How to Build a Walkway With Wood
Wooden walkways are affordable and functional, often evoking the spirit of the West. Depending on length, you can typically build one in a single afternoon. Almost any kind of lumber will suffice, but pressure-treated lumber minimizes issues with rot, decay or insects when lumber is in contact with the ground.
Pressure-treated lumber may be hazardous to your health, so wear gloves, eye and breathing protection.
Things You Will Need
- 4-by-4-inch, pressure-treated posts
- Sledge hammer
- 3/4-by-1 1/2-by-8-inch pressure-treated stakes
- Landscaping fabric
- 1 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch pressure-treated planks
- Framing square
- 3-inch screws
Reject boards that have cracks, splits, warps or other defects. It's not necessary, but you can add longevity to the walkway by applying sealant specifically designed for pressure-treated lumber.
Tap wooden stakes into the ground to mark the terminating points of the proposed walkway. Stretch strings between the wedges to mark the sides of the walkway.
Score the soil along the strings with the tip of a shovel. Cut deep enough to penetrate sod if applicable. Remove the string.
Remove the sod or dirt from between the two scored lines to a depth of 2 1/2 inches with a shovel. Measure and cut 4-by-4-inch posts with a miter saw, so that the accumulated length matches the length of the walkway on both sides. Place the 4-by-4-inch posts horizontally inside the cutout area, flush to the side, butted end-to-end against each other.
Tap the sides of the posts with a sledge hammer to seat them horizontally against the sides and bottom of the cutout. Place a level across the posts. Use the hammer to pound the posts down to level it if needed. If too deep, remove the post and use the shovel to add more dirt as needed to level the posts. Hammer 3/4-by-1 1/2-by-8-inch pressure-treated stakes at the ends of each post on the inside, and in the middle if the posts are more than 72 inches in length. The stakes should be flush with the tops and sides of the posts.
Measure and cut landscaping fabric with a utility knife to fit between the posts. Spread the fabric inside the cutout area between the posts. Cover the fabric with 2 1/2-inches of sand.
Measure the distance between the horizontal posts on the outside and add 3 inches. Measure and use a miter saw to cut enough 1 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch pressure-treated boards to encompass the length of the walkway when placed side by side.
Place a square on the walkway at one end, aligning it with the post on one side. Place the first board on the walkway, perpendicular across the top of the horizontal posts using the square to align it. It should overhang the edges of the horizontal posts on both sides by 1 1/2 inches.
Drive two 3-inch screws through the contact points on the pieces on both edges using a drill/driver. Drive the screws in deep enough to bury the screw head. You don't need to drill pilot holes.
Place another board, squaring it with the previous one. Insert a 1/4-inch-thick wood spacer between the two boards. Flush everything together and repeat screwing the next board on. Remove the spacer and continue placing and screwing on boards until finished.
Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.
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- tortoon/iStock/Getty Images