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Build your own walkway

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A walkway for your garden

A walkway determines a space in your yard, leading you to a certain area meant for you. This can be your retreat, your garden, your backyard etc. It gives definition to your landscape and can add to the feel of your home. Depending on how complicated you want to make it building a walkway can be something you do yourself or hire a pro to do.

Map your path

Look at the space between you and your gate. Can you see the path in front of you? Visualizing this can be a challenge for some, so having a few pairs of eyes can help. Try using a garden hose to layout your path. You can curve it or keep it straight. A physical mockup can help you visualize what you want to do. Plus, it can give you a realistic measurement of the scope of your project. Be sure to calculate the square footage of your planned path so that you know how much you will need of your materials. Also, check for any utilities or irrigation lines that may be in the area before you build your walkway.

Materials

There are a slew of choices when it comes to walkway materials. You can go soft with a material like mulch or hard with something like stone or brick. Take into account the exterior of your house. The style of your home can help dictate the kind of walkway you make. For instance, a country cottage may benefit from a flower-lined path of brick to complement the cutesy charm of the place. A modern home would work with sleek stone pavers or whatnot. Though you don’t have to be limited to just one kind of material. Depending on the style of your home and your style as well, you can combine materials for visual interest.

One of the easiest walkways to build is one made of steppingstones. All you have to do is place the stone where you want it and cut around it with a trowel. Take out the sod and lay the stone in. You can level it with some sand if you need to. Other walkways will require more work since a larger surface of the sod will need to be removed. Larger stone walkways may require hiring a pro, especially if you plan on a mortared walkway.

Brick is an affordable material to choose from and can be laid in a variety of patterns. But don’t just use any old house brick because it won’t stand up in the long run. Be sure to use paving bricks because they are harder and more durable. Also a brick walkway requires little maintenance.

Gravel and crushed stone are also affordable and easy to install. A gravel path can be lined with brick or metal edging, depending on your style. This will keep everything in place and can be raked to keep everything level.

Mulch, bark and sawdust are the softest of materials for a walkway, best suited for a country-style home. The use of these materials is very environmentally friendly. However, they’re best kept to low-traffic areas because they can track into the home quite easily.

Installation

Now that you’ve selected your material, you will need to put in some muscle to lay it all down. If you plan on tackling a stone pathway yourself, be sure to enlist a friend to help with the heavy lifting. You will have to dig deep enough to set your material along with a layer of crushed stone or sand. This layer will help everything level out. Also make sure to include a bit of a slope for drainage. You will need a plate compactor or something else that is flat and heavy to pound out the soil and the layer of sand. Once you have that base set, you can lay your material in. Add any edging you may need to keep your material in place, as well. You may need to tamp your material in one last time with the compactor to make sure it’s in place.

By Meagan Dieroff

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