Friday, October 5, 2012

In Which the Front Walkway Went from Bad to Beautiful

If you haven't seen the 'before' photos of our front walkway then you should take a peek at this post first and then hop back over here to read what we did about it and how.

In preparation for building our walkway I had been drawing up plans in my little notebook and had been checking out the hardware stores to see what supplies we needed. I knew we didn't want to have to use a wet saw to cut any bricks so my design had to involve rectangles the size of the bricks we chose.  I watched this video, which really helped me understand what needed to be done (actually I can't find the one I watched, but I know it was on This Old House).

The first thing I had to do was transplant the bush that was in the middle of the lawn.  Then I dug the whole area down five inches, at which point the project ground to a halt and lay dormant for about six weeks.  Yep we all had to walk on boards and trudge through mud and dirt to get to the front door - fun eh?  

With fall already here and winter fast approaching I decided I needed to take drastic action.  So I called in the troops - aka my husband, my sister, and my eldest son and his wife.  We all worked like crazy two weekends ago and got the job done.

Here's what we did.  

We had to level the ground and carefully edge it.  Then we cut and laid down the garden fabric to help block weeds from growing through the path.

Then we added limestone screenings.

Fifty-one bags of limestone screenings (and they were 30 kg each) - I couldn't even lift them so thankfully Malcolm was there to heave them around.

As you can see we put up wood to keep the limestone screenings in place while we tamped them down (although you may notice that one of the boards is out too far - oops, measuring error).  I think Christie and I are doing a fine job of supervising, don't you?

Once all the limestone screenings were level - and we used a long board and a level to scrape along the top to make sure everything was in order - then we put down the bricks.

The bricks we chose look like four individual bricks, but are actually joined together so it gets laid down faster. When the sand gets added on top it goes in the little grooves as well as in the real cracks between the blocks and it ends up looking like a pathway of individual bricks (I hope you followed that explanation).

On Sunday, Malcolm and I worked together to get a little more done.  We added the sand between the bricks which really helped it look more finished and we dug out more of the new garden along the right side of the path in the photo below and added new garden soil.

This was the trickiest area because we had to make a step down so the bottom area was level with the driveway.  As you can see there is still a lot to be done around the edges of the path.  That is as far as we got by Sunday evening.

On Wednesday Malcolm and Christie came back and finished off the list of things that needed to be done.  It mostly consisted of finishing digging out the new garden and adding garden soil to the new and the old garden beds, dividing some of the hostas and planting them in the new garden, and putting some sod along the edge of the lower walkway.  

Later in the week I added a few chrysanthemums and tidied the workplace up and stood back to admire our handiwork.

As it turned out it wasn't a project I really could have done on my own because the bags of limestone screenings were too heavy for me to lift.  While it took a lot of work and a surprising amount of figuring out and measuring it wasn't really too complicated so I would rate it as a moderately difficult DIY project.

All I can say is that I'm so happy it is done and I'm very proud of the work we did together.

Let's have one more look at the 'before'

and the 'after'.

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  1. This looks AMAZING Sylvia!! What a difference! Bravo! PS Have I already told you my brother's name is Malcolm? And my father's, and my grandfather's, and my great-grandfather's... :)

  2. FANTASTIC! All of the hard work paid off. You all did a wonderful job.


  3. Sylvia this is fabulous. What a difference. It just looks so welcoming.
    I have to tell you that your blog is one of my all time favs. I never pass it by on my blog roll.
    Susie at Puddle Jumper Creations

  4. It is amazing the difference a pretty walkway makes. It is beautiful. We added stone to our existing porch and it made a huge difference.

  5. What an improvement!!! You did a great job!

  6. All I can say is WOW!!!! You truly did your research and prep which is more than half the battle. Add in strong backs to do the lifting and all that time and effort paid off! Congratulations on a job well done!!! I love it!

  7. Much improved! You did a great job.

  8. What a great improvement! You guys did a great job! So pretty. Kit

  9. LOVE it! The new front walkway looks awesome and its so great that you had your whole family to help you out!

  10. Amen! you did a terrific job! Thanks for sharing!