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View Full Version : Walkway Upgrade Help - Photo attached


Darryl G
11-01-2002, 12:49 AM
Hi - I would like to upgrade my front walkway and gain some experience installing concrete pavers and block walls at the same time. The attached photo shows the existing bluestone walk (it was here when I bought the house).

I would like to install pavers, extend the beds in front of the porch to the walk, and install low block walls on both sides of it. I'm figuring that I can have the walk slope up some, but will have to cut into the slope and install a set of steps about half way up or it will be too steep. I haven't measured the rise or run yet. I may even choose to replace the wooden porch steps with block and pavers while I'm at it.

Does this sound right? I've never done this before. Would I be better off trying something easier for my first job, like a patio or something (I need one of those too). Then there's the retaining wall for the drive-under garage...it's make of loose-laid rubble!

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Darryl

Darryl G
11-01-2002, 01:27 AM
Here's a photo of that wonderful rubble retaining wall. You can't see the walk in this photo because the stones are recessed into the ground, but it comes up a bit to the right of the little magnolia tree, which is also visible in the first photo. Judging from this photo, I need to come up about 6 feet over the length of the walk.

Guido
11-01-2002, 01:07 PM
You say the drop is somewhere around 6' I would put in more than one step. Maybe two different steps at different lengths?

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 01:16 AM
Guido - Thanks for the reply. I'm wondering why nobody else has any thoughts. That retaining wall drives me nuts (there's one on the other side too). It would be hard to rip it out with the porch there, and the deck is over the one on the other side.

Maybe I'll snap another photo tomorrow that shows the whole walk and get some measurements. The plantings in front of the porch are already too big/close. Why do so many people plant things a foot from buidlings?:angry:

AGLA
11-02-2002, 07:50 AM
I agree with Guido that it is a 6' drop from the bottom of your deck steps to the threshhold of the basement door.

If it were my house, I would yank out the rip-rap boulder wall and replace it. I can not see the configuration of your driveway, but I would change the direction that the wall comes off of the house. If it works for the driveway, I would build a 4' wall coming straight off the end of the house (perpendicular to the basement door). Then I would curve it as it wrapped to line up with the driveway as it goes out to the street.

This would allow you to plant something at the end of the porch and accommodate the grade change from under the deck to the 4' wall without it looking bad. The soil level at that end of the deck does not appear to be as high as it is at the bottom of the steps or as the rip-rap wall.

I would put a set of stairs through the wall somewhere in the curve. I would do it by wraping the courses of block around toward the front of the house to make the cheek wall curved. I would prpbably build the steps up only 3' or so, but continue the left cheek wall around to die into grade. The right cheek wall would only be as high as the steps and would curve back out to follow the original base course so that the wall on the other side of the steps is only 3' high.

At a point where the retaining is not necessary I would wrap the wall perpendicular to the slope to die it into the grade. It looks more comfortable that way rather than ending it straight.

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 05:43 PM
AGLA - Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure I understand everything you've written (I'll read it again later and see if that helps). My head's a little fuzzy right now. I'm pretty sick w/ strep throat.

Anyway, I don't think the driveway will allow me to come straight out with the retaining wall far. It would make turning into the garage a bit tight. Not that I've ever actually had room to park a car in it. The more I think about it, the more I realize I need a plan for replacing both rubble walls, steps and a walk going up the back, improve/regrade the drive going to the back, a patio in the back on the other side of the deck, and a path around the other side of the house to the front porch.

I measured the current walk, it's 40 feet, and yes, it's almost 6 feet of rise from the driveway.

Here's a photo that shows a better perspective of the front walk and rubble wall.

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 11:28 PM
Well, based on the input I received, I went ahead and installed the new wall and walk this afternoon. What do you think?

Actually, this photo from an Ideal Paver catalogue seems to fit the situation pretty well.

Darryl G
11-02-2002, 11:31 PM
hmmm.

Lanelle
11-02-2002, 11:46 PM
Based on six feet of rise, you will need 10-12 steps, which might work nicely in 2 sets with a landing between. The ideas in the photo are a definite improvement and will take a fair amount of work to accomplish.

AGLA
11-03-2002, 07:49 AM
Darryl,

It is pretty hard for me to explain in words what I an thinking, but you do have the room for the wall I described.
It is a much more subtle wall than the photo image. It will mean re-grading a little, but the result is not so bulky.
Right now you are getting there with no steps. You do not need to gain the entire elevation with steps, just some of it. You do not have to retain the entire elevation, just some of it.
How you configure that can make a huge difference in the look of the house.

Darryl G
11-03-2002, 02:59 PM
Lanelle - What do you mean fair amount of work? Isn't it just like playing with Legos?:D

AGLA - Why don't you drive down and show me what you mean? You're not that far away. Regrading is no big deal, as I've got a JD 855 tractor with FEL and hoe.

I think I'll take my photos and go to the concrete products supply place down the road from me (the owner is my next door neighbor) and talk to them. They've told me that they can provide assistance with design, estimating quanties of blocks/pavers and installation tips. I've already read a couple of the manufacturer's install manuals.

I don't think I made this clear here, but I'd like to get into this type of work and don't want my first project to be on a customers property. As you can see from the photos, my property is a pretty good candidate. My house is also my place of business, and it doesn't present a great image. I can't imagine anyone hiring me to do landscaping on their property if they've seen mine! Luckily, you can't see it from the road. I may even be able to deduct some of the cost as a business expense.

Darryl

AGLA
11-03-2002, 06:45 PM
I never put a picture on this board, but here is an attempt. It is a quickie job and out of scale, but it might clear up my ramblings.
http://www.geocities.com/agla1247/copy.jpg