Wooden walkway ideas

Written by cathy welch
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  • Introduction

    Wooden walkway ideas

    Install a wooden walkway set on concrete pilings and 4-inch by 4-inch treated lumber posts, or roll out a temporary cedar walkway over mud or sand. Whether painted, stained or weathered, wooden walkways add a natural design element to your landscape. Coordinate your walkway style with your home's design to create a functional structure that enhances your landscape.

    A wooden walkway serves as a safe way to cross a small creek. (Seiya Kawamoto/Lifesize/Getty Images)

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    Assemble Construction Materials

    Cedar, juniper, redwood and pretreated lumber are optimal choices for a walkway. Termites do not like these woods, so the walkway will last longer. It's a great idea to purchase a few more planks than you will need for use in future repairs. Set 4-inch by 4-inch posts in concrete footings approximately every 12 inches to create a solid walkway that will last. Use galvanised or stainless steel, exterior-grade nails to fasten your walkway together for a long-lasting path.

    Buy nails that are long enough to properly anchor your walkway planks. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Add a Bridge

    If you have a creek, large ditch or dry creek bed in your yard, consider adding a bridge as a focal point in your landscape. A simple design that sits close to the water's surface is a good choice. Japanese gardens incorporate large, rounded drum bridges. Get a similar look with fewer materials, less work and reduced expense by building a smaller, arched bridge connecting one side of the creek to another. Add railings to each side of the bridge, and vary the materials to customise your bridge to fit your landscape. Build a flat bridge that simulates a pier to give your yard the feel of leading to a larger body of water.

    Flat bridges create the illusion that you are walking toward open water. (Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

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    Roll It Out

    For the homeowner who only needs a walkway from time to time, a purchased roll-out walkway is a sure bet. These walkways are available in a variety of decking material that is held together by a flexible plastic backing. If you have a vacation home or a landscape that is easily saturated, causing standing water, a ready-made walkway works well. Straight and curved walkway sections are available that allow you to lay out a path that suits your needs.

    A roll-out wooden walkway provides sure footing in sandy landscapes. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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    Revive It

    Wooden walkways tend to fade, split, rot and warp over time. The first step in restoring a walkway to like-new condition is to replace planks that are beyond repair. If you purchased extra boards and stored them for this purpose, just cut and nail or screw in place. If you do not have extra boards, purchase the same type of wood, and affix in place with the growth ring on the end of each board concave-down. This purposeful positioning helps to prevent cupping and splitting as the wood weathers. To bring back the original, fresh look of your wooden walkway's surface, use deck stripper to remove as much of the old finish as possible. This is best done on a cool, overcast day because the sun may cause the stripper to evaporate before it has a chance to perform its job. Use goggles and rubber gloves with deck stripper, as it can be caustic. If your boards are unfinished, clean them with deck cleaner and allow them to dry. If your wood is mildewed, use a deck cleaner with bleach. Stain your walkway with semi-transparent or longer-lasting solid exterior stain. Be prepared to re-treat your walkway every two or three years.

    Try your stain choice on a scrap of lumber to be sure you like the colour. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

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