A DIY garden path: Take a walk on the lazy side

My mother-in-law made a great garden path and offered to write about it for Gardenaut. Take it away, Karen:

Gardeners are not what you would usually term a lazy bunch. But even the most energetic of us have a slothful streak every now and then. I tend to look for shortcuts that perfectionists wouldn't think of.

The design and construction of our garden walk was a shortcut of major proportions. Previously in this area was a dreadful path made from pine bark mulch. Weeds cropped up in the mulch on a regular basis and the mulch washed out with every rain. But putting in a standard professional looking paver walkway with the leveled sand base was just too much for me to even consider. So my husband and I came up with this idea. We did have to rake the old mulch out and haul bags of gravel in, but all in all it was a project that we could handle in a few hours each day spaced over a couple of weekends.

We worked in small sections for several reasons. One we could design as we went, a major plus since we were too lazy to draw out plans. Also we did not want to tear the whole yard up at once, just in case we never finished it. Finishing a section at a time gave us more instant gratification, and it was easier to haul smaller loads of gravel from the supply store that way (it was too much trouble to rent a truck).

After raking out the mulch we placed a 4' wide barrier cloth on the ground in 4' x 4' sections. The 4' square section was then bordered with landscaping pavers and a 4" x 4" piece of treated lumber. A square paver placed in the center turned on a diagonal for the visual effect provides a stable walking base. We filled the area around the paver and lumber with sand. To top off the area we used two sizes of gravel, a small pea gravel then a larger river rock on top. Sand was then sprinkled over the top surface several times to fill in the gaps.

The photo shows the walk after a year of use, no weeds, the gravel firmly in place, and it still looks nice. The only problems we have encountered is that the lumber pieces are a little shifty, but we have resolved that by staking the wood with crude wood stakes driven in below the level of the gravel. A few of the pavers have drifted a little too. Maybe someday we will fix those. For now, we're feeling a little lazy.