There’s just nothing like a pleasant walk in the garden, is there? To create a fantastic professional experience, consider installing a beautiful concrete walkway, using a precast mold to simulate the appearance of bricks, cobblestones, or natural rocks.
Tools and Supplies
To create this walkway, you will need these supplies: walkway mold, concrete mix, concrete color (if desired), and concrete sealer. You will also need, but may already have: wheelbarrow, trowel, bucket, shovel, protective equipment (mask, goggles, boots, gloves), sand, wooden stakes, plastic sheeting, and a garden hose.
This project can be accomplished by one person working alone, and all but the largest walkways can be completed in a single day (not including curing and sealing of course).
Preparing the Area
Lay out the perimeter of your walkway and mark it with stakes. Remove one inch of sod from the area for a professional finish. Save the sod and use to fill in gaps when the concrete has cured. Just set it aside in a cool place and keep it moist.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions to mix concrete, adding color if desired. You will find it easiest to mix the concrete in a wheelbarrow, so you can easily move it along with you as you lay the path.
Wet the mold with water before beginning. This will help ensure that the mold releases from the concrete easily.
Laying the Walkway
Starting in one corner of the walkway, set the mold carefully in place. With a bucket or trowel, fill each cavity of the mold with concrete, leveling it with the top of the mold. Smooth the surface with the trowel.
Wait 5 to 10 minutes (follow the manufacturer’s suggestion) and lift the mold carefully. Rinse any remaining concrete from the mold. Butt the mold up against the first section and continue building your walkway. If you want a more varied and random-looking pattern, try rotating the mold one-quarter turn each time.
Creating a curved walkway is easy! Rotate the mold to align with desired curve, overlapping the existing concrete on the inside of the curve, and matching up the outside corners. Press the mold into the soft concrete, and fill the mold cavities. When removing the mold, blend the combined castings to eliminate the cut lines.
Repeat steps above until your walkway is all cast. If you want to decorate your walkway with handprints or inscriptions, now is the time.
Finishing the Project
When the entire walkway is cast and set, sprinkle sand or dry mortar mix over the top. Use a broom to brush it carefully into the joints, and mist it all lightly with a garden hose. Cover the precast concrete with six-mil plastic sheeting for 2 or 3 days, to prevent too-rapid drying and cracking.
After the precast concrete has cured, protect the finish with concrete sealer. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to apply. This will provide a tough water-resistant finish that can withstand anything that nature throws at it.
If desired, you can fill in the gaps between each “stone” with your previously-removed sod for a professional look.
Nothing completes the look of a well-maintained garden better than a polished walkway. With only a few hours of work, you can transform your backyard into a natural haven.