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Simple walkway suggestions?

Posted by lsoh 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 4, 10 at 23:13

I'm fixing up a house. The easiest way into the house is from the driveway to the front porch steps. That's a straight, 18 foot shot. However, that is currently nothing but a muddy path worn through the grass. I'd like to create a simple, low maintanence path that solves the mud problem. Problems. 1) It's a tiny yard that is already dominated by a wide cement sidewalk between the road and the porch steps. So I want something small, subtle, and informal. 2) In the short run, this house will be a rental. (I intend to make it my home in the long run.) So the path must be low maintanence.

In terms of character, it's a 1920's bungalow in a lakeside community.

I have access to some slate "like" material. Not a lot. It's the shattered remains of a pool table. I don't know what the material is. It's tough, black with white flecks, natural looking stone like material. Could use these as stepping stones in a pathway. In order to make the limited supply of this material stretch further, I could add to the pathway width by edging with sunken 2x4's. (Or other suggestions?). Maybe grass, gravel, or mulch in between the stones. I was thinking about digging out the path, laying down a base of sand, then setting the stones at ground level to aid in mowing. I must either commit to the stepping stone material or not within 2 days.

So, what approach would you suggest? Please don't let access to this stone-like material bias your input. Maybe the best approach does or does not include it.

What's the minimum width for such a pathway? Remember that this yard is very tiny. I absolutely cannot dominate the yard with another wide sidewalk. The existing mud path probably isn't more than a foot wide.

Would using the stepping stone approach create trip hazards?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Simple walkway suggestions?

Square concrete slabs are your best friend here. You could alternate these with your pool table fragments or not, depending on your preferred aesthetics. You can get slabs in any size from 12x12 to 24x24, and can get round ones if you prefer. If you want to make installation super simple, you can just put them on dirt and fill in around them - this will likely be susceptible to heave in winter though, in your climate. If you do the digging as you suggest, it will look better.

The other thing is that you can get various surface tile products made of rubber that you just interlock and lay down, or roll-out products made of rubber slats. Usually available at big box home supply stores or various on line outlets. Will look like he** after a while perhaps, but certainly a quick solution.

If you're willing to do the digging, I'd go with concrete slabs. They're easy to take up and move or get rid of if you do a nicer path later.


RE: Simple walkway suggestions?

Choices, choices.

My guess, like Karen above, is that digging, using sand to level, placing concrete (or other "stepping" material), will probably give the best result.

But I am so pleased with my wood chip paths.

Advantages: cheap, visually insignificant, no tipping, no tripping. The wood chips sort of pack down. I was out this evening walking my yard after a downpour. Grass was slick; path was sort of "spongy" but very good footing. Think of paths prepared for nature areas.

Disadvantages: Annual refurbishment of trench edge and to top off wood chips. Grass enchroachment, but you'll have that too with stepping stones.

I'm actually not sure whether I'd do this in a front area, but these paths have been remarkably easy to take care of and I have two that go through flower beds that have rarely needed much attention. My newest is a path leading out to my shed in the back yard and I hope to increase this one this year.

Dig down, mostly to remove grass roots. Lay thick layer of newspapers. Purchase cedar chips from big box store. You'll want a 4" to 6" inch layer. It will pack into kind of a mat with use. For a relatively narrow and short path, purchasing the wood chip material is worth it. Walk on it a little bit to pack it down. Voila! Nothing special, but it's cheap and definitely covers those dirt-mud paths that constant travel can create.

So, there's my very non-designy solution.

RE: Simple walkway suggestions?

lsoh, you've told us the yard is small, but we don't know if there's any landscaping other than the grass you've mentioned.

If you have a foundation bed on the side where the path is needed, one option might be to put Wellspring's wood-chip path on the edge of the foundation bed, so that you would have, perhaps: house--foundation bed--path--grass--sidewalk--street. The path would be simply an extension of the mulch in the foundation bed; this would, I think, make it less intrusive in your tiny yard.

The minimum width for a pathway is whatever works for you. If this were the main approach to the front door, you'd want something wide enough for two people to walk abreast. But if it's just you carrying in the groceries, narrow might be fine.

RE: Simple walkway suggestions?

You mentioned this house will be a rental for now.

Go with cement sidewalk blocks. Ten to one, unless you're lucky, you won't get perfect tenants, and you'll want something that's indestructible and low maintennce.

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