What are the Best Tips for Installing a Walkway?

Dan Cavallari

Installing a walkway through a yard or up to the front porch can add aesthetics and functionality to a space, but if installed incorrectly, the walkway can lead to more problems than it is worth. The best tips for installing a walkway will vary depending on the type of walkway being installed; a brick walkway, for example, will require different steps, materials, and precautions than a flagstone walkway. A builder should be sure to research the different steps involved in installing a walkway depending on the materials, and he or she should also be sure to carefully research the available materials and the pros and cons associated with each material.

Sand can be used to fill crevices in a walkway made of bricks.
Sand can be used to fill crevices in a walkway made of bricks.

A flagstone walkway is a great choice for a garden or for a rustic look in the front yard. One of the most common mistakes people make when installing a walkway made from flagstone is choosing stones that are too narrow. The stones should be wide enough that two people can walk side by side relatively comfortably on the stone, unless the yard is exceptionally small. Stones can look deceptively large during installation and then end up being too small once the work is complete, so one should be sure to measure carefully before purchasing flagstone. The builder should also carefully inspect the flagstone before purchasing; some flagstone is better than other pallets of the material, so check for sturdy pieces without large cracks, and pieces of an appropriate size.

Brick pavers should be installed tightly together when making a walkway.
Brick pavers should be installed tightly together when making a walkway.

Any walkway the builder chooses will need to be built on a well-constructed base. Installing a walkway without a good base will lead to issues such as heaving or cracking, and a lack of an adequate base can lead to drainage issues. Before placing brick or stone, the base should be built from a combination of crushed stone or cinders as well as sand, all compacted down until it is relatively flat. If using brick pavers to build the walkway, the bricks should be placed tightly together, and the gaps should be filled by pouring sand on top of the pavers and then sweeping it into the crevices. A hose can then be used to help settle the sand.

Walkway lighting should also be considered when installing a walkway, particularly if the walkway is being installed in the front yard. Visitors who come at night will appreciate well-placed lights to ensure good footing. The lighting can be installed along the path, or it can be installed on the porch in the form of a well placed flood light. A flood light can look less than visually appealing, however, so lighting along the path is usually a better choice.

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