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Concrete Garden Path Construction – Step by Step Photo Guide

This guide is designed to be read in conjunction with the article How to Build a Concrete Path that covers the details. This photo guide should give you a quick over view of the process.

Step by Step Guide To Building Concrete Path

Preparation – Marking & Digging Out the Path

Concrete Path Preparation

Mark out with string and stakes where the path is to go, following the natural route where you actually walk. Then dig out the topsoil to a depth of 15cm (6″) or so. If stripping turf, stack that upside down to rot down into usable loam to use elsewhere.

If your soil is particularly loose then you may need to go down a little further to ensure the path is stable.

Laying a Base of AggregateGarden Path Aggregate

Put down a layer of aggregate on the base of the path. The final level should be about 5cm for light use and 7.5cm for heavy use, below the finished surface level of the path. Fix wooden battens to the sides. The tops of the battens should equal the top of path. Slope slightly from side to side so that water runs off  with level paths.

In this case we’ve used slate waste for the aggregate. Tamp the aggregate down well or, with a long path, hire a vibrating (whacker) plate for a day. 

Fill with Concrete and Tamp OutConcrete Path

Fill with concrete to above the side battens and then tamp down as described above to drive any air out of the concrete. Allow expansion joints as described above every 3 metres of run on the path.

Protect with plastic or suchlike in hot weather to avoid the concrete drying too quickly and in frosty weather to avoid damage from freezing.

Adding a Decorative touch to the Concrete PathDecorative slab in path

One final touch was to lay a slate slab into the concrete at the top and bottom of the path. This serves little practical purpose but does make the path look less Spartan. The path could be edged with bricks laid side-on if you wished.

Some cobbles could be set in or even some patterns from bricks. Although the path is practical there is no reason not to make it a positive feature. Leave the concrete slightly rough or ridged for better grip in wet weather.

Concrete Calculation Quick Guide Memo


Aggregate – to calculate cubic volume simply multiply length by width by depth and add 20% to allow for compaction.

Example 3.6 metre long path, 90cm wide and 5cm deep. Turn into same units = 3.6 x 0.9 x 0.05 = 0.162 add 20% (multiply by 1.2) = 0.1944 cubic metres Call it 0.2 or a fifth of a cube.


Calculate the cubic volume required using length x width x depth

Concrete Mixes for Path:

1 part cement to 4 parts all in aggregate (10mm max)
1 part concrete, 2 parts sand, 3 parts coarse aggregate (10mm max).

For a cubic metre of concrete you’ll need 13 25Kg bags of cement and about 0.75 m3 of all in aggregate.

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