DIY Front Walk

Nancy T
by Nancy T
2 Weeks
When we bought the house (Fall 2013) the previous owner had just thrown down some pea gravel before listing the house and called it a front walkway. The walkway lead us from the driveway to the front door so we used it daily. They had added a couple pieces of slate to make walking on it a bit easier ...
... but it wasn't easier. In fact, it was downright dangerous as it moved around a lot. I just hated the way the pea gravel looked as well as the fact that it was impossible to walk on. So, I decided that I would JUST add a couple more pieces of slate to the walk until I had the money to pay for a better, more permanent, solution.
But, you know how these home improvement projects go ... I kept adding a few more pieces of slate, then a few more and then a few more after that - until I thought I might as well finish it.
The larger pieces of slate were very heavy (I suffer from back issues) so I needed a plan as my hubby is not a DIYer and I was on my own - I ended up going every morning (for about 2 weeks) to the my local home improvement store and picked out 5 -6 nice pieces of slate and then I would get the young, physically fit helper to load them into my car ...
... and once home I would wrestle them out of the back of the car and into my trusty wagon, wheel them over to the walkway and struggle until I got them safely to the ground.
At first I was just dropping them down on top of the pea gravel and moving the gravel around, pushing the slate down into it and making the stones as level as possible but they still moved around and would quickly work their way back up to the top of the gravel - it was obvious that they would never quite settle down into the pea gravel.
Now what, I knew that I did not want to have them cemented into place because it rains a lot in Seattle and the water seems to puddle in this area so I wanted the water to be able to perk down through the walk instead of sheet off it into the garden.
Onto Plan B: I consulted google and read all about gravel until I found 1/4" minus ...
... 1/4" minus gravel is crushed gravel containing pieces that are 1/4" in size or less. It is slightly less decorative than pea gravel but compacts and offers more stability as a base for pavers.
I dug out most of the pea gravel and replaced it with the 1/4" minus and also moved some of the slate pieces closer together. I think the walkway turned out really nice - certainly much nicer than it was when I started.
At the same time I was replacing the pea gravel walk - I also decided to put a small pathway through the garden because I walked through it everyday to go and get the mail - it has now been dubbed the 'mailbox walk'.
The 'Mailbox walk' was also made out of slate but I decided to just set these pieces right into the dirt because I want to plant some 'stepables' around the stones to add some green and hold them in place. Mailbox walk later that 1st summer (2014)
This spring (2015) we put another layer of 1.4" minus down over the walkway and I imagine that we will have to do that every spring but overall we are very happy with the walkway. We like the way it looks and it is so much more stable to walk on.
This summer I put another little pathway in between the front yard and the road because whenever people park out in front of the house they would cut through the garden and it drove me crazy. I used some broken concrete pieces that the previous owner had left stacked in the backyard. I loaded them in my trusty wagon and dragged them out front and laid they in the ground so it cost me nothing but some sweat (they were heavy) and a sore back.
My trusty wagon survived all the heavy lifting has been reassigned to some lighter garden duty (for now). It took several weeks to finish and quite a bit of sweat but as my Dad used to always tell me, 'it's just work'.
Thanks for looking :-)

I rated this moderate due to the heavy lifting
Nancy T
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  • Sandy Jay Sandy Jay on Aug 31, 2018

    Great job,now I know what to use besides the pea stone. I layed this a few years ago with pea stone,so I do know the amount of work that goes into it.You did an awesome job! Thanks for sharing.

  • Brenda Brenda on Jan 17, 2022

    Wonderful job. I love it. Thanks for sharing