Way back, I mean waaaaayyy back I borrowed a concrete walkway template from a friend of mine. He had put a walkway in the front of his house using it and I had grandiose plans of doing something similar with mine. I’ve had this template for about 7 years and we’ve since moved into a new house and I finally decided to make use of this template.
The template has a cobblestone pattern similar to the one you see here to the right. I could have taken my own picture, but since I took some advice and techniques from New York Renovator, I figured I’d give them a shout out. I won’t be describing all of the steps so it’s worth a visit over there anyhow.
I’m fairly confident working with wood, but the limits of my experience with concrete are simply using it to set fence posts in place. Creating something that would be exposed as a finished project caused me just a little stress. But hey… where’s the fun in running away from stress?
So, I started. Earlier in the summer I had cleared the walkway, covered it with landscaping fabric and then topped it off with 0-3/4 crushed stone. Once the base is nice and firm after several weeks of procrastination, it was ready for the concrete. So, I took the form and started. I used Quikrete topping mix. It uses sand as the aggregate instead of rock, and it is intended for topping other surfaces to a thickness of about 2 inches. I mixed a bag of concrete, filled form, and leveled it off. I left the form in place as I mixed the next bag of concrete. Then I removed the form, gave it a 90 degree turn and placed it directly next to the previously formed concrete.
Repeat until walkway is completely concretified.
You will likely come to a point where the length of the walkway doesn’t evenly match the end of the template. Simple… just push the template down into the previously set concrete. It should still be soft enough to push the form into and rework the concrete a little to make it look pretty.
Once dried, this looked kinda nice, but I wasn’t quite satisfied. We toyed with the idea of allowing grass to grow up in between each cobblestone, but we, and by “we” I mean “my wife”, didn’t like that look. Then we considered planting creeping thyme in there. That seemed like a lot of effort and expense, and we were a little worried it my creep into the lawn.
So… I stole an idea from the New York Renovator site that I mentioned above. But first I threw in one of my own ideas. I decided to stain the concrete… yes, stain, not paint. I chose a fairly dark, bluish grey. I wanted the concrete to look a little bit pieces of shale or slate. I wasn’t sure how this would work out but… what the heck, right? If it doesn’t work, all I have to do is pull it all up.
Once that was all done, it still looked pretty good, but I still wanted to use the idea I stole. Here it is… fill the gaps between the cobbles with dry concrete… and then drizzle it lightly with water until it is completely wet. To do this, I scooped it into the cracks patiently for about half the walkway and then I just dumped the rest of the bag on and swept it into the cracks, following it up with a carefully light sweep across the top of the rocks to remove the concrete dust from the top before I sprayed water on it all.
Let dry and admire the finished product! I find that the light dust of concrete I didn’t remove made the grey stained cobbles look more realistic.
What do you think?