How to make concrete paths in the country with your own hands
Garden and country paths need improvement. This can be done in different ways: backfilling with gravel or expanded clay, laying tiles. There is another option: pouring concrete mixture. It turns out a durable, strong, even street coating. If you wish, you can decorate it and get a high-quality imitation of wet stone, paving stones, tiles. We will understand all the intricacies of making concrete garden paths with our own hands.
How to fill a path with concrete
What are concrete walkways?
Instructions for the manufacture of tape-monolith
– Foundation preparation
— Filling the solution
Types of paths made of concrete
Concrete can be considered a type of artificial stone, you can buy it or make it yourself. They usually buy concrete street tiles. It is available in a variety of colors and shapes: stone imitation, paving stones, all kinds of geometric and abstract shapes. The owner can only put it in place. But there are other varieties of concrete paths. Let’s briefly describe each.
It is poured in solid strips, which gives the structure high strength. With proper arrangement, it is able to withstand the weight of not only people, but also vehicles. The tape can be of any shape; if desired, it is made independently. Concrete is durable and easy to clean, it can be decorated to your liking. The disadvantages of the monolith include the complexity in the arrangement and design. If mistakes are made, the concrete mixture will crack and crumble in a short time.
Casting tracks using molds
The solution is poured into the formwork laid on the prepared base, in which it hardens. It turns out a finish that imitates stone, brickwork. Forms of various sizes and types can be bought at hardware stores.
Sometimes, if you need a simple configuration, they are made independently. Making concrete garden paths using a mold is easier than a monolith. After all, you have to work with small fragments. If there are several formworks, the pouring process moves very quickly.
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A kind of monolith. After pouring onto a wet solution, a pattern is applied with a special stamp. It can be an imitation of paving stones, wild stone, wood, tiles. The stamp is pressed into the wet material with force, after which the surface is sprinkled with sand. After curing, prints remain on the concrete base, which form the pattern. The surface can be painted and additionally coated with protective compounds. Examples can be seen in the photo.
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Instructions for arranging a monolithic tape track
There are many options for arranging a garden path made of concrete. One of the most popular is the tape-monolith. We have prepared detailed instructions on how to pour a monolithic concrete path in the country with our own hands.
1. Structure design
Start by choosing a place where the path will be laid, and its direction. You need to choose the areas that are most often walked. There is no trajectory of movement on the new territory yet, it will have to be laid, focusing on our assumptions. For example, you will need a path to outbuildings, a flower garden, a pool, etc.
It is necessary to bypass objects near which it is undesirable to lay a concrete coating. These are, for example, trees, especially large ones. Over time, their root system is capable of destroying the structure, and the water flowing from the crown will provoke damage to concrete. It is undesirable to lay the coating on top of engineering communications. This will make them difficult to repair and can damage the highways.
Having determined the direction of the tracks, choose their width. A width of 0.6-0.8 m is considered comfortable, but if the area is small, you can make the paths narrower.
The last thing to decide is whether borders are needed. They protect the structure from shedding, help to bring out a clear edge and reduce the amount of earthwork during installation. True, this will complicate the work and make them more expensive. Therefore, they are not always used.
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2. Marking the path
Pegs are driven in along the entire length of the future path. The distance between them should be 300-500 cm. Be sure to put pegs in the corners, on turns. With the help of the building level, the slope of the structure is outlined. It must be done without fail so that puddles do not form on the surface. The slope from the center of the path to the edges is performed along the pour. But the longitudinal slope of the track is laid in the process of marking.
The optimal slope is 2 mm per meter of length. The runoff must be directed along the natural lowering of the relief. If this is not the case, it is necessary to consider where the water discharged from the road will flow. It is impossible for it to be directed, for example, under the walls of a building. Marks are applied to the pegs showing the future surface level. Then cords are pulled along them, which will become landmarks during construction.
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3. Foundation preparation
The technology of preparatory work depends on whether the curb will be installed or not. Let’s explore both options.
