Inexpensive Backyard Enhancements for Your Home

By: Danny Lipford

Pour a Concrete Garden Path

A stone or brick walkway makes a beautiful addition to your yard, but laying one can take a lot of work. Thanks to the Quikrete WalkMaker®, you can now use a form and premixed concrete pour a concrete path that has the look and feel of stone or brick.

To make a concrete stepping stone walk for your yard:

  1. Layout the area for the walkway and remove any sod and topsoil. Since the Walkmaker® form is 2’ wide, the width of the walkway should be in 2’ wide increments.
  2. If desired, you can add several inches of compactable gravel as a base to provide a smooth, level foundation for the walkway.
  3. If coloring the concrete, mix Quikrete colorant with the water (we used “buff” colorant) and then add the colored water to the premixed concrete until a stiff, moldable consistency is reached.
  4. Position the Walkmaker® form on the path, and fill it with concrete mix.
  5. Distribute and smooth the concrete in the form with a trowel.
  6. Remove the form and smooth the concrete with a wet trowel.
  7. Move the form down and repeat the process.
  8. If a nonslip surface is desired, use a broom or brush to apply texture to the wet concrete.
  9. Once the concrete has set enough so that sand will not stick to it, apply Quikrete PowerLoc™ Jointing Sand to the walk and use a broom to sweep it between the cracks.
  10. Mist down the jointing sand using a spray attachment on a garden hose.
  11. Allow walk to set and dry completely before using.

Make Personalized Stepping Stones

Creating your own personalized stepping stones for your backyard is a great DIY project the whole family can enjoy. All you need is a few 5-gallon buckets to cut into forms, a bag of premixed concrete, and decorations.

After the concrete has been poured in the forms and smoothed, personalize each stepping stone by adding color stones, broken pottery, handprints, or other decorations to the wet cement.

To make personalized stepping stones for your yard:

  1. Cut the top 2”- 3” off of clean, 5-gallon buckets using a saber saw.
  2. Cover a flat surface with a piece of plastic sheeting and place the bucket forms on it.
  3. Spray the inside of the bucket and plastic sheeting with lubricating oil to act as a releasing agent for the form.
  4. Mix up the bag of premixed concrete with water and add colorant if desired.
  5. Fill the form to the top with concrete.
  6. Smooth and level the concrete even with the top of the form using a scrap piece of lumber as a screed.
  7. Add personal decorative touches to the stepping stone while the concrete is still wet.
  8. After the concrete has hardened, remove the stepping stone from the form.
  9. Place the stones where desired in your yard.
  10. Mark around the outside of each stone with a trowel.
  11. Move the stones and dig shallow holes in the yard the size of each stone.
  12. Set each stepping stone in place.

Build a Fan Trellis

A wooden fan trellis is easy to build and makes a great addition to your yard. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Align one end of five, 8’ long pieces of pressure treated 1” x 2” lumber, and clamp them together to form the vertical members of the trellis.
  2. Drill two 1/4″ holes a foot apart through the stack of 1x2s near the end.
  3. Insert 1/4″ diameter by 4”-5” long rust resistant bolts through the holes with a washer on each end.
  4. Screw nuts on the bolts and tighten up using wrenches or a socket set.
  5. Screw or nail a 1×2 to the center piece in the stack, a foot or so from the top of the trellis, to form the top horizontal piece.
  6. Spread the other four 1x2s in the stack to the desired angle and attach to the top horizontal piece of the trellis.
  7. Attach several shorter horizontal 1x2s to the trellis, alternating from side to side on the stack.
  8. Set the trellis in the ground next to the house, and attach it to the house.
  9. Plant climbing plants at the base of the trellis to grow up it.

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  • Ms. Jan Holtzinger Says:
    August 14th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I have an existing sidewalk that has setteled with age (house was built in 1915) I want to put a small patio in the corner that connects the house and the garage. I have bought some 18″ X 18″ stone tiles that I want to use. The patio would be roughly 5’X5′ so I would be have to bulld up the sidewalk to the level of the ground. How do I go about doing this? My father taught us how to do a lot of things around the house but this wasn’t one of them.

    thanks
    Jan


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