Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Build a Cement Path

The beginnings of the new pathway!


Today I thought I'd talk about
laying a cement pathway...


One of the most physical recycling things one might do,
using broken concrete
to make pathways around your home
is an inexpensive way to
create a unique walkway with little to no cost,
and
 with great results!
:)


When we put in our pool 9 years ago this year,
the cement sidewalk down the left-side of our house
was demolished to make way
for the gas line to be run to heat the pool and spa.


From a HUGE pile of rubble
I saw potential!
So, I chose a bunch of the concrete pieces
that looked like they would make
good pathway pieces
and they were saved to the side yard.
After the pool was finished and all of the workers gone,
I started laying out the path...


Fast forward 9 years...
Now, I'm having to redo this pathway since we had 
the side yard dug up for sprinkler pipe additions.
:)




Tools you'll need:
large, pointed-end shovel for breaking up sod or dirt
hand shovel/trowel for small work
level(s)
work gloves




Laying your pathway
1. Figure out what cement pieces to use; clean and cut wires
from the cement as necessary.
(watch for rusty wires ~ if you get cut, how long has it been since your last tetanus shot?)


2. Start by shoveling up the area for your first few "stones." 
Move that dirt into a pile to be reused under and around
each "stone."


3. Eyeball the dirt area somewhat level to start. I like having
a bed of soft dirt underneath, to begin.

4. Lay in your first "stone". For our yard, this first "stone" needed to be
slightly below the adjacent cement walkway. Feel with your hands
and try "walking on it" after it is set 
to feel how it will feel to step-off onto this "paver."
Using a small level,
level the cement piece in both 
horizontal and sagittal planes (i.e. "forward/backward plane.").
Add dirt underneath and move it around
under the right and left sides, etc. to 
level each part.


Our pathway needed to slope downward toward the drain
for water run-off during heavy rains,
so I made the stones going down to it
slightly slanted down
in the sagittal plane.
***The rule of thumb for any project that needs slope is
dropping 1" for every 8 feet. This works on patio covers, etc.
As the path goes beyond the drain, 
I will keep the cement stones level
from then on.


Tip:
As you lay down each successive cement stone,
feel with your hands and feet from one "stone" 
to the next for any raised edges.
The one thing I found after laying these down last time
was that it's really easy to catch bare feet
with a raised edge.
You may need to lay the path and 
readjust the "stones" later after the area settles a bit.
:)



Choose a pleasing design
5. Pick your successive cement pieces with keeping a design of how
you want the path to look in mind. You may get a few "stones" down
and decide you don't like one or two. 
No problem! :)
Just pull out the one you don't like and
find another that you like better.


I lay down each big piece then fiddle around with the smaller ones
until I find a layout I like.
I like a two-over-one, one-over-two
brick pattern layout,
but you may like only large pieces.
I've seen lovely paths through grassy areas
with just large reclaimed cement pavers
and that looks equally nice!


6. Once a few "cement stones" are set and level,
grab your shovel and pack dirt back in, around, and under
each "stone" with your hand trowel as needed.*
There usually is a lot of little adjustments needed.
I started this last Thursday and the first day,
that day,
two hours later...
I only had the first stone set... 


***Step 6: This is important so you can check for wobbly stones.
Keep tamping down the dirt into each crevice.
If you have a tamper, 
use it to pack the dirt around the edges of the "stones."


Walk on your stones
and feel for loose stones.
Keep packing the dirt in, under, around as needed.
Grade the dirt around to "slope"
as you go.



Our furry friends love to be out with us as we work!

After this path is layed,
I might put some ground cover plants 
in between and around 
the pavers.
Pacysandra might look really sweet!
Might have to ask our 
friendly gardener to add a couple 
more sprinklers in this area.
;)


Hope you have enjoyed this little 
recycled cement
garden paver tutorial!

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight                      ~ Proverbs 3:6

Blessings to you,
Barb
:)


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