Sunday, September 29, 2013

From Bark to Bricks

When we first moved into our house, the pathway from the driveway to the shed looked like this:

Although it looked very nice at that point, I could see potential problems with this particular type of path. First, little boys love to dig! Second, bark must be replaced every year.

One year later my fears were realized. All the bark had been dug out, buried, or piled up by A & B. They love 'working in the yard with Dad' though, so we just turned it into a new project (one that I'd been planning for since we first moved in)!

After removing all the remaining bark and border blocks, I borrowed my neighbors tiller and dug out a 4' wide, 6" deep trough. Thanks Jackie!

I had a wheel barrow, but Austin had a DUMP TRUCK!

After laying landscaping fabric along the path, we filled in a 3" deep layer of 1" gravel, and then leveled and compacted it with a plate compactor that I rented from Home Depot.

Preparing to dump a load of dirt. We laid pvc pipe before dumping in the leveling sand, and then pulled a piece of wood across the pipes to screed the surface until it was level.

Timber! A & B got really excited with every dump.

We did it team! Only 307 more dump truck loads...

Don't worry Dad, I got it.

Once we filled in all the leveling sand, we removed the pvc pipes and filled in those gaps and leveled them by hand. A good soak with water and we were ready to lay the pavers.

I was able to save about half the cost on the brick pavers by re-using some 16x16" grey stepping stones from our front yard. And we liked the color combo.

There's that dump truck again; turns out it was pretty handy for hauling about a dozen bricks from the pallet to the path. I laid the bricks by hand and tapped them in with a rubber mallet.

After a few hours (with some planning and redesigning along the way), I'd finished the whole path.

The next day I rented a diamond blade wet saw to cut some pieces that would smooth out the curves.

With the cuts finished, the last step in the process was to fill in the space around the outside with dirt and all of the cracks between the pavers with fine-grained sand to lock things in place.


After sweeping the sand into the cracks and spraying it with a little water, we were finished!

The dream became a reality. No more bark, some quality time spent with the boys working together in the yard, and another improvement to the backyard. This kind of stuff is just way to fun to be called work!


  1. Looks great! Our backyard REALLY needs help! You want to come visit?