DIY Concrete “Paver” Walkway

 

John and I recently had our X shaped gravel walkway taken out.  We installed a budget friendly DIY concrete walkway with the Quikrete Walk Maker and couldn’t be happier with the results:

Concrete Paver Walkway

I came to really hate that gravel.  If I wanted to run outside really quickly to get something out of the car, I’d avoid the gravel all together and walk in the grass.   Shoes are for excursions greater than 5 minutes in my opinion. When we bought the home, we thought it would be simple to dig out the gravel.  Once we got to it, we found out that there was a concrete sidewalk under the gravel that was in terrible shape.  You can see the blasted sidewalk and the gravel path here:

Before

I came across this funny little clip of the kids digging out the gravel. Click the link for a good chuckle.

Kids digging out walkway

The ornamental grasses are out and you can see the glory of the 70s here.

A paving company dug out the rock, sidewalks, and part of our driveway out.  There was a ton of debris!  John told me he could do this by himself in one day. He’s an optimist.  What a guy.

Walkway Demo

While this grading/excavating was underway, we were changing out our shutters and adding the window boxes. Don’t they make a huge difference?!

Walkway Demo

Already so much better! Between the gravel and the dirt, I’ll take the dirt any day! The workers sent some strange looks my way as I giddily walked up and down the dirt path.  I resisted the urge to lay down and make dirt angels in the center of the “X.”

Walkway Demo

Two dump trucks worth of dirt later… a lot of our neighbors walked by at this point to figure out what the heck we were doing.  The best way to meet all of your neighbors is to tear out your entire front yard and turn it into the Sahara. You can see the giant homes being built in the field next to us.  Hopefully we don’t scare away the potential buyers.  We have been known to hug the chain link fence and scream, “They have kids!!!” if a family comes through to look at the first house that went in.

Walkway Fill Dirt

Walkway Fill Dirt

After our excitement over dirt began to subside, we realized we needed something to walk on.  We decided on paver stones and began making a list of materials to pick up at Home Depot and Lowes.  We were getting all excited again until we realized that this project was far more expensive than we anticipated, a little over $1,000.  We said “Good bye plan A,” and moved onto Plan B, which was to google a cheaper option.  Plan B evolved into installing a DIY concrete paver walkway with the Quikrete Walk Maker.  We ordered it from Amazon here.Concrete Mold

We decided on Plan B with the Quikrete Walk Maker for a number of reasons:

  1. Concrete is super cheap.
  2. We wouldn’t have to worry about labor costs.
  3. We didn’t need to purchase gravel/sand mix to level since concrete adheres and bonds to its surface.
  4. Less grading was required, since the mold could be shimmed.
  5. We could do sections at different times, since the mold is a 2×2 ft square.

Concrete:

 Concrete

To use the concrete mold, you rake the ground a little bit to level and create a good bonding surface.  We eventually added some landscaping fabric underneath to prevent weeds from creeping up.  Then, you lay the mold on the ground, mix your concrete and pour it in.  We mixed ours with a shovel in a wheelbarrow.  I found adding a bit of extra water allowed for a smoother finish with the masonry trowel.  We used 60 lb bags of concrete because they were on sale but this particular mold does require 80 lb of concrete per mold.   Emma was helping out when we experimented with the first one.  There’s our trusty living room lamp!

 

Concrete Mold Walkway

John added a bit of concrete dye in each mold so they would be a little bit more grey instead of white.  The newer sections stay dark for about a day and then start to lighten like the other sections.

Concrete Paver Walkway

We worked a lot at night after the kids went to bed.  John and I got into a good routine.  He would mix the concrete in the wheelbarrow while I used the trowel to smooth the surface.  While it dried, we drank wine.  That part was an essential step in the process.  I’d let the mold sit for 5-6 minutes before pulling the mold.  Having two people really made the job much easier.

Concrete Paver Walkway

Every day, we would add another 6-8 sections.

Concrete Paver Walkway

Concrete Paver Walkway

The kids put the leftover concrete to good use.  With some tiles, buttons, and shells they made me beautiful stepping stones.

Concrete Mold

Then one night, I randomly painted our front door an aqua color.  I had the paint color matched to Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue.
Concrete Paver Walkway - Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue Door

 

As we got closer to finishing, we stamped a little bit of love into the walkway.  This is my favorite.  Whenever Olivia walks past the handprints, she stops to put her hand in her handprint.

 

Concrete Mold Walkway

After all the concrete was dry, we added polymeric sand to fill in the cracks. Polymeric sand bonds and hardens after you wet it and is the same material that you use to fill in between actual paver stones.We used Scotts EZ Seed to fill in around our new walkway and stood back to take it in.  No more gravel!

Exterior (After)
Here is a closer look at the walkway.  We get tons of compliments on it and a lot of people can’t tell it’s concrete unless we tell them! The handprints give them a clue.  The materials cost about $250. Had we not added the dye, it would have been even cheaper! So worth our concrete-mixing blistered hands!

Concrete Paver Walkway
The quikrete walk maker is the way to go for a budget friendly DIY walkway. www.housaholics.com

 

 

 

 

My name is Amanda and I love to write about my home and family. It’s a little chaotic here sometimes but it’s a beautiful kind of chaos, the kind where sticky little children giggle and scream and make fairy trails with glitter in the living room. I’m an RN, mother of three amazing girls, and the wife of the most hard working and loving husband, John. Follow the trail of glitter and sawdust and you might find us there.

5 comments

  1. Nice job. I’m planning on doing something similar next spring — though not as long as yours!

    It looks like you can fairly easily get half a mold. One of the two ways you can divide the mold half, you’re cutting through three “stones”, but the other way, you only need to divide a single small stone. Easily done, I imagine, with a trowel while the concrete is still soft. I have to imagine, as I’ve never worked with concrete before. 😉

    With a 4′ twin-row path, you could do a half-mold to start one of the sides, so the sides would be half a mold out-of-sync, further disguising the 2’x2′ grid pattern.

    Are the stones actually separate? One hint I read with the Country Stone pattern, which does make fully separate stones, is to use a different amount of dye for each mold, and then once hard, mix and match the stones between sections, so the stones have a more natural random colour, and aren’t so uniform.

    I look forward to seeing how they weather the winter.

    Cheers.

    1. Yes, you can do half of a mold to change the width/size and create more variation. The mold is not fully separated stones however. The “dividers” within the mold are not as deep as the exterior 2×2, so the “stones” are not fully separated. The 2.2 is technically one whole slab of concrete. Pouring half of the mold is totally possible- but can be tricky to keep the concrete in that one part, since the bottom half of the mold is uniform as one piece. I LOVED the look of dying the separate stones. We decided against it for the sake of time and ease of mixing with the concrete/mold ratio. I’d love to see your project when your finished- please post one here for us! Best of luck!! Thank you for checking us out.

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