A concrete walkway is an inexpensive and durable addition to a home’s landscape. This project requires thorough planning, simple tools, some elbow grease and a few days to complete. But the results can be well worth the effort.
Step 1 – Plan the Walkway
Decide the position of the walkway and mark the ground with chalk dust or spray paint. Then pound the stakes in along the excavated path so that they are 2 inches above ground. Then string them together with twine between them as a guideline.
Step 2 – Dig Out the Walkway
Remove the turf and then dig down until you have reached a depth of 8 inches. Level the soil and remove any stones. Now lay a 4-inch layer of gravel. Pack the gravel down and be sure it is level.
Step 3 – Build the Concrete Forms
Use the lumber to build forms to pour the concrete into. Screw the boards into the stakes that you placed along the path earlier. If you have planned curves in your plan you may need some laminated wood that bends more easily to create the curves. Use a level to be sure that the forms are level. The stakes should be below the top of the forms.
Step 4 – Pour the Concrete
Pour the concrete into the forms. Once it is poured rake over the concrete to level it.
Step 5 – Smooth the Concrete
Take a board and run it over the concrete resting it on the forms to smooth and level the concrete. Once it is fairly level then go over it with a concrete float held at an angle to do the final smoothing.
Step 6 – Edge the Walkway
Leave the concrete to cure for a couple of hours. Then separate the forms from the concrete by using an edging trowel.
Step 7 – Score the Expansion Joints
Expansion joints should be scored into the concrete every 4 feet. Use a board to create a straight line run the trowel along it. These joints allow the concrete to expand and contract and reduce cracking.
Step 8 - Cure the Concrete
Texture the concrete by sweeping with a stiff broom leaving a light texture on the surface. A texture keeps the concrete from being too smooth and slippery. Then the concrete should be covered with plastic tarping for at least two days. Rushing this process can interfere with the setting and durability of the concrete.
Step 9 – Remove the Forms
Once the concrete is dry and cured take the covering off. Carefully remove the forms and stakes. Fill in any soil needed next to the walkway and pack it down.
You may want to consider stamping the concrete or adding coloring to make the walkway more distinctive. A carefully installed concrete walkway will last for years and provides a useful and attractive part of your landscape.