Pathways around your home can be functional (protecting grass, your feet, or creating a smooth surface to walk on.) Paths can be whimsical, natural, utilitarian or decorative. Here are 9 Lasting Alternatives to Concrete Walkways.
Alternatives to Concrete Walkways
Spring is around the corner and that means more time spent outside. If you’re looking to improve your landscaped pathways, you’ll want to check out these lasting alternatives to concrete walkways. Many are DIY-friendly and can be accomplished in a weekend.
Concrete is the most commonly chosen material for a front sidewalk. It is quick and simple to install. Plus, cement can last for a long time barring any damage from frost heaving and improper installation. Paths to the front door are usually straight forward and easy to navigate. (Imagine if your movers had to navigate a bumpy or uneven path into your home.) But, concrete cement isn’t the only option available to homeowners. Feel free to do something a little different from the Joneses. Here are a few of the many options for creating lasting pathways in your landscaping (not just the front entryway.)
A slightly more decorative pathway than your traditional cement sidewalk. This path has smooth pebbles that are embedded in the concrete and exposed (after hosing off) on the top layer for a durable and texturally appealing walkway. Exposed aggregate should last as long as a concrete and sometimes longer if an epoxy resin method is used.
The Europeans have many beautiful romantic cobblestone streets. But, walking on them could be a little like balancing on a tightrope. Modern advances have developed pavers that look like cobblestones but are a lot less likely to cause you to roll your ankle. Pavers are available in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and colors. There are even concrete pavers that look like bricks. Because they are manufactured, concrete pavers are uniform in size making them easy to install. Another advantage of using pavers is if damaged, a section can be removed and re-installed.
A long pathway of bricks harkens back to colonial times. Believe it or not, bricks are produced in a variety of colors and textures. If you like the old antique look, buy some tumbled bricks that have rounded corners. Even more fun than picking the style is picking a pattern. Brick patterns are almost infinite. Herringbone, running bond, basket weave, and jack on jack are just some of the patterns you can create with bricks. Similar to the concrete pavers, damage can be fixed fairly easily.
Bluestone, Cantera, Flagstone, Granite, Limestone, Marble, Porphyry, Sandstone, Slate and Travertine are all stone slabs that can be used for stone pavers. These flat slabs of rock make them ideal for wider pathways and patios. The beauty of using stone is that no two are identical because they are all-natural from the earth.
Crushed stone, decomposed granite, and a hybrid of crushed stone and polymer are inexpensive alternatives to an expansive pathway. Typically found in bridal paths, this material is a good choice for controlling dust and mud.
Honeycomb and grid-like pavers are often seen where water runoff is discouraged. Grass, moss, or small gravel can be inserted between the pavers for more color. The large holes in this path allow water to permeate back into the earth. They are very environmentally friendly and graphically pleasing to the eye.
This type of pathway is usually built over wet, soggy, or sandy expanses. Most often seen in coastal or modern architecture, this material can last for years if pressure-treated lumber or composite decking material is chosen. Real wood will require staining or sealing to keep the wood from rotting.
Bring yourself back to your childhood with a fun stepping stone path. This pathway is a fun and quirky trail to walk on. There are a multitude of materials that can be used for stepping stones. Any large stones and/or pavers can be set on the ground and then surrounded by pea gravel, mulch, grass or left natural. But don’t limit yourself to stones in this application. Hardwood tree stumps can also stand in for stepping stones. The tree stumps will deteriorate over time, but you can slow the process by sealing them with an exterior varnish and/or allow proper drainage around them.
Stamped or Stained Concrete
We’ve come full circle back to concrete. There are so many ways to jazz up a regular concrete path. Consider stamped and/or stained concrete to add some color and to fool the eye. Stamped patterns are numerous with styles that look like bricks, slate, cobblestone and even cracked earth! For more personalized options, choose any color combination to stain your concrete.
As you can see, you can create a variety of looks for the paths in your yard. Many are DIY-friendly and some may require professional installation. What were your favorites? Do you have ideas for lasting alternatives to a concrete walkway?