Creating Space for Thanksgiving Guests

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Nov 24, 2015


It's hard for me to believe that in just a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. If you host a large gathering of family and friends for Thanksgiving each year, you may be wondering how to fit all of your guests around the dinner table! Or if you have family staying overnight, you may be thinking about the sleeping arrangements. In this week's post, I have a few ideas on how to create space for your guests so everyone can enjoy Thanksgiving together.

Making Room for Overnight Guests

If you have six overnight guests and one guest room, you'll have to improvise when it comes to the sleeping arrangements. For example, if you have a daybed that serves as a sofa, you can let one of your guests sleep on it. Setting up two or three cots in the rec room is a good idea if you have young kids staying overnight. They can bring