Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our Front Steps and Walkway


I am finally getting around to posting on our front walkway and stairs. I had to dig deep in the archives to find some of the before pictures and I'm almost too tired to even write about it after seeing all the work we had to do. 

The walkway and stairs are made of concrete pavers. They come in irregular sizes (length wise) to simulate old stones. We used these same pavers on our outdoor dining patio and stairs


This is the view of the valley below with Mt. Adams in the background.  


The view from the porch. 


Putting in the hardscape was definitely an huge undertaking. I personally had no idea that there was so much involved in creating features as simple as walkways. 


We started with this, a few concrete stones and some old wood beams. This was our fancy front steps and walkway for about a year after we renovated the house (this photo was taken in 2009). 


After much deliberation, and some math on Mike's part, we decided to create the stairs with concrete and then adhere pavers over the concrete to create a stone look. 


Mike started building the stairs by creating a form for the concrete. This was a lot of work as he had to dig down fairly deep into clay soil so that the stairs had a firm concrete base. 


After the concrete was poured and cured, Mike adhered the pavers to create the look of stone steps. 

As we completed the stairs, it was time to build the walkway. 

This involved a lot more digging into our clay soil which is like concrete when it is dry, and softens a couple inches at a time with lots of water applied to it. So this was a fair amount of hard work. I know because I attempted to help out, but gave up when I couldn't even get the shovel two inches into the ground. 


I can assure you that Mike is always thrilled when I run to get my camera. He's especially thrilled when I ask him to stop working and smile! This is a request he kindly ignores. 


The walkway took some fancy figuring to get right. The ground slopes downward slightly at a few pitches and due to varying elevations, there were water drainage issues to consider. 


We rented this machine a couple of times in order to get the gravel that is placed over the soil compacted and level for the pavers. 


Here is the stabilization cloth that goes over the gravel. By the way, this was Mike's first time putting in a walkway so this is all information he learned from books and online resources. 

The picket fence was also an ongoing project during that same summer. As you can see, Mike left a section of the fence open until we finished the walkway so that he could access the area more easily. 


So much math! Here Mike is using a guide to set the edge pieces which help hold the pavers in place when you walk on them over the years. Next up was a layer of sand, over which the pavers were placed. More sand swept over the top filled the cracks between the pavers. The last step was to run the compactor back over the walk to lock everything in place. And voila!


This is what Mike looks like when he's thinking about some of the details.

Details, details...

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