I am not a huge fan of properties that look too perfect. I really like to keep the natural look of the area mixed in with whatever I am doing.
We live right at the bottom of the Shawangunk Ridge. We can see the cliffs if we walk to the end of our driveway and look to the right. The native stone for the area is Shale. It is a pretty good looking stone…blueish grayish.
As you can see from this photo, we were in dire need of a cleaned up front walkway. I had considered putting in pavers, but thought the style might stick out too much. They were also expensive and it would be a sin to throw out all of the existing blue slate that already made up the sidewalk.
I decided to go with what was already in place, but cleaned up quite a bit. The driveway was already made from Crushed Shale, so I ordered 10 yards to be delivered from a local guy. People love to use crushed shale around here because it packs down really nice and is perfect for driveways.
I took up all the existing slate from the walkway and stacked it in piles on the front lawn. I made sure not to keep it there for very long because I didn’t want to kill the grass. I got my hoe out and dug out all the weeds that had made a nice home for themselves over the years. Then, I laid down Landscaping Fabric to block any future weeds and grass. I saw that there was already a thick gravel base, so I didn’t need to add too much to that. I put a thin layer of crushed shale on top of the landscaping cloth and then put the slate back on that. Then, I filled in between all the slate with more crushed shale. Over the weeks, it will pack down from the rain and hold the slate nice and tight.
I made sure that the slate and gravel was high enough towards the steps to cover up the footings at the bottom of the steps.
I also spread most of the gravel out to put a nice new layer on the driveway. I needed to raise the end of the driveway up about a foot from a different project I will talk about later.
I needed to made a side walkway to go to the basement door around the side of the house, but I had run out of landscaping fabric. The benefit of using landscaping fabric is that there are very small holes in it that lets the water run through when it rains. If you are covering large areas, this is important so you don’t create run-off. In this case, since the side walkway was only going to be about a foot and a half wide, I picked up some heavy black plastic from the hardware store and cut it to size. I laid that down and put a thin layer of gravel on it and then placed the slate on the gravel. Just like the front walk, I filled in between the slate with more gravel.
Now, it looks like a nice, semi-natural walkway around the house. Nothing too obtrusive.
And there you have it, a nice new front walkway, side walkway and driveway, all for less than $300.