Our front walkway was just recycled concrete pieces and dirt. I decided I wanted a mosaic walkway and with river rocks, broken pots and small tiles I created a fun colorful path to our front steps. This was an easy project although it did take me a couple of weeks to complete due to age and health issues. A local landscaper quoted $2500 to do this job. I did it for under $100.
This was how the walkway looked. Not only was it dangerous to walk on due to the gaps between the recycled concrete, but it was ugly as well.
This was where I started my mosaic. I first edged the walkway with bender board to hold the shape of the walkway. I removed these later when I was all finished. Then I started placing my rocks between the concrete pieces. I worked in small sections and when I was finished with an area I poured the dry mortar over the rocks. I made sure it was as level as could be and then per the instructions on the mortar bag, I gently watered down the area. The mortar hardened into cement.
This is the completed walkway. Once I was finished placing all the stones between the concrete pieces I then cleaned the concrete pieces and painted each one with a mixture of different colored paints that I had leftover from other projects. My goal was to make them look like sandstone. I also painted several of the river rocks with different colors. Once it was all dry I sealed the entire walkway using Thompson's multi-surface water proof sealer.
Here's how it looks all finished. I used more rocks to create a border on each side of the path to give it a more finished look and to keep the dirt from spilling over the path. I did this almost a year ago and it has stood up to 110 degree F heat and 30 degree F cold. The only thing I've noticed is a slight crack between one of the concrete pieces and mortared area but it's hardly noticeable. As for the brand of mortar I used, I went to Ace Hardware and told them what I was doing and bought what they suggested.
If you're going to do this, you should consult your local hardware store and buy whatever is suggested for your area and climate and maybe put a second coat of sealer on it if you have really cold snowy winters. I only put one coat as I live in southern California. I've been asked why I didn't just use cement between the concrete pieces instead of the dry mortar. The reason is because I was doing this alone and couldn't work with wet cement as it would have been too heavy for me.
* A reader on here suggested to use concrete sand and just water it down when finished. If you want to try that I would suggest talking it over with someone from your local hardware store. If you have anyone who has the strength to mix and pour concrete that's probably the best way to go.
Just so you know, I'm a 66 year old woman with a fused spine so if I can do this anyone can! PS- I spent a lot of time in the jet tub while doing this project. For 2 weeks my old body was screaming at me! lol
UPDATE: We have since moved from this home. The walkway was a hit and the woman who bought the home was a gardener and she said the walkway was the thing that really caught her attention. The walkway was over a year old when we put the house up for sale and it looked just as good then as when I finished it.
The paint I used to get the sandstone look was outdoor acrylic paint and the colors were light peach, brown, beige and white. All of the paint was left over from other outside projects. I used a large sponge and rags to apply and blend the paint.
Resources for this project:
Gail bixler on Jun 18, 2020
I love this. It's so beautiful! Nice colors and you were so creative with the cement and river stones. (I can relate with the hurting body. I'm almost 60 as well and...ouch. I did my own mosaic project and had to really pace myself so it took longer than it should have. BUT...it was worth it!) :D