Update your backyard with a decorative concrete path

(BPT) – From paver patios and fire pits to LED lights and Wi-Fi entertainment systems, there are countless ways homeowners can upgrade their backyard these days. However, few additions can enrich the natural landscape of your backyard and complement the exterior look of a home like a decorative concrete path. It’s also an affordable do-it-yourself project that offers real function to a backyard.

While materials like brick and stone are attractive and durable, they can be expensive and challenging to install. An easy and affordable alternative is to build a path yourself using a plastic form and pre­mixed packaged concrete like Quikrete Crack Resistant Concrete. Taking this approach is easy, affordable and allows each individual homeowner to dictate the color and style of the finished concrete path.

It starts with selecting the style of path, which can range from a natural-looking country stone pattern to a more standard running bond brick pattern. The Quikrete Walkmaker forms are 2 foot by 2 foot and conveniently hold one 80­-pound bag of concrete, so homeowners can work on the path at their own pace.

Remember when working with cementitious products, always wear eye protection and gloves.

Steps for laying a path

* Remove the sod and soil to the desired width, shape and length of path, keeping it as flat and level as possible.

* Thoroughly mix the concrete and water in a wheelbarrow with a garden hoe, shovel or in a concrete mixer according to the directions on the bag.

* Lay the form at the beginning of the path and fill with concrete mix, being sure to press the concrete firmly into the corners with a trowel.

* Promptly remove the form and smooth the edges of the path with a trowel before the concrete mix hardens. For a nonslip finish, brush the surface with a stiff broom.

* Continue by rotating the form a quarter turn and placing against the completed section of the path. Then fill with the concrete mix, remove the form and smooth the surface. Repeat the process until the path is complete.

* To create a curved walkway, after removing the form from the freshly poured section of path, reposition the form in the direction of the curve and press down to slice off the corner. Use a trowel to consolidate and smooth cut-off edges.

The path can be further customized by incorporating liquid colors, stains, and/or embedding gravel or other small aggregates into the concrete.

For more tips on laying a concrete path using forms and pre­mixed packaged concrete, visit www.quikrete.com or look for QUIKRETE on Facebook.