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Very simple wooden walkway designs may come in the form of timbers laid out evenly spaced with boards nailed to the top of them. Other wooden walkway designs may be more elaborate or use more expensive and attractive woods such as cedar. If the homeowner is not handy and does not want to make the wooden walkway himself, he can go to a lumber yard or hardware store and purchase prefabricated wooden walkways that can be placed in a garden or yard without any assembly. Larger areas or areas that contain bodies of water may require walkways which feature handrails and steps to accommodate obstacles.
Cedar or pressure-treated lumber are the best choices of material for a wooden walkway because these materials are resistant to water damage such as mold, mildew, and rot. They are also more resistant to bug infestations that can weaken a structure and ultimately cause it to fail. The hardware for such structures, such as nails or brackets, should also be weather-resistant; stainless steel is a good choice because it is a strong material that will resist rusting and wear from the weather.
Smaller, less elaborate wooden walkway designs may be made without hardware at all. Wooden panels or slats can be lain through a garden or other small space to provide a walking surface, though this design is hardly the most reliable or sturdy. A framed walkway makes a more sturdy surface; this type of walkway is built on top of parallel beams with slats spaced closely together across the two parallel beams. If the wood itself is placed directly on the ground, it runs the risk of rotting as a result of contact with ground moisture, so many builders choose to pour concrete footings on which the walkway can rest. Some more elaborate walkway designs may even utilize posts secured in concrete footings for added stability. This is particularly useful for walkways that will span a gap or waterway.
Walkways can be curved or straight, and they can have added features such as steps, benches, or handrails. Narrower wooden walkway designs may benefit from hand rails for stability, and longer walkways through wilderness, for example, can feature benches so people can stop, rest, and enjoy the scenery. Steps may be necessary if the wooden walkway meanders through difficult terrain. It may be easier to build the walkway over a natural obstacle rather than around it, so steps may be necessary in this case.
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