Adding a walkway to your front yard may take some time and effort, but it is not a demanding job that requires any special skills. It can be a nice project for the whole family to become involved in and can help to increase everyone’s pride in their home. Where many people go wrong is in underestimating the amount of time and labor that will be required. Talk to friends who have added walkways to derive at an idea of what all is involved and using that as the benchmark, you can decide of you want to do more or less than they did.
If you do want to add a walkway to your front yard and find that the project is not something you want to undertake yourself, for whatever reason, then having it completed by a professional is the best option. You will find information of landscaping and paving experts in your area online. Contacting these professionals will ensure that you attain the walkway you want.
1.Decide on the Path
Do you want to bring visitors straight to you front door? Or would you like them to see the finer points of your garden on their way in? The path of your walkway depends on this. If the former is your choice, then a straight no nonsense walkway to the front door is what you should go in for. But if you want to take then through your yard, then a twisting or zigzag path will allow them to pass by the highlights of the yard. Be careful not to overdo it though; you don’t want visitors to feel they have been on a hike by the time they reach your front door.
2.Choose Your Material
There are 4 basic materials that can be used for a walkway – cement, brick, stone, or gravel. Cement is strong and long lasting, but it does require that you know how to work with and lay it. Bricks are easy to lay, but they can get worn out quickly and show their age if the traffic is high or if you house is in an area of extreme climatic conditions. Stone is both long lasting and attractive, but being able to lay the stones in an attractive pattern and also to create smooth surface where people will not trip and hurt themselves requires precision workmanship. Gravel is the easiest material because all that is needed is for a shallow trench to be dug and them filled with the small pebbles. But gravel can becomes scattered over the yard in time and also become dirty and discolored.
Whether you are using cement, bricks or stones, you can have a lot of fun with the walkway design. The cement slabs can be laid to create an interesting pattern or the surface can have designs. Bricks too can be laid in various patterns to match the mood of the yard and house. Stones are ideal if you want to give the walkway a natural almost rustic look.
4.Prepping the Land
The first thing to do when adding a walkway is to mark out the line it will take and the width. The line as already said, depends of individual preference. As for the width, it should not be so narrow that people are afraid of stepping off it or so wide as to look like a road leading to you house. Typically, a walkway should be broad enough for 2 people to walk side by side.
5.Laying the Groundwork
Once the direction and width of the walkway are decided, it’s time to start digging. How deep you dig depends on the material you will be using. You will need at least 1 inch of depth for cement or gravel, but its brick or stone size will determine that amount of digging that will have to be done. Another issue to take into account is whether the walkway is to be flush with the ground or a little higher. Higher is usually better as it reduces the chances of grass and weeds encroaching on the path and your path will probably settle some (sink in) when you are done with it.
6.Surrounding Garden Design
As we said earlier the walkway can either match the layout and look of the yard or the yard can be designed around the walkway. The important thing is to ensure that the overall look is one of unity and that the walkway looks like an integral part of the yard. A walkway that does not fit into the look of the yard can ruin the look of your house.
7.Color or Staining
Cement and bricks can be colored to match the look of you yard and you can also get gravel in a range of shades. You can’t do much to change to color of stones so be sure that the ones you are using are of the color you want.
8.Cleaning and Care
Nothing looks as bad as a dirty, broken, or overgrown walkway. Check the walkway once a month for signs of damage and get any repairs that may be needed done immediately to prevent the damage from spreading. Also look for signs of weeds or grass sprouting and pull them out. A normal wash down with a hose is usually enough to clean a walkway, but if it is badly stained, use a chemical cleaner to remove the dirt.
The walkway will be used after dark so it’s important to have adequate lighting. The options here are many. You could select small lampposts, low level lighting, and so on. Ensure that the lights are made for outdoor use and that all the wiring is weather proofed so that you do not have constant short circuits and the danger of electrical shocks.
It’s important to ensure that the surface of the walkway is rough enough to ensure that people have a firm footing and will not slip on it, even in rainy weather.
If the gravel does become dirty, you can easily clean them with just a hose by running water over them. Rain can sometimes do this for you. But if the pebbles become scattered around, certainly in the nearby grass or plants, it can be difficult to get those pebbles back onto the path.
The walkway to the entrance of your home is not just a path from the street to your door. It tells people who are visiting you the kind of family you are and sets the tone for what they expect to find indoors.And once the walkway is in place, it’s important to maintain it so that it stays looking sharp and compliments your home, rather than degrading it. A dirty or overgrown walkway will detract both from the appearance of your yard and well as that of the house as a whole.