Inexpensive walkway border suggestions?

txcass83(7)January 20, 2010

Hi y'all - We just moved into a new house, and my hubs gave me 1/3 of the yard to have a cottage garden with a vegetable garden wedged in there somewhere. The hubs started building my fence last weekend, and now I am needing some kind of *extremely inexpensive* material to dellineate my walkways as it is a huge area, and I am having trouble envisioning what is going where. What I really want is cobble stones, lo that I could afford that many right now. So in the meantime while I save up, I desparately need a substitute. Any suggestions?


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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

Here in San Antonio we can get free mulch from the brush site.
When I had a new house I put very thick mulch, about 1 foot high. That way it took longer to break down or displaced.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:20PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Call around to contractors to see if anyone is removing a concrete slab. See if they will bring you the pieces. Usually they can be broken with a sledgehammer if they're too large to move by hand. You can get a nice effect if you fill the gaps with plants or pea gravel. It's a lot of work, but it's a great free source of material. And they don't have to pay to dispose of them.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:33PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Do you just want to outline the walkways or pave them?
The broken concrete that token recommended will work for either, and you can stain it different colors. I use a moss-green wash on the lower pieces to make it look like moss is growing on them.

I use every kind of stone, brick, or concrete rubble I can find to make pathways. I lay it in sand and cement the edges together to hold it all in.

I'll post a few photos over on the gallery side.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:56PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I am sorry, I mis-read your post. I thought you meant something to cover the pathways.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 5:30PM
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Thanks guys, these are great ideas! We did the general contracting on our house and I am sure that we could call some of our contractors to see if they have any extras.

I could cover the pathways to dilleneate them, and eventually plan to. I just figured that it would be more expensive, but not if it is free! :)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 7:04PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

If you have access to pine straw that works great! I've used it for paths in my kitchen garden and the walkway along one side of the house.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 8:14PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I do a combination of what is mentioned here.
In some areas I've paved the way with old concrete as the walkway and then edged that in either old glass wine bottles or more concrete turned up on it's end. I've seen old plates used if you like "cute".
In other areas I use the concrete as Token suggests, along the edges then I fill in the walkway with the free mulch. It's so easy to move around if you don't like where you've placed it. I put cardboard under the mulch to kill the grass and weeds.
I love my "urbanite". I spent most of the day with the sledge hammer breaking it up to make stacked stone raised beds. I love the stuff.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 10:04PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I saw a gorgeous pathway made with old concrete turned over on the wrong side that was all pebbly. I always wanted to do that but never have had the opportunity. Plus, I have to work with lighter materials. [g]

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 8:06AM
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Well, I'm going to recommend what you should do for the future The Ladies here have given you excellent suggestions for footpaths. Just don't do anything too permanent as to remove such a path would make things far more expensive. I initially had in mind using a mold and making your own footpath with concrete. Molds are easily available online - for example Lee Valley Tools. But I thought it would also be too heavy and perhaps difficult when it comes to the time for you to add your cobblestones. However, you perhaps would like to know about this option.

Another incredibly cheap alternative is to use cross sections of logs which you sink down into the ground. It's rustic but would easily be remove once you are ready for the cobblestones.

I love to do treasure hunting - it's a kind of hobby and I love visiting thrift stores and for my house I love going to anything with reclaimed building materials. I expect that there are far more places in the US to seek these out.

One way is to check ReStore which is tied to the Habitat for the Humanities. They take in reclaimed building materials and you might get lucky finding cobblestones and cheap. If they don't have any, leave your name in case they come up with something.

Second, check out in the internet anything called reclaimed cobblestones. Use terms such as salvage architecture.

Make friends with contractors working in large building sites because they often know where to get items far cheaper.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:44AM
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bhnash(z16(9) CA)

If you want to just border mulched paths, I have used long branches from my plum trees and bent them over to form a scalloped 'fence' about a foot tall or less. It costs nothing if you have some trees with long thin branches.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:45AM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

I used old found bricks for my pathways and to border all of my flower beds. They have been pretty easy to find in small quantities out here in farm country. I would suggest posting ads in small town newspapers around where you live to request old bricks. Frequently, old farmhouses are knocked down or fall down and they generally have brick chimneys. This may mean that you'd have to chip old cement off of them but the cement is so old it generally chips away quite easily with a chisel and hammer. Everyone I have contacted lets me come haul the bricks away for free just to get them out of the way. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:42PM
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Thanks so much for the advice! I checked out craigslist and found a guy who is going to sell me some flagstone and granite that his wife doesn't want anymore. I also found a guy who is selling pecan mulch. $4.50 for a 50 lb bag. Seemed like a good deal to me. What do ya'll think?

Later in the year, I'll try to convince the hubs to do those molded concrete stones. (He just finished a fence for me!) The pictures look really nice, but i wonder if it is really that easy to do? Do ya'll think i would need to put a tarp under the mold as i am making the concrete stones, or would it be fine doing that directly on the dirt?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 1:52PM
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I'm planning on using fine wood shavings for temporary paths in our new rustic garden as I might change my mind later on the location and it would be easy to change. If they weather nicely they might become permanent. Could later edge with stones as we have lots of those.

Shredded mulch looks nice between beds. I've heard the log sections can be slippery as they wick moisture up. Otherwise I'd use them as I really like the look.

We made concrete rhubarb leaf stepping stones which were fairly inexpensive and durable. If you do molded stones make sure you use some wire mesh or add the glass fibers for durability. I think I'd put sand on top of the levelled soil and make them on that.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:31PM
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