Our home's front path was plain concrete, straight and worn down. With time, its surface got eaten away by winter de-icing salt, and it became an eyesore. There was also paint spilled on it (not by us.)
Not a welcoming entry into our home! The front path became part of Project Curb Appeal.
This project was featured by Bob Vila's team on Yahoo Makers! And also on Apartment Therapy! Click to view. Wooohoo! *happy dance*
We didn't want to resurface the concrete, nor have it jackhammered away and start over with something else. Way too much trouble!
So, working within a budget we decided to update it, using the existing concrete as a foundation. If you're looking for a very DIY-able way to redo your path, this may be the solution for you. No tools required! (Though a car or truck with lots of cargo space is recommended ;-)
Like in most home projects we do, we like to go for maximum impact at minimal cost; we do the work ourselves after learning what we need to know. This project certainly wasn't complicated, as you'll see, but it did involve some physical work and maybe a little grunting.
It took us about 3 hours on a nice Saturday afternoon.
Here's the story of how we did it, and how much it cost:
This flagstone path was the inspiration not only because of its easy elegant look and feel, but also because it doesn't require power tools or any major technical skills, as garden designer Tom Piergrossi points out on the My Home Ideas website by This Old House.
|Source: 25 Ways to Create an Outdoor Oasis, My Home Ideas, Photo by Norm Plate|
We shopped around at some local garden centers and priced things out. But we quickly learned that flagstone like you see above is very expensive.
We still loved the look of the stepping stones with small river rock in between, so we tweaked the plan a little. We decided to go with something a bit more basic, which actually turned out quite nice and contemporary.
Here was our starting point:
|Plain concrete path, with a crumbling surface and white paint splotch.|
We opted to use these square pavers from our local big box store. The plan was to lay them evenly in 3 rows, and have river rock/pea gravel in between the pavers.
Here's how we did it:
STEP #1. We laid down some stone screening (powder made from crushed stone) to make our path level and fill in the damaged areas.
|Distributing our stone screening|
We did this simply by pushing it around with a wide, flat broom until it was smoothed out. Stone screening is a good foundation, and is also useful for keeping weeds away.
(Note: I had assumed we would use sand to do this step, but a landscaping expert told us to avoid using sand because it attracts ants. Good to know!)
|Phase 1 complete - Foundation done.|
You may need to weigh it down at the ends... Our geotextile kept blowing away in the breeze!
|Weed barrier: complete.|
STEP #3: Laying down the stone pavers. I dropped them into place and repositioned them until they were straight and aligned... ish.
|This step was straightforward, just needing some precision and patience.|
STEP #4: Fill in the gaps with pea gravel/river rock.
Again here, we spread out the rocks with a wide broom to fill in the gaps.
|Yes, I like it!|
|A quick summary of the steps!|
Our new path:
A final note: The tiny little rocks can get kicked up and dislodged (and the kids adore playing with handfuls of them). They're easily swept back into place when needed. It's also nice when a few are out of place, it's not a problem. This minor aspect doesn't bother us, as the path is so much better overall than what it was before. We love it!
For those who are curious, here is the cost breakdown:
$107.64 36x 16"x16" stone pavers @ $2.99ea
$73.97 13x Bags of river rock @ $5.69ea
$36.00 10x Bags of stone screening (powdered stone) @ $3.60ea
$0.00 Geotextile (weed barrier cloth) - we had some leftovers on-hand.
$217.61 Total Cost
I hope this has inspired some ideas for your home!
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.