7 Easy Steps to Install a Beautiful Garden Path

Three years ago, my Mother-in-Law, Anna, moved into the house behind us after my Father-in-Law passed away. Anna was married for over 60 years. She left her parent’s home when she was 19 years old and escaped from Hungary with her new husband, my Father-in-Law, during the 1956 Uprising. She’s never lived alone. Until now.

What a blessing when the house behind us went on the market. Anna loved the house and bought it.

After Anna moved in, we made an opening in the fence, and this summer, we built a path connecting our two homes. The hope is to make the physical space between us seem smaller. I think we did just that, and I’m happy to share some highlights.

Removing sod to build garden path

Step 1:

Remove the Sod

The first step in this project was clearing the sod. This is always my least favorite part of any garden project. Luckily, this was pretty easy because the grass was struggling to survive in the shade of the Red Buds.

Laying the leveling sand to build garden path

Step 2: Remove the Top 3-4 Inches of Soil

The next step was to remove roughly 3-4 inches of soil. We cleared a ton of roots and made sure the base was flat and solid.

Pounding leveling sand to build path

Step 3: Add Leveling Sand

Leveling sand is like tiny bits of crushed concrete. The purpose is to place it on the ground to create a flat surface for the patio blocks.

Step 4: Prepare the Leveling Sand

The best part of this project was watching Tom fabricate the tools we needed for the job. He built a level and a pounding tool using scrap wood from previous projects.

Step 5: Lay Patio Blocks

This step was the hardest from a physical labor point of view. We used 2 ft. x 2 ft. cement blocks and they weigh a lot! It’s important to take your time during this step to ensure your blocks are level and straight.

Step 6: Fill Any Extra Space with Gravel or Sand

We wanted our path to be even with the ground, so we used the left over leveling sand to create a level surface. We will likely change to gravel in the future, but for now, the sand works perfectly.

Step 7: Edge the Path to Keep the Sand In Place

We lined to edge of the path using bricks we had on hand. We want to replace the bricks with metal edging at some point, but the bricks work for now.

There you have it. This is the story of how and why we installed our garden path. Adding an opening in our fence and building a path makes our garden feel closer to my Mother-in-law’s house, and that was the whole point. I’m declaring this project a success. Happy gardening!

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