This concrete path is not the most attractive, but it is relatively cheap, long lasting and the surface is not slippery which is a boon in wet or icy weather.
Start by planning exactly where the path is to go. I’d suggest seeing how you walk from A to B as this will be the natural place for the path. There’s no point in laying a path and then stepping off to take a short cut!
You can get away with just 60cm wide but then there’s always the problem of negotiating with a wide load on the wheelbarrow so I’d go for 90cm (three feet in old money).
Mark out your path with stake and string and then strip off any turf, digging down around 100mm to 150mm. Fill this with hardcore or aggregate and tamp down well. For a long path it may pay to lay the base and then hire a vibrating plate machine for a day. If you’re buying that in, you’ll need between 0.25 and 0.3 cubic metres for every 3 metres of path.
Making a form for the concrete path
Then use some cheap timber boards, possibly from a reclamation yard, to make a form to hold the concrete. You only need 50mm finished height for a path that will be just walked on but 75mm will be more robust. If your boards are too tall, rip them down to the correct depth with a circular saw.
Use 30cm stakes on the outside of the boards to hold them firmly in place whilst you’re tamping down the concrete. Concrete expands and contracts which can cause cracking in long lengths so every 3 metres you need to install an expansion joint.
Concrete Expansion Joint
Place a piece of 10mm thick softwood across the path and then a piece of the formwork board on the outside, staked as for the side. When the concrete is tamped down, remove the formwork board from across the path leaving the thin softwood in position and fill the next section with the concrete.
If the path is on level ground or just a slight slope, make one side of the path 10 mm lower than the other. This will allow rainwater to drain to the side. On a sloping site you needn’t bother.
Concrete Mix for Path
The concrete mix for the path is 1 part concrete to 4 parts all in aggregate (10mm max) or 1 part concrete, 2 parts sand, 3 parts coarse aggregate (10mm max).
The amount you’ll need is easy enough to work out. First calculate the total amount of concrete required. Length of path x width x depth. This gives a result in cubic metres (assuming you’re working on new money)
So a 20 metre (65 feet) path, 90cm (3 feet) wide and 75mm depth would give:
20 x 0.9 x 0.075 = 1.35 cubic metres.
How Much Concrete for the Path
Now for a cubic metre of concrete you will need 13 25Kg bags of cement and about 0.75 m3 of all in aggregate.
So for the above 1.35 m3 you’d want about 18 bags of cement and a cubic metre of aggregate. Most decent builders merchants will advise you and usually deliver free or for a nominal charge. If you’re doing a long path then it is probably worth hiring a cement mixer for the weekend.
A Few Tips!
There’s a few tricks builders have told me with concrete worth passing on. Mix thoroughly and then mix again if you’re doing it by hand. Biggest problem with concrete is poor mixing. When mixing concrete, avoid making it too wet. You want it workable but not liquid.
Sometimes concrete sticks to the formwork boards. If you lightly paint the boards with engine oil then they’ll come away easily and cleanly when the concrete is set.
Tamping Down to Remove Air for Strong Concrete
Once mixed, tip into the path spreading with a spade and rake until it’s about 20mm proud of the edges. Use a heavy board slightly wider than the path with handles on each side to tamp down the concrete.
Once a section is finished leave the surface rough with slight ridges by moving the tamper up and down. This is what makes it non-slip.
Protect against harsh weather
If frost threatens or the weather is hot cover the concrete for a week to allow it to set and cure slowly. It should be OK to walk on after a week but allow a two weeks before putting too much strain on things.
See also the step by step photo guide to making a concrete path.
Growing Guides, Information & Articles
- 3 Creative Ways To Beautify Your Garden
- Cats Toileting: How to Stop Cats using Garden or Veg Plot as a Toilet
- Garden Hints & Tips
- How Inflatable Hot Tubs Improve Your Garden Ten Fold
- How To Give Your Garden A Makeover During Lockdown
- How to Grow Gladiolus in Your Garden
- How to Protect Your Vegetable Garden from the Wind
- Microgreens – How to Grow Micro-greens Winter & Summer
- Planning a garden or allotment clearance
- Repair Rather Than Replace Old Garden Machinery and Power Tools
- Starting Them Young: 6 Homesteading Skills to Teach Children
- Top tips for amateur gardeners: get started today
- Zen Garden for Meditative Space
- Best Temperatures for Seed Germination
- Raised Beds – Vegetable Growing in Raised Beds
- Seed Saving
- Lawn Care Guides and Advice
- 10 Ways to Increase the Aesthetic Appeal of Your Backyard
- Fluid Seed Sowing & Seed Pre-Germination
- Home Made Pesticides & Unlicensed Use of Pesticides
- Decorative Garden Arches – Roman, Gothic, Ogee Garden Arches
- Grow Your Own Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs & Nuts
- Weed Control
- How to Build a Concrete Garden Path
- Concrete Garden Path Construction – Step by Step Photo Guide
- How Can Gardeners Cope with Climate Change?
- Gardening & Growing Vegetables Under a Hosepipe Ban
- Water Conservation: Garden Techniques
- Flood! Safe Growing & Harvesting of Crops After a Flood
- Day Length and Growing Plants
- Gardener’s Back Pain – Look After Your Back in the Garden
- Become an Urban Farmer and Start Growing Potted Plants
- Allotment Vegetable Plot Planning Software
- Start Your Seeds Indoors For A Jump On Spring Planting
- An Eco-Friendly Garden Backyard – Green Gardening
- Lunar Gardening, planting and gardening according to the phase of the Moon