Before and After – Concrete Walkway Project

Hey guys!  I’m excited to share a progress update on our concrete walkway. It definitely has made a world of difference on the side of our house.  

We inherited this terrible walkway when we moved into the house and it’s the first thing you see when you come through our front gate.  It was all out of wack and crooked, and water would slope towards the house anytime it rained. Since we finished up the Trex decking project this past spring, we decided to tackle this walkway once and for all.  Here are the before and after pictures of our concrete walkway project and some ideas for landscaping.

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Concrete Walkway: The Before

The Before - our old concrete walkway.

See how the sidewalk settled this way and that?  Not to mention we had this weird little sliver of rocks with weeds on the side closest to the house.  My kids loved it  – those little rocks make awfully good toys.  🙂  

It wasn’t great for the house though.  We get a lot of rain and having it collect there right up against the foundation was not good.  These shots were taken last winter so the landscaping looks a little sparse and dull (ok, a lot sparse and dull).  

Hi Sasha.  She loves to kick the dirt around onto the sidewalk.  Ugh.  She’s like a third child.  There’s a dog that lives next door on the other side of the ivy fence and they bark and growl at one another while kicking up a tremendous amount of dirt.  This is before we had the Trex deck put in at the back too.  

The steps are gross, right!?

The Before - our old concrete walkway.

Concrete Walkway: The After

Here it is completed!  Well, I should say the concrete part is completed.

Before and after, new concrete sidewalk

We chose concrete for a variety of reasons.  Here are our top three reasons for choosing concrete over pavers or bricks (which I so badly wanted initially):

Benefits of Choosing Concrete over Pavers or Brick

  1.  It’s Cost-Effective: Concrete costs way less than pavers and brick.  We definitely had a budget in mind and surprisingly even concrete can get pricey but was ultimately cheaper than the other choices.  The cheapest material would have been asphalt and we weren’t about to have an asphalt walkway there.
  2. It’s Durable: Concrete is one of the strongest materials out there.   Did you know that concrete was used by the Romans over 1500 years ago?  And some of their buildings are still standing so that tells you a lot about the durability and strength of concrete!  It’s also not weakened by moisture, mold or pests.  And it can withstand hurricanes and earthquakes.
  3. It’s Versatile: You can pretty much build anything out of concrete.  Steps, walls, homes!  Yes, there are even concrete homes out there.  Plus, concrete can be stained and stamped so there are decorative options with this as well. I’ve even seen concrete stamped brick!  Pretty cool, right?

After the concrete is poured, you need to give it at least 24 hours to “set”.  It will continue to strengthen for YEARS to come but the concrete is at about 90% of its strength capacity within 7 days. I need to somehow figure out how to hide our utilities that stick out there.  

I put a plant in front when I took the picture but I need something more permanent and less intrusive.  It doesn’t help that it’s right in the walkway area so I’m not sure anything would be totally out of the way there.  

Our new concrete sidewalk and why we chose concrete for our project

Funny story – I left the house just as the concrete contractors were finishing up.  I came home to find a nice little half footprint in our newly poured concrete.  I’m 99.999999999% sure it was UPS.

 There was a package left at our front door while I was gone.  I know, I know, – I’m a wonderful detective.  Sorry it’s hard to see from this picture as it just started to rain and I used my iPhone but it’s so funny.  Just our luck!  Well, it’s not too big of a deal and as the concrete continues to cure and it gets hit with rain – it will completely disappear.  Phew.

Concrete Walkway Project : Ideas and Inspiration for your Landscaping

Landscaping Ideas

The next part of this project is the landscaping and landscape lights.  I do have catmint Walker’s Low planted there right now but I cut it back this fall so it’s tough to see (shown in the picture below).  It’s little spikes of purplish flowers.  Bees love it and it’s very easy to grow.  

Shearing catmint helps it resurge stronger the next year and keeps it in beautiful shape.  (You can apply the same tips to Lavender by the way – always cut it back at the end of the season and it will grow beautifully for you for years to come.)  I need some fillers for in between the catmint though.

Close up of catmin walkers low with large purple flower spikes

I also planted a bunch of Sedum TriColor to cover the ground.  It looks like this :

Sedum 'Tricolor'
Saunders Brothers (click photo for link)

Pretty, right? It’s hardy and should spread out fairly quickly to cover more of the dirt.  It also takes light foot traffic.

I like full but neat-looking landscaping.  Neat as in tidy.  I love dwarf boxwoods for their attractive ball shapes but I also love an organic landscape with a variety of plants and colors that catches your eye and draws you in.  Here is what’s currently inspiring me.

Those purple plants are called Mother of Thyme.  It’s a ground cover.  Gorgeous, right?

How about this beautiful walkway?  It looks like May Night Salvia, Yarrow, and Catmint at the bottom there.  So pretty!

This is another very organic-looking landscape to me.  Like it’s always been there.  This whole space is amazing.

Landscape Lighting

For Landscape lighting, I was thinking of a combination of those mushroom lights and uplighting on the ivy wall.  The mushroom lights cast a pretty glow at night and are fairly inexpensive.

Mushroom lights for your landscaping
Lamp’s Plus (click on photo for link)

The uplighting is just awesome – I love how it makes your plants and trees come alive!

This is very neat and tidy looking with all those perfectly manicured boxwoods lining the path.

An otherwise kind of boring fence gets some drama with uplighting!

landscape lights on a fence
Pinterest / Original Source Unknown

It’s amazing what plants and a little lighting can do.  

Thanks for reading as always,

xo Karen