Desperately need help with front walkway redesign

piscesgirlApril 1, 2007

We are totally confused as to what to do with our front walkway redo and could really use some suggestions/help/ideas.

Currently we have a concrete L-shaped sidewalk running from the driveway to the house entrance. The sidewalk is very close to the house, only allowing for a 30" wide flower bed), and is about 34 feet long.

See pictures at the following link:

I would love to make this sidewalk more intersting by making it a curved walkway, however we are limited by a few factors:

1) our porch entrance is to the side, so we would need to bring the sidewalk back close to the house to access the porch steps and couldn's swing the sidewalk far out like a typical front entrance porch would allow.

2) our house sits on top of a hill and the front yard quickly starts to slope downward, so we don't have much flat surface to work with.

Should we try and curve the walkway? Would that make the 30" flower bed wider and make the walkway more interesting? Any suggestions on how best to design the curve of the walkway?

Currently our sidewalk is only half of the width of the porch...should we keep it at the current width but then have it widen to the full width where it meets the porch?

Any suggestions on how to best incorporate the flow from the driveway to the sidewalk and the positioning of the sidewalk entry off of the driveway? Our driveway is quite steep so even though the current entry is right at the corner of the house, I am thinking logisticlly this works best because people tend to park at the top and not mid-slope in the driveway. We are also going to be resurfacing the driveway. What should we do first, the driveway resurfacing or the sidewalk redo?

Also, what type of surface should we use for the walkway? What would look best with our brick house? Stamped concrete, pavers, pennsylvania flagstone, etc.? I would like to stay away from a brick sidewalk as our porch is brick and our neighbors sidewalk is brick and both of us have been having a really bad time with moss build up on the brick...making it slippery. We have never had an issue with moss on the concrete, however I am not a big fan of concrete as it gets kinda dirty looking and needs powerwashing frequently.

If we use stamped concrete or pavers, which designs and colors might work best for our brick house?

We also want to move the current downspout to go underneath the sidewalk, and not pour out onto the sidewalk like it currently does. We are also planning on taking out the overgrown holly bush and redoing some of the plantings.

Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I am a visual person so this has been hard for me to picture in my head what might look best without actually seeing it done.


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saypoint(6b CT)

If you curve the walk out away from the house, it looks like you'll need to put in some kind of retaining wall to give you a flat area for it. If your budget will cover it, it would make a more interesting entrance walk. Pavers in a natural stone color that blends with the brick, or concrete, whether stamped or not, stained so it's not just a basic concrete off-white color, would work.

If it was mine, and I didn't want to put a lot of money into it, I'd widen the last section of walk to be as wide as the steps for about the last 8 feet or so. Plant evergreen groundcover between the house and walk, and keep your shrub/flower plantings to the other side of the walk, where there is more space. You can stain the existing concrete a darker color.

If I wanted to spend a lot of money, I'd have a retaining wall built of brick to match the house, to create a flat area for a broader walk. A curve would be nice, but not necessary, but the walk should be wider, 4 or 5 feet wide. The steps leading from the driveway to the walk should also be wider. I'd add some downlights to light the steps and walk while you've got it apart. At the porch, again, I'd make the walk as wide as the steps.

Keep in mind that you will probably not recover the cost of these improvements on resale.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 8:47PM
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We have to dig up the existing concrete since it is cracked. Not only does it look bad it is actually a slight hazard (someone could trip and then sue us) We are hoping to do most of the work ourself to save some money. How much would a typical sidewalk replacement cost? Would it really not be worth it on our overall home value? That surprises me!

Would a slight curve look ok? I really don't think we have the length to make a large curve anyway since the length we have to go is only about 34 feet long and we have to have the sidewalk come back close to the house for the porch as well as the driveway access. I am not even sure if a large curve would look right. I understand the need for a flat surface, but I was thinking we might have enought flat area to work with, however it may require moving some shrubs around.

How wide is the typical walkway? I am worried about widening the walkway to 4 or 5 feet, as we hardly have room for any flower bed against the house as it is now, and that would make just too much hard surface.

My husband and I saw a walkway the other day that seemed simple where the builder just layed large flagstones down as stepping stones in a large mulched bed with the plantings. We thought that might be something we could easily do and I really liked the look, however I didn't like walking on the stepstones as I felt like I was stareing at the ground trying to watch my step.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:21AM
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saypoint(6b CT)

The thing about landscape improvements is that most people who buy a house expect it to have at least some landscaping, and certainly expect a sidewalk, so they will not pay extra for it. Kind of like a roof. They expect a serviceable roof, so while they may deduct for the cost of replacing a bad roof, it doesn't necessarily mean you can add the replacement cost to the sale price if you do it ahead of time.

In addition, a new owner will probably have her own ideas about what kind of landscaping is suitable, and tear out and replace much of what you've done, unless you are putting in a really spectacular, high end job that's so wonderful that they wouldn't want to change it.

You don't give any hints as to your location, but zone 6 gets snow, and you'll have to be able to clear the walk in winter. Stepping stones are OK for a casual secondary path through a garden, but the approach to the house, especially for strangers to the layout, should be as direct and clear as possible, and hazard free.

The minimum width for walkway should be 4 feet, IMO, and 5 is better if you have the space. It's unpleasant to have to go to the door in single file, and a problem if Aunt Bessie needs someone offer her an arm on the way in. You end up looking something like a conga line.

I would forget about a flower bed against the house, and either plant groundcover or a few annuals at most. Anything tall will fall over onto the walk, especially as it leans out for more light. Shrubs will require constant trimming and will end up looking nasty.

The cost of installing a new walkway depends on materials you choose, the size of the project, how much grading/prep work is required, demolition of the old walk, and the skill level of the installer. An experience artisan will cost more than a guy with a pickup truck and an account at Dome Heapo. Add the cost, if any, for dumping the waste you break up.

You must be young folks, because I wouldn't want to demolish a concrete walk and install a new one without outside help.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 2:32PM
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In late response...if anyone's still looking for help with redesigns, I know this great company in LA called Designers Call that works nationally helping people redesign their spaces at affordable prices. They have a very cool system and can work on a couple things to an entire home, exterior and interiors.

Here is a link that might be useful: designers call

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 4:10PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Whoa, total nonsequitur.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 6:26PM
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