front door path questions

oliveoyl3May 7, 2013

I'm looking for your suggestions to create a more formal front yard landscape, which includes a path to the front door in need of updating.

Which style and material should we use for a 4' wide path from a gravel driveway to the front porch in a rural setting where we have rain October - June? We have been gathering materials to do this with as little cash outlay as possible since we don't own, but live here as part of employment. We're moving into this home from another one walking just up the road.

1. formal straight or informal curved?
What is best here -- a formal 4' wide straight path to the front door or an informal gently curved walkway entering from the right side curving left to arrive at the porch? In the photo you see the path worn in the grass from previous occupants.

The garage/shop tilts toward the house rather than perpendicular and driveway is a bit narrow for 2 cars & room to walk around them.d It seems that one could access a right side path entrance easier than a straight path lined up with the front porch because that would also be lined up with the front wheels or even middle of our cars. Would another photo with a car in the driveway help show the location? From 2013-05-03 From Drop Box From 2013-05-03

2. concrete pavers, cast concrete from mold, or rubber stomp stone pavers?
We have gray concrete stepping stones (12 inch squares, 12x8 rectangles in 2 colors, rounds in 2 sizes both aggregate & smooth, plus the 10 hexagons currently installed) plus orange bricks and a concrete stepping stone mold. Thinking of installing edging like a double row brick on sides for mowing strip or to keep mulch material off path if we install gardens across front instead of grass on both sides.

Have you used the rubber pavers? I am opposed to rubber mulch & think this material might release the same toxins into the soil.

This is a photo to give an idea of my naturalistic, informal assymmetrical gardening style.

Three years ago we built this rocky path and installed a french drain to contain seasonal run-off from the driveway that sloped toward the house & yard. We had low spots with poor drainage and a worn path in the grass leading to the spigot. We built it the width of a roll of landscape cloth then built up the garden beds on both sides to connect the front of the house garden to the sides that run the length. Rocks were already piled up as dug from our vegetable gardens and the paver pieces were a freebie for the hauling. This is a slow walking path, not an entrance path like we want to remake at the new place. From 2010 flower garden

Here is the same garden 2 years later. From Drop Box

More views of our naturalistic garden style making the most of our part sun location in the woods. From Drop Box From Drop Box From Drop Box

What would you suggest?

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot stomp stone

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"Would another photo with a car in the driveway help show the location?" What you really need to show it is a PLAN (birds eye) view drawing that is to scale. This is what you'd use to work out the layout and from what you'd measure to make calculations of materials. It would be much easier for us to comprehend the relationship of the destinations if they were marked on a plan.

Personally, I'm not nuts about all the knick-knack variety of concrete paving products that come from the home and garden stores. The cost is very high there, too. I prefer concrete pavers that are simple ... like a brick or half brick shape (and some others.) If you have a concrete paver manufacturer or distributor there, I think it's hard to beat some of the bargains that can be found in their "liquidation yard" if they have such a section. I've gotten pavers for 1/3 the regular price by purchasing "seconds" from the bargain bin. ("Seconds" does not usually mean inferior quality. It means leftovers, weird colors, partial palettes and the like. There are generally limited quantities so one must conceive a pattern and/or color scheme on the fly. But for small projects like a walk, it's usually easy to find enough of a color to make something sensible. (A small pickup truck can hold 1/2 pallette.)

My first DIY paver driveway ... made from "seconds". The color blended from grey to red pavers. Aging has made the color difference less distinct.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 3:06AM
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I like the informal look and turns in your pictures above. But, I also thought the straight paths depicted in yard's drawing on the other thread held great appeal. You could still build up flower beds on Either side and maybe even eventually a few curved side paths, but for access to the front door from cars, in this case a straight path seems ideal.

Ok, after writing out that, I realized i was assuming your vehicle would generally be parked directy in fron of the house which eould make a cyrved path ovetly fussy. If you patk off to one side then I coukd see a clean curve from that area to your front door.

Our yard had some rubber pavers here when we moved in 3.5 years ago. They have weathered surpringly wel, but the square ones curl up on the edges in a very annoying way. I use them for a accessing behind garden areas, not as paving a main walkway.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:14PM
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I love a nice, curved path as much as the next person but since this is going to be the path you carry groceries from the car and use every evening after a long day of foresting, I would go for a straight, practical path.

I think formal straight vs informal curved is a false choice. You can do an informal straight path. I like the paths you've made at your current location but I don't think they are terribly practical for daily to and fro. I think with some artistic use of what you've stockpiled and some gap fillers, you could make for a nice path with mismatched concrete pavers making it a sort of mosaic.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:21PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

I don't think a curved or straight path is the best choice here. Curves don't fit with the existing lines; straight is much too formal and does not add to the setting. I would put in something staggered. It would not have to be done with seperate paving stones, and the design elements could be on a different scale.

One example for the general idea:

Here is a link that might be useful: Entry path

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 12:50AM
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Here's an alternating rectangles path photo I had saved on pinterest from Better Homes & Gardens. I realize a good paver base tamped will prevent the uneven path you see in the photo. I'm not sure how to prevent the moles from messing up our work.

Here is a link that might be useful: staggered path

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:57AM
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To clarify, it was a mild "s"-curve that I showed in the picture on the other thread. I don't think it will matter much if you do curved, straight, "s"-curve as long as the path is solid (not stepping stones,) wide enough (probably 4' min.) and direct (connects the destinations at each end without taking a convoluted route.) Practicality will win here and it will look better because it works well.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 7:58PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

Corrine, I love the staggered path in the pic that you linked. Nice and wide and visually (to me) appealing.

Yardvaark, what a handsome drive and walkway! I am all about economy and the seconds that you selected look like anything but seconds. Is that picture taken from your front porch/yard or does the walkway lead to a garden?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 8:40PM
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"Is that picture taken from your front porch/yard or does the walkway lead to a garden?" Not sure what you mean. The picture was taken from the Google Streetview photomobile of my then front yard. There is not a walkway in the photo ... just drive and parking court. "Seconds" was just color blends left over from a run and not enough to do a complete job. No difference in quality from "firsts."

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:41PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

I see now that you have explained, it looked to me like a driveway (your parking pad) and a very wide path.

I know what seconds are, sorry if you were offended.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:09AM
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"I know what seconds are, sorry if you were offended." Not offended at all. Here one writes, explaining, knowing there might be a question generated in the "audience."

Pk, Also, now I understand what you perceived as a "walk".

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. We put a hose out for the past 2 weeks walking where a path had already been worn in the grass. It seems to work fine, so we've decided on that gentle curved path. I didn't take a photo while the hose was out, so can't show it.

The exposed aggregate concrete path will start on the right from behind where a car will be parked in the driveway & curve left to then go straight to the front door. Since the front porch has some rotten beams, we will repair or replace it with a larger concrete landing with 2 steps down to the path

Once we've done some landscaping like shrubs, building curved garden beds, & leveling the grass areas we'll be able to lay it out. It's hard for me to picture it now, but I know it will come together.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:04PM
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The work you'll do of placing things in certain locations, you should draw on a "to scale" plan. It will help make sure that things will "come together" as you want them to ... not by accident, but by intention. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 2:46AM
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DJSquire Designs

Really like the natural look to your previous gardens. Seems like you "like" curved paths (I do too).

Was also searching on Houzz for some DIY paver pathways:

You might consider lining the walking pathway with pavers as a soldier course effect.,, see link:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 3:40PM
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