Stone Walkway

I am slowly building a stone walkway with some old concrete to reuse the concrete and improve our yard a bit. For details on how I am doing it and why I am doing it, read on.

The materials for our walkway come from some concrete steps that were on the back of our house. These steps were demolished so a wooden deck could be built in their place... The steps were hollow and there was lots of gravel under them. I saved the larger concrete slabs and all the gravel. The remainder of the steps will be left in place under the deck, out of the way.

By the way, if you need to remove a set of concrete steps you can probably do it with a long-handled sledge hammer. Be persistent, use long swings of the hammer, and let the weight of the hammer do the work. Just drop it down on the block. It might take a few hits in the same spot but eventually a crack will form and the steps will fracture.

Here is the technique I am using to build the stone walkway:

  • Find a nice stone slab and identify the next place to put it (about one easy stride along the eroded pathway)
  • Orient the slab and cut around it with a shovel
  • Flip the slab over so it is out of the way and dig straight down according to your outline
  • The slabs are about 4 inches thick so I dig down around 7 or 8 inches
  • Find some larger rocks in the dirt they hauled up while digging the post holes and place them in the hole in the bottom
  • Pour about 2 inches of gravel in there and level it off
  • Roll the stone into the hole and see if it is sitting ok, if not use gravel to level things up
  • Roll the stone in until it is sitting flat and not rocking then jump up and down on it or hammer it in with a bucket of gravel or earth
  • When it is flat (sort of, you want to bias it so water runs off it and away from the house) pack in as much dirt as you can around the stone and really hammer it in (I used the end handle end of my sledgehammer as my father showed me to do). :)
  • Finally, move around on the rock and make sure it doesn't wobble. If it does wobble a lot you didn't do a good enough job with the gravel... if it wobbles a little, just pack more dirt in.
  • There is lots of left-over soil from this... We are using it to build up the gardens and what isn't needed I dump at the base of a tree in the back corner of our lot.
Why would someone build a walkway like this:
  • Reduces wear and tear - people and dogs will tend to (or have a chance to) use the stones and not the grass to walk on... so the grass tends to grow up between the stones. Right now I have dirt or mud when it is wet.
  • Drainage - this heavily used area used to be packed dirt... now it has little areas with good drainage into gravel sinks every couple feet... it will keep that area drier and allow it to drain which also reduces wear and tear.
  • Looks nice - a stone walkway looks better than mud or dirt.
  • Reuse - what else am I going to do with all that concrete from the steps?!?


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