Do you have a walkway that could be more appealing? You don’t have to break it up and start over. All you need is a solid plan and a little elbow grease. This project can help you turn any old walkway into something spectacular. It’s a play on a traditional brick paver walkway that is set on a foundation of gravel that will remain level and true, even under high traffic conditions. What’s even better is that you can work in different types of natural stone to allow it to blend seamlessly into your current landscape design.
The best part is that you’ll only need a couple of tools that you probably don’t have laying around the house including a plate compactor and a hand tamper. You can rent them from a local equipment rental company for a small fee.
Design and materials
Creating an heirloom walkway in your landscape design allows you to add character and charm to your design instantly.
Plan your path so that it’s at least 4 feet wide, however there isn’t any limits on the maximum width. Some have made the path as wide as 7 feet or more. Having a minimum width of four feet will allow you to have an adequate mix of brick and natural stone. Select a brick that is a paver and that has a severe weather rating if you live in an area that experiences hard winter freezes.
You will also need to select large, flat, flagstones and smaller, rounded field stones to add to your path. They come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes to fit your needs. Make sure that you choose stones that complement your existing landscape design and the exterior colors of your home so that your new path will blend in seamlessly.
Next, it’s time to layout the path of your new walkway. You’re going to want to start by painting a line that’s around 7 feet away from your home. From that point, measure out the width of the pathway and then paint another line parallel to the original one. This is the blueprint for your path.
Next, dig the walkway an additional 6-8″ out from your lines so that you have additional room to put in the paver edging you’ll need to keep your pathway bricks from tipping.
Excavate this job
Call before you dig to ensure you don’t cut utility cables. Begin by removing about 9″ of soil from the pathway, all along the path. While you are digging, you will periodically need to check the evenness of your path. Your lawn will have natural variations that you will need to compensate for to ensure an even path. In some areas this may mean that you have to remove more than 9″ of soil while in others it may mean that you have to backfill in order to bring the depth up to meet the rest of the path. If you have to backfill, make sure that you compact the dirt before you add the gravel to prevent settling.
Build a firm base
Now that the path is dug, it’s time to lay the stabilization fabric and add the gravel. Lay your fabric into the excavation and then place between 2 and 3 inches and then water the gravel to help it settle. Next, compact the area with your plate compactor several times. Add another 2-3″ of gravel and then repeat the same steps.
Setting the stone
Before you begin laying out your stone, dump a few wheelbarrows of sand on top of the gravel and then set your first flagstone. You’ll want it to set 3″ above the gravel layer. The key is to focus on the overall evenness and not a specific area of the stone.
Once you get the first one set, set several more in a couple inches of sand, checking the levelness as you go. When choosing your flagstones, try to put those that fit together naturally together. You may have to chisel the edges slowly with a brick hammer to get them to fit just right. If you try to take too much off at once, the stone will crack or break, so take your time and shape it slowly. You want to put the stones about 1 ½ away from each other.
Place the field stone in small groupings along the path, adjusting the shapes, sizes and colors to your liking. Then simply sand and begin laying bricks around your flagstones and field stone groupings to complete the path.