Clean Slate

The front of our house continues to transform (goodbye scalloped porch, hello red door), and this weekend we worked up the energy to tackle the jacked up front walk.

Why? Because this is the jagged and trip-inducing path that we inherited with the house. Talk about an ankle sprain waiting to happen:

We like a rustic cottage-y path, but ours was narrow, wobbly and not quite the inviting introduction to our front door that we envisioned. Plus, the previous owner had a thing for ornamental grass and wooden borders that were seriously cramping our style.

So this weekend we dug it up to make way for a bigger and better version. Here’s what it looked like after several hours of lugging beams, relocating plants and moving slate.

Lucky for us, between the previous path and the rubble from last summer’s back patio makeover (see bottom of the Gallery page), we had a huge supply of slate tiles just waiting to be put to work. All we had to do was piece them together in a tighter, wider pattern and we’d have a new, more grand and wobble-free walkway, right?

Wrong. This turned out to be a weekend-long puzzle involving some very heavy pieces. 48 twenty pound pieces to be exact. Here’s our progress after 2 hours of lifting n’ shifting at the end of Day 1. And by “end” I mean the point of muscle exhaustion.

Pretty sad, huh? So we started Day 2 with some ibuprofen and a divide and conquer strategy. Sherry started fitting pieces together by the porch and I picked up where we left off near the driveway. Three long hours later we had almost met in the middle.

And finally, after about 4 hours (and a few dozen hand cramps) our 900 pound puzzle was complete.

Much improved, no? The amazing part was that we were able to create the clean-edged curve on the right side of the path without cutting the slate. We just happened to have enough slabs with straight and curved edges to make it work. And the subtle variation in color among the slabs was also a happy accident that makes the whole path look a little more like bluestone (or some other more expensive material) due to the fact that every piece isn’t a uniform dark charcoal color. Not bad for a $0 project.

Unfortunately, we can’t check this project off our list quite yet. We still need to dig in all the slate tiles so that they’re completely level. And once they’ve settled, we’ll plant grass seed in the cracks for a charming cottage look that will blend seamlessly into our front yard… just as soon as we regain full function of our limbs again.

 

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