pass. This also takes practice, but often you can "bury your mistakes" because they won't show from the front.
- Jigsaw - Following the above preparation and safety steps, use a masonry jigsaw blade to cut the paver. This method will probably be a little slower than the circular saw method, but may be a little less intimidating for those new to power tools.
If your cutting leaves burrs or edges that interfere with your design, file them off with a coarse metal file or grind them off with a grinding wheel on your power drill.
Using these procedures, you can either shorten and angle each paver or you can make wedges between full pavers to produce the curve. Keep in mind that it's often difficult to cut small pieces because it's hard to safely hold pavers in place for precision cuts. Therefore, while a wedge might be the answer for a retaining wall, you might want to go the shorten-and-angle route for smaller pavers.