So, you’ve gathered all your materials, the ground is ready, and you’re eager to finally install that long-awaited walkway! That’s great news – but before you get started, it helps to ask yourself… how long does it actually take to install a walkway?
Preparing the Area for the Walkway
Before installing a walkway, it is important to properly prepare the area where the walkway will be placed. A successful installation relies heavily on thorough preparation, in order to make sure that the project comes to completion safely and efficiently.
The first step to preparing the area for a walkway is determining which type of material will work best for its intended purpose – for example, a brick-style walkway may not be suitable for hilly terrain, due to potential stability issues.
Additionally, removing any debris from the chosen location is essential – any foliage, such as weeds or grass must be taken care of so that they don’t interfere with the process of laying down and securing the walkway material.
Furthermore, although it may increase construction time and cost, stabilizing the ground around the pathway location will ultimately make the walkway more stable and even out any bumps or dips in uneven terrain.
This can be done by either filling in any gaps with pea gravel or sand mixture or using a self-leveling compound. On the other hand, if extra hardening of the surface isn’t necessary, layering down a weed-barrier cloth will still help prevent any unwanted growth from damaging or infiltrating the finished walkway.
Measuring the Size and Area
Measuring the size and area of the walkway is just as important as preparing for it — no matter how well you prepare, if you don’t get the correct measurements it can throw off the whole project. Whether you are putting in a simple straight pathway or something more elaborate with curves and turns, it’s vital to measure correctly.
How much surface area do you need? Will the walkway fit into the space you have designated? Taking precise measurements before beginning will save time and stress during installation, so it’s essential to get it right.
In regards to measuring size, use a measuring tape or laser measurer to determine the length and width of your desired walkway area. But remember, measuring the actual surface area requires different techniques. For example, if you plan to feature curved edges along your walkway, use something like a chalk line and string to map out a circumference pattern.
If you prefer a more traditional rectangular squared shape, then use graph paper or PVC piping (for a physical template) to determine how long and wide the walkway should be. Don’t forget to also account for spacing between walkway sections and rest stops.
Once you have determined all of your measurements, it’s time to move on to digging and preparing the base of your walkway–which can involve some heavy lifting outdoors.
Digging the Ground and Preparing the Base
Now that the measurements and size of your walkway have been determined, it’s time to get down to the business of physically building it. The first step is digging a shallow trench in the ground in which to lay the base material.
Depending on size and soil type, you’ll probably need hand tools like trowels, hoes, and rakes as well as a power auger for larger areas. Heavy clay soils may also require sand or gravel to provide adequate drainage for your finished walkway.
The base should be eight inches deep for small pathways and at least twelve inches for larger ones. It is essential that your foundation is level and solid. This means there should be no mounding along one side from uneven digging or divots from a poorly executed auger job.
Test the surface with a level and adjust accordingly if necessary. Once you are sure the evenness meets your standard, spread crushed stone or gravel evenly in the trench and then tamp down with a tamper or hand plate before moving on to the next stage: choosing materials for the walkway surface.
Choosing the Materials for the Base
Once the groundwork has been laid for the base, it’s time to decide on what materials to use. Deciding what material should be used is a crucial step in determining the longevity of the walkway. Generally, concrete and gravel can both be suitable base materials depending on the specific application.
For instance, concrete is incredibly strong and it makes a great level surface that is suitable for most walkways. Concrete can also be made to match existing pathways and surrounding features in terms of color, style, and texture.
If a more traditional look is desired, gravel may be a better option than concrete as it provides a more aesthetically pleasing natural finish with less “solid” feeling the visual effect.
Additionally, gravel requires less maintenance than concrete and can allow rainwater to percolate directly into the ground instead of running off into nearby waterways, which is beneficial for the environment and local ecosystems.
However, gravel has its drawbacks as well; it’s not as durable as concrete, tends to settle over time, and can make maintaining the overall level of the walkway more difficult down the line. Additionally, because of providing less longevity gravel often increases repair costs in the long run due to needing frequent renewals.
Assembling the Walkway Components
Once the materials for the base of your walkway have been chosen, it is time to assemble the components of the walkway. This part of the process is a crucial step, as any mistakes or weak points made here will be visible during walkway usage and increase the likelihood of damage.
The best course of action is to plan out how the walkway will look. Will it be constructed with multiple layers? Is there an adjoining wall or support structure that needs to be considered? If you plan ahead and account for these elements, the assembly process can the user be smoother.
Finally, assembling the components also includes any features such as steps or edging. Carefully follow instructions upon installation to ensure that all safety regulations are in place and all fixtures are firmly in place.
Once you have ensured that all pieces fit together correctly and securely, you can move on to the next stage which involves adding gravel and overlaying with concrete poured in such a way that it binds the design into one solid structure.
Adding Gravel and Concrete Pour
Now that the walkway components have been assembled, it’s time to add gravel and pour concrete. This process can be labor intensive and it is important to follow the recommended steps closely.
First, a compacted gravel base should be added. It is worth considering whether to mix in stone dust for extra stability, however, this is not necessary for areas that don’t get much foot traffic. Unless the area has a large incline, four inches of gravel should suffice.
Next, a screen board should be used to ensure the area is smooth and level before the concrete pour begins. A two-worker team can assist with making sure the surface is even by pushing and pulling the screed board across the surface. The depth of the concrete should also approximately reach two or three inches at its deepest point, so carefully measure as you go along using a ruler or ruler tape.
Finally, it is now time to pour the concrete into each section of the walkway while paying attention to detail during placement, as unevenly placed blocks will detract from the aesthetics of your walkway when complete. Letting a trowel move through each segment will make sure there are no inconsistencies in the texture and prevent cracking later on.
Once all segments are evenly filled, vibrate them lightly with a plate compactor tool or similar equipment if available. Make sure not to skip this step — vibrating helps reduce air bubbles that are created during pouring and helps achieve an even distribution of concrete throughout each section Letting your finished product cure for at least three days before anything else is done will ensure strength and durability: so wait it out!
After this step of adding gravel and pouring concrete comes to a completion, it’s time to bring some greenery into play – incorporating turf and plants for visual appeal – which creates a beautiful contrast against the hardscape elements you have just installed. Concrete and grass may seem like strange bedfellows but there are substantial rewards on offer when these two materials come together harmoniously in your outdoor design work.
Installing the Turf and Plants
Once you’ve completed the previous steps in the walkway installation process, it’s time to move on to installing turf and planting any flowers or plants that will complement your design. However, there are pros and cons to this stage of the installation.
On the one hand, having professionally installed turf creates a clean and uniform look, while flowering plants can add color and vibrancy to any outdoor space. In terms of the turf, additionally, it does eliminate weeds but unfortunately, due to its synthetic nature, it can still become muddy or wet during periods of rain.
Despite this somewhat less desirable element of installing turf, there are reasons to opt for a natural lawn if properly maintained. There is certainly an environmental benefit from avoiding artificial turf – artificial turf is made from plastic materials and releases toxins that are not beneficial for our health as well as consumes energy during production.
Contact Big Easy Landscaping Today
Having a beautifully decorated walkway doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right materials, design, and landscaping company, you can easily create the perfect walkway in no time.
If you need help with installing your dream sidewalk, contact Big Easy Landscaping for excellent service and quality expertise. Our team of skilled professionals has what it takes to see your project through to completion in a timely manner. Don’t wait any longer–start turning the dream into reality. Contact us today!