Landscaping can sometimes seem like a costly overwhelming project. It doesn’t have to be, you can change the look of the front of your home with this easy Do It Yourself faux stone walkway that takes less than half a day. If you’ve been wondering how to make a walkway cheap you’ll appreciate this inexpensive stepping stone path idea to revamp the walkway to your front door under $40!
When we first ventured on this project, we were living about two-hours driving distance from any building supply store. We looked at a number of inexpensive walkways and paths to get some ideas. Initially, we thought about cutting a nearby downed tree into “stepping stones” and sealing them, then adding in mulch around them.
While that may have worked well for our garden area, we really needed something sturdy that could handle the traffic of our boys running in and out with their friends and dogs. Not only that, but we needed an inexpensive walkway that for snowy climates that could withstand frost heaves with minimal damage or moving.
How to build a faux stone walkway
Supply Items Needed for the Walkway:
- Rock Form– these can be found at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards etc – we bought the Quikrete one pictured for $9 at Lowes.
- 60# bag of Concrete (not Cement!) You’ll need approx. 1 bag per “Square”
- Water or garden hose
- Bucket or Wheelbarrow
- Trowel or Block of Wood
- Pea Pebbles or Sand or gravel
Step 1: Leveling
Level the area that you would like to create a walkway on. This can be done by digging down into the existing soil, or by adding a filler such as gravel. In this case, we wanted the walkway to appear more rustic and chose Not to level the area at all.
Step#2: Mixing the Concrete
Mix your Concrete according to the directions. We mixed about 3 bags at a time to make it easier to handle.
Step #3: Place the Form
Lay your form down where you want to begin your walkway, we started close to our stairs to be sure it fits correctly. The fill your form with the concrete.
Step #4: Smooth
Using a trowel or smooth Block of wood, fill out and smooth over the form, making sure that it is completely filled and smooth. Let sit a couple of minutes.
Step #5: Releasing the Form
Gently tap the edges of your form and carefully lift it off your new “slab”.
Step #6: Removing the form
Gently tap the edges of your form and carefully lift it off your new “slab”. To give the pattern a random look, rotate the mold 90° Each time you line it up with the previous “square”.
Repeat until the walkway is of the desired width and length.
Once Your walkway is completed, Dampcure the entire path for five to seven days to dry completely, depending on the weather in your area.
Once the walkway is dry, fill in the “cracks” between the stones with tiny pebbles, sand or gravel, etc.
In this case, we decided to use pebbles, available at Home Depot for $2.45 a bag. Simply dump the bag on and sweep the pebbles into the cracks.
(current prices as of today’s date April 2006)
Concrete $1.89 per bag
Pebbles $ 2.45
Total Hours for Project: 3 hours
Total Cost of our new fancy Walkway: $36.00
Additional Tips for building a Faux Stone Walkway
– if you have leftover concrete, consider making your own stepping stones for the garden! Simple pour the remaining concrete into a disposable 8″ cake pan, add some smooth pressed stones into a design, or “carve a design” with a pointed pencil. Once it’s dry, you can Paint your design.
Dragonflies, Froggies, Flowers, children’s handprints all work quite well.
Be sure to coat your children’s hands liberally with hand cream prior to pressing the stones and then wash immediately with warm soapy water. Concrete does a number on skin.
What if you want a Curved Faux Stone Walkway?
Here are directions for creating a curved path.
What if you want a Glow in the Dark Walkway?
Well, this can be done, it doesn’t last a long time, about 1 season. Ensure that the walkway has cured before you begin.
First, you’ll need to apply a base coat primer of white to your stones as the glow won’t really be bright without it. Then apply an exterior spray on glow paint to each stone (or every other if you’d prefer!). Since the stones will likely be walked on, it is recommended that you protect the coating by applying a thin coat of Ultra Cover 2X Gloss Clear.
What if you want Colored Stones?
For every two 60-80 pound bags of (dry) concrete mix, combine one 10oz bottle of liquid cement color of your choice into 5 quarts of clean water. Then mix the colored liquid into the concrete until thoroughly blended. If you need to add more water to get the correct consistency, that’s fine too.
Well, when we created this project over 10 years ago, it only cost us $36.
Here’s an updated price expectation for March of 2017:
A 60# bag of concrete runs $3.45 – again, you’ll need approximately 1 bag per square. (we used 13 bags or 780lbs for the path pictured) or, if you’d prefer to buy the larger 80lb bag for $4. you would need 10 bags. (Well, technically you’d need 9.75 bags!) So $40 even. (you’d save about $5 purchasing the bigger bag).
Pebbles (aka Pea Gravel) is $3.58 a bag
If you’re looking for a slightly more elegant look, here’s how we made our own Faux slate textured walkway.