Easy Brick Upgrade for Concrete Walkway

This week I was hoping to bring you a post on making pickles.  I've never made them before and wanted to give them a try with all the cucumbers we've been getting out of our garden.  Unfortunately I let the cucumbers get too big and they were all seeds - no good for pickles.  Such a bummer, but I've learned my lesson.  So, without the pickle post I decided to share the easy brick upgrade we did on our concrete walkway after we moved in our home. 

DIY Brick Walkway Upgrade for a Concrete Pathway Tutorial - add value and class to your entry

When we first moved into our home there was nothing in front of it.. no bushes or anything substantial, just a plain white concrete walkway and a bark mulch bed with a few sad daffodils that had already gone by.  It was so boring and even the walkway looked really unfinished.  

The obvious solution to dressing up the existing "flower" (I use that term loosely here) bed was to get plants and bushes in there - but what about the concrete walkway?  Luckily for us the previous homeowners had left behind a lot of bricks... A LOT.  Some were stacked under the back deck, but there was also a small random brick patio that we had plans to disassemble anyways.  There were sooo many bricks.. it was actually becoming a problem on where to store them and what to do with them.  

While trying to figure out what to do I came up with the idea of inlaying them along the walkway to dress it up a bit - and though it was a little time-consuming, the whole process was actually really easy!  

Materials:  

  • lots of bricks (enough to line both sides of the walkway, plus a few extra)
  • edger
  • wheelbarrow
  • spade
  • rubber mallet

How to:  

First I started hauling all the bricks to the front yard and laying them along the walkway to make sure I had enough (though we had so many I probably could have done this project twice!).  I started laying them out at the front steps and put them end-to-end along the whole length of the walkway, along both sides.  This way I was able to get a sense of how they fit and where I would need to do cuts (we were very lucky to have a pretty straight walkway, so the cuts needed were minimal).  If you're thinking of starting this project from scratch, I would recommend measuring the length along both sides of the walkway, then head to your local home improvement center to see what they have for bricks, their sizes, and how much they cost.  Once you decide on a brick you like, you can calculate how many bricks you will need.  

 Laying out all the bricks.  You can also see our first additions to the flower bed - some tiny boxwoods and hydrangea bushes.  It's amazing how much they've grown!  

Laying out all the bricks.  You can also see our first additions to the flower bed - some tiny boxwoods and hydrangea bushes.  It's amazing how much they've grown!  

After everything was all laid out, I started by using the edger along the side of the bricks to cut the edge of the "trench" they would be set in.  I made sure not to get carried away and would only prep about two feet ahead of where I was.  I would cut as I went along to compensate for how the bricks were sitting against the walkway.  

Laying in the bricks for the DIY walkway update

Once the outside edge was cut, I would use the spade to dig out enough soil for a brick.  Then I'd set the brick in and pound on it with the rubber mallet until it was even with the grass.  Sometimes I would need to take the brick out and add or remove soil until it sat where I wanted it too.  

I continued this process along the line, brick-by-brick until I got to corners or areas where the bricks needed to be cut.  After tracing on the bricks where cuts would need to be and a quick trip to a local mason, they were cut and ready to be inlaid as well.  

Instant value and class for a worn concrete path

We have a really long walkway and I worked on this project at my leisure over the course of a week or two but probably could have gotten it done over a weekend if I had really set my mind to it.  It's definitely made a huge difference to the curb appeal of our home.  

 The now-full flower beds look great next to the brick lined walkway.  

The now-full flower beds look great next to the brick lined walkway.  

Update:  This project idea was recently featured on the DIY Network Blog, Made + Remade!  You can check us out at #7 on "9 Driveway and Pathway Updates on a Budget"

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