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Adding a stone walkway: Part I – the front landing

May 17, 2010

Chers amis,

Let the walkway adventures begin!

In case you are just joining us 🙂 from Kimba’s DIY day at A Soft Place to Land or  Metamorphosis Monday from Between Naps on the Porch, we are in the middle of a major house remodel on a modest (very) budget surrounded by the requisite mud and chaos.  Our walkway woes began back in early March when we had our drivew ay re-graveled, a sink hole filled in, and our front hollies and cracked concrete sidewalk removed. Here is a picture of the walkway demolition. If it looked bad before the excavator showed up, it looked even worse afterward! Doesn’t that gash scream,”FIX ME!” But we had a few projects to complete first like having the house painted and  building new shutters.

Finally it was time to work on laying a new walkway. While I mused and researched our options, DH took ACTION! He ordered 2 tons of stone for a dry set flagstone walkway from the driveway to the front porch landing.  After sizing up the project we realized that the concrete landing was just too ugly to go with the walkway.  The concrete was pitted and uneven and had settled over the last 30 years so much that you could see the original caulk line on the brick. Hmm.

We decided to strip off the old caulk and mortar set thin flagstone OVER the concrete pad and then bring the walkway level with the new stone pad.  Bright and early Saturday morning DH and I started laying out the pieces of stone, trying to cover the whole surface.

This was not as easy as we would have liked as it is difficult to find enough straight edges and the stones were of varying thicknesses, but DH did  great job putting together this “puzzle without a picture.”  He had to do considerable scoring and chipping the stones into shape, but in the end, the whole surface was covered.

The next step was carefully removing the puzzle pieces and placing them in order close by and mixing up the mortar – a LOT of mortar.  This required yet another trip to the Depot.They know us so well by now.  I printed out a copy of our basic design as a “map” of which piece goes where.  I HIGHLY recommend doing this. I thought we could do it from memory.  Nope.  I had to keep taking of my mortar encrusted gloves, opening my camera, and zooming in on the area in question.  Time consuming and bad for the camera!  The map worked out much better.

Another suggestion, start by laying a THICK side piece of stone first as you will be trying to keep it level stone to stone while adding a slight slope for drainage. We started in the back left corner with a thin piece of stone and had to rip out the whole back row to accommodate a thicker piece.  This was our first foray into mortar so it was not as smooth as we hoped, but it looks SO much better than the original pad. You can see that once you add the mortar your spacing changes so you have to make adjustments here and there. Pas de probleme! (Pardon the picture, you can see the paper protecting the steps and brick, not so pretty!)

Now we have to wait three days for the mortar to cure.  Then we will fill in the spaces between the stones with more mortar, stay off it for another three days, and voila!  It will be finis.  In the mean time we will be doing the excavation for the 30′ x 4′ dry set walkway.  Stay tuned for Part II- laying the ground work.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2010 1:14 pm

    Hey that looks very nice! Lots of hard work though huh? Good job! Thanks for sharing! We’re taking out brick edging on just one side of the house and that is a pain! I like your look though!

  2. May 18, 2010 1:02 pm

    Oh what a great DIY project. You are one clever and crafty girl.

    I just finished a project that took 23 years to complete.
    Come take a peek.

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