Build a New Walkway
Is your lawn taking a beating from lots of back and forth traffic in your garden? If you thought your only option was a "Keep off the Grass" sign, we've got good news. You can protect your grass – and add a touch of beauty and charm – by building an inexpensive concrete walkway that looks just like brick or cobblestone.
Luckily, you don't have to be a mason or even an experienced do-it-yourselfer to get great concrete results - all it takes are 2' x 2' reusable plastic Quikrete® Walk Makers® molds and the right building materials…plus the desire to forge a new path. Walk right into your local True Value store to stock up on everything you need, then follow our step-by-step guide to cement the deal.
Step 1: Where It's At - Locating Your New Walk
First things first - where do you want your new walkway to go? Pick a likely spot, then get a good idea of how it will look by using visual aids - stakes and string for a straight path, or several garden hoses or rope lengths for one that's curved. Once you've decided on a layout, remove any sod within its boundaries, along with about an inch of soil (you'll use both to fill in the gaps around the walk when you're all done, see Step 9, you'll achieve more professional results).
- It's important to keep displaced sod and soil healthy, so keep it freshly watered and store in a cool place.
Step 2: Get into Position - Place Your Mold
Place the plastic Quikrete® Walk Maker® mold next to any fixed starting point - good choices include the edge of your patio or the entrance of your house. Once the mold is in place, use a 2-foot spirit level to make sure it's level from side to side and from end to end.
- Quikrete® Walk Maker® patterns available at True Value are, Brick (item #591373) and Country Stone (item #591357).
- For grade-A grading of your chosen site, either follow the existing grade or use your level to create one you like better.
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Step 3: Make Like a Concrete Mixer
But don't stop there - unleash your inner artisan by adding color and surface texture to your mix. Here's how:
- It's easy to add color to any Quikrete® Walk Maker® project - that's what Quikrete's® Liquid Cement Color is for. Pick a hue that moves you, and figure on ten ounces of liquid color for every two 60 or 80 lb. bags of concrete mix.
- To get downright colorful combine ten ounces of color with 1-1/4 gallons of clean water for every 10 ounces of color. If you're using a mechanical mixer, add both liquids to the mixer and then add the concrete mix. If you're mixing by hand in a tub or wheelbarrow, combine the color and water first, then add the mixture to the concrete mix.
- Whenever you're working with cement powder, always wear a dust mask. Freshly-mixed cement can cause severe burns, so always wear goggles, rubber boots and rubber gloves and avoid contact with your skin and eyes. If you get any wet cement on your skin (either through direct contact or wet clothing), wash the area well with fresh water and remove your soaked clothing immediately. Always keep all of your materials and equipment away from children and pets.
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Step 4: Fill 'Er Up - Fill the Form
Shovel the concrete onto the form and spread it to fill each cavity. The concrete should be level with the top of the mold.
- Wet the mold with water before adding concrete - it will help prevent a sticky situation when it's time to remove it.
Step 5: Get Even - Even the Surface
With a mason's float (or even a block of wood), scrape off excess concrete and smooth the surface - a swirling motion works best. This is more than just a cosmetic procedure - it also floats any fine particles to the surface, creating a denser, more durable top layer.
Step 6: Mold Removal
Remove the form after about five or ten minutes. Before you get ready for the next section, take a moment to admire your handiwork - you've just created the illusion of real brick or stones. Enhance the visual hocus-pocus by touching up and detailing the edges with a mason's trowel.
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Step 7: Second Verse, Same as the First - Reposition the Form
Ready to do it again? Place the form adjacent to the concrete you just completed, and repeat Steps 4, 5, and 6. Use a trowel to blend and eliminate cut lines between each section.
- Need to come around a curve or turn at an angle? Just butt the outside corner of the mold to the walkway you've already created and bend it to align with the curve. The mold will overlap the existing concrete along its inside curve.
- To create a curved edge, use a trowel to slice through the concrete along the desired line and push the extra concrete off to the side. Repeat the process until you complete the whole walkway.
- Feeling extra creative? Create a variation in your walkway pattern by rotating the mold a quarter turn each time you reposition it.
Step 8: Get Cured - Cure or Seal the Concrete
For long-lasting results, allow time for the concrete to cure, or harden. Since concrete loves water, keep your new walkway moist by continuously misting it with water and keeping it covered with plastic sheeting or a tarpaulin for two or three days to retard evaporation. In a rush? Just apply a chemical curing and sealing agent, such as Quikrete® Acrylic Concrete Cure & Sealer.
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Step 9: Get Your Fill - Fill in the Walk
After the concrete is completely cured, it's time to fill in the details by backfilling and replanting the excavated area around the walk with the soil and sod you removed. Then, depending on the look you want to achieve, you can either fill the joints between the ''stones'' or ''bricks'' with soil, sand or dry mortar mix (just use a broom to whisk it across the surface) or grout them with a packaged sand or mortar mix
- If you love the look of grout - but not the extra work involved to do it - try this time-saving shortcut: instead of troweling a grout-water mixture into the joints, simply brush dry mix into the joints and mist the surface with water to dampen.
- Remember the Quikrete® Liquid Cement Color you used to tint your concrete? You can also use it to dye your grout the same or a contrasting color.
For more project ideas, visit the Project Library >