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I need suggestions for inexpensive walk-way for garden

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

What would all of you recommend for a small walk way that didn't break the bank?

I am redoing our humble little "front" yard. It's only about 14 x 30 and is adjacent to our sidewalk out to the main part of the fenced in yard. Currently I have a U-shaped walk planned. I had planned on just mulching it ALL, flower bed and "walk". I explained to my husband I intended to mulch the walk in the front, and gravel the big walk.

He asked if I had seen the interlocking rubber mat that was on display at the hardware store. They "loosely" resemble cobblestones in dark brick red. They are NOT cheap. My husband has a prosthetic leg and uneven surfaces are very dangerous for him. I love the look of flagstone but even if we could afford it (we can't!!) I'm not sure it is level enough.

Soooooo whatta think? Any suggestions for me? He does not normally spend ANY time in the yard/garden, its not his thing. If I had a comfortable chair and a safe walk, MAYBE he'd come out occassionally. ~ Thanks,

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

My husband built me a long path with paving stones on sand, nearly big enough for the wheelchair. Well, it IS big enough, but I can't veer off the path to pick flowers or anything. But our yard is hilly and the path is windy (on purpose). Still, we found that the pavers, though not beautiful, are very affordable and very level (or would have been, if we'd wanted them to be. My husband says if you REALLY need it to be level, use poured concrete.

Any chance DH would ever use a wheelchair? Not to be predicting horrible things for anyone's future, but "Universal Design" would say not to use gravel because that's NOT wheelchair friendly. And I can personally vouch for having been trapped in more nurseries' gravel/mulch pathways than I care to mention.

The pavers we used were 10" by 20" and are pretty standard. We laid them on top of sand, or rather, DH did. We call it "R. R. Carrie" - LOL.

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

I'm thinking doing the front walk in cement. I doubt we could EVER afford the cement for the longer walk in the fenced yard. IF I use gravel in the longer walk, we could pour cement right over it later though if we had to.

We own a SMALL cement mixer so I think we could pour it as we could afford it, even if it was just a few bags at a time.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yerp, you're probably right about pouring the cement over gravel. I know the stones we lay in sand (just like the instructions said) shifted a little and the sand came out from under them. Your solution makes a lot of sense. Remember to make it W-I-D-E enough! If he ever needs to use a cane, or crutches, that increases the width required.

Good luck!


Syracuse, NY

What about decking like a boardwalk?

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Well.... we've moved since then and have a whole new set of gardening challenges.

I ended up making a rock border and puting gravel between the borders. I made it about 4 feet wide and winding...

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

How's your new place, Pat?

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

THIS year I am not doing much outside other trying to keep the grass alive and gradually widen the flower beds. There was one whole side of the back yard that is about 3 feet wide and NOTHING in it. Obviously they took out whatever had been there. I hope NEXT year to get some more work done, I come home from work and I'm too tired this year and have too much to do INSIDE. I'd like to eliminate the front yard and put in a U-drive way and just flower beds. I HATE to mow!! (and can't afford to hire it done)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Sounds like a plan! My DH mows the front (the neighbors will see) but hardly ever the back! The brush is as high as an elephant's eye and the grassy spot in the middle is getting smaller and smaller. :( I'm not much of one for grass either but not having grass should be a choice, like having kids, not because you chose not to mow. You know? There should be *something* there, another garden, a raised bed, a patio, *something*, not just wasted space!

(Debra) Garland, TX


Carrie is the best for ideas. :-) We both sure know what that "too tired to do anything beyond essentials" feels like. If you do choose concrete, it might not be that difficult. You would want to pour it in sections anyway, I think. So you could do a bit at a time. And stamping, then staining concrete can be gorgeous. It's easy and much less expensive than stone. Don't know how asphalt does in your zone, but that might work as an alternative to concrete.

Until you can put in the U-driveway (love them, too), you could try checking with local churches, schools, and community groups. There may well be volunteer projects or "extra credit" programs and such that would get you someone to mow at little or no cost. You might have to mentor a student or contribute cakes/clothes/crafts to a fund raiser in exchange. Still cheaper than paying a regular mowing service. :-)


(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

For now we need to focus on just doing what we can that is VERY inexpensive. Trying to get out from under the cost of surgeries, moving and having 2 mortages STILL. Realtor says he thinks he'll have an offer SOON. I'm not betting on anything. Less disappointment that way.

We had wasps/hornets/ SOMETHING stinging take up residency in our retaining wall that borders the walk to the house. NEXT year I will likely find a way to remove the wall or cement behind it or something. I do NOT intend to give any easy homes to those nasty critters again next year!! I'm going to FILL all the bird houses that they inhabited with something so they can't access those either. You know that material that comes in a spray can called "STUFF" that expands? That is how I intend to render my birdhouse collection/decoration uninhabitable by those nasties. Where the houses are no bird would ever occupy.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Ugh, 2 mortgages! We had yellow jackets living in the bottom of a non-treasured pot with a treasured pony-tail palm living in it; stung my treasured DH over 100 times one day! That was scary. Left it alone. Put a green plastic garbage bag over it at recommended time of day when YJ are sleepy and not on alert. Then, I think, sprayed inside with YJ killer spray and closed it up. Left it on long enough to kill the wasps but not the plant; quickly re-potted treasured plant. Happy ending.

Psych, I hate to think of you destroying your birdhouse collection! Maybe someday your great-god-daughter will take up birdhouse collecting! Can you just wrap them in plastic for a while (the nasties need oxygen)?

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Maybe.... most of these COULD be taken apart at a later day if I wanted to salvage them later. However it happens, I am going to get rid of the critters!!

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