Building walkways and pathways are one landscaping job that even the least experienced outdoors person can do. A number of different DIY projects are available that will allow you to stamp your own personality on these features. The secret to increasing your chances of success can be found in the time you put into the preparation stage. Learn all you can about the best materials, construction practices, and labor requirements before you step into the yard.
Alternating Flagstone Steps
Give a walkway a little dose of personality by alternating the location of flagstones. Laying down precisely cut flagstone stepping stones endows the path with a more creative design than laying them down in a straight line. A key part of the preparation process of this DIY project is keeping in mind that flagstones are heavy, so this idea is best suited for a short path rather than a long one.
Block Raised Bed
Accomplish greater personality, at a greater expenditure of time and money, by situating a raised bed of stacked blocks in the center of a walkway around which the path divides before coming together again on the other side. Interlocking masonry blocks are easier to install than dry stacking with individual stones. Create a circular wall about three or four blocks high that surrounds an empty space that can be filled with flowers, a statue or a birdbath.
One of the easiest pathways to make is a mulch path. This option is most suitable for a rustic landscaping scheme and will work best if you choose a material that naturally integrates into the surroundings. If you have pine trees, create a path made of pine needles. A pathway adjacent to a woodsy area would benefit aesthetically from being made of wood chips. Before deciding on a mulch path, keep in mind that decomposition of any organic material will require refreshing the path every year or two.
Edging with Plants
If your existing path or walkway has a border that is either too harsh or too plain, soften the effect by lining the borders with flowers. Brightly colored flowers that grow low to the ground such as coral bells, lavender and baby’s breath make a visually pleasing bouquet. The longer the walkway that needs to be edged, the more low-maintenance plants you’ll want.
Illuminating your walkways and pathways for nighttime enjoyment will, in most cases, require nothing more than one single outdoor electrical outlet. Before deciding on low voltage, make sure that you meet the code requirements of having built-in ground fault circuit interrupters. Options for lighting fixtures range from small, mushroom-shaped lamps placed along the sides of the path to more ornate and artistic fixtures made of materials like wrought iron or blown glass.
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Ideas for Front Walkways
Front walkways can maximize your home’s curb appeal and add warmth to the entrance of your home, according to the experts at “Front Porch Ideas and More.” There are several ways to plan your walkway, whether you’re creating it from scratch or simply adding landscaping or design to your current pathway, and there are many types of decorating materials that can enhance long and short front walkways and pathways. Here are some things to consider.
The two main walkway shapes are straight and curved. Straight walkways are more formal and lead directly from the sidewalk or driveway to the house. They’re typically the least expensive to build and easiest to maintain, and typically work best with contemporary house designs. Curved walkways usually go well with cottage-style homes with personality, and can create a certain mystique, an atmosphere of meandering, according to “Landscape Design Advice.” The majority of curved walkways have adjacent landscaping features, such as herb plants and flowers.
If you have a large home or front yard, consider designing a walkway that’s a minimum of four feet wide. This will allow at least two people to walk side by side up the pathway to the home. Side walkways, such as from the driveway to the front porch, can be as narrow as two feet, but the main front walkway should be the widest one at your house.
There are many types of front walkway paving materials available. The most cost-efficient type of walkway material is decomposed granite, and concrete and cement are also fairly inexpensive, as well as the most commonly used materials. If you’re working with a larger budget, use travertine stone or bluestone materials. Some people use the same type of bricks for their walkways as was used in their house. The main walkway should have a smooth surface to prevent tripping.
Landscaping and Lighting
Most walkways can be easily enhanced with landscaping and lighting. Landscaping features, including small shrubs, pebbles, and flowers, can help keep guests on the pathway, as well as provide a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. There are several types of walkway lighting available as well, from tall lampposts at the walkway entrance to small spotlights along the path. Walkway lighting not only adds color and texture to pathways but also helps prevent nighttime falls and stumbles.
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