With curb mounting
Start by preparing grooves for installing curbstones. To do this, dig holes along the path with a width slightly larger than the width of the curb. The depth should be such that two-thirds of the height of the stone is on the surface. When everything is ready, proceed to the installation. A portion of the cement-sand mixture is poured onto the bottom of the groove. A curb stone is placed on it. Its inner edge is set exactly along the stretched cord. A correctly set curb is tapped with a rubber mallet or wooden mallet to seal the joint. The rest of the stones are laid in the same way.
With formwork installation
Formwork is placed if there are no curbs. It «holds» the liquid concrete mass until it hardens. Then the structure is removed. For its manufacture take boards or plywood. You will need a board 2-3 cm thick. You can take an unedged one, but one edge will still have to be cut. This is necessary so that the edge of the track is even. Plywood is smooth but less durable. It bends well, so it is chosen if the trail is curved. Work on the manufacture of formwork is carried out in the following sequence.
- Digging a trench. Its width should be equal to the width of the future path. The depth depends on the type of structure. If it is assumed that vehicles will drive on the coating, they deepen it by 250-400 mm. The same depth is chosen for weak soils. For walking paths, a depth of 200-250 mm is sufficient.
- The bottom of the excavated trench is compacted. You can do this with a rammer or spill the surface with water several times, tamp it down a little and let it dry.
- Install formwork. Expose boards or strips of plywood, focusing on the marking cord. So that the parts do not fall, they are sprinkled with earth from the outside. Before pouring, the formwork is lubricated with mining or liquid soap to make it easier to remove later.
- Install cross bars. They can be metal, wood or plastic. Partitions are needed to form expansion joints necessary for leveling seasonal loads. The distance between the partitions is 150-250 cm. If reinforcement is performed, the crossbars are placed less often.
After installing the formwork or curbs, the base is covered with geotextile or geonet. A sand cushion is arranged on top of it. Its height is slightly more than half the depth of the trench. You can do otherwise. Pour sand at the bottom, and a layer of rubble on top. But at the same time, one must understand that the gravel should be medium-sized, the fraction should not be more than 20 mm.
The next step is reinforcement. It is not always carried out, only if the future path will be subjected to significant loads or the soil under it is weak and heaving. For reinforcement, a mesh is taken from a bar 0.3-0.5 cm thick with mesh sizes from 5 to 10 cm. Reinforcement is laid, dividing it in areas of expansion joints. The depth of the laying should be such that there is at least 3 cm of concrete mixture on top of the bars. Otherwise, the metal will start to rust.
4. Filling the walkway with concrete
The cement-sand mixture is prepared on site or ordered ready-made. In any case, it must be quickly poured into the formwork. The recommended height of the concrete layer is from 40 to 60 mm for footpaths and from 60 to 100 mm for vehicles. The incoming solution is distributed until a layer of the required thickness is created. It needs to be leveled. The best way to do this is with a vibrator. If there is no such tool, they level it with a trowel, board or plank, with which vibration is imitated. Level the surface until the cement milk appears on it. It is advisable to fill the entire tape at the same time. But this is not always possible. In this case, work is stopped at the expansion joint.
In order for concrete to harden properly, it is necessary to create favorable conditions for it. Three to four hours after pouring, it is covered with a film so that the water does not evaporate too quickly. In the heat, it is even desirable to pour water on the hardening cement-sand mixture several times. After five to seven days, the film is removed, the formwork is removed. But it is possible to fully load the structure only after three to four weeks.
A concrete path in a country house or in a garden will become a real decoration if simple decorative techniques are used in the process of arranging it. To get a beautiful color, coloring pigments are added to the prepared solution. Or, a colored fixer is scattered on a freshly poured surface and rubbed into the base. To knead the color coating, it is better to use white cement, then the shades will be bright and saturated. You can additionally decorate the surface with stamps or apply a pattern with a spatula, stick, even your finger.
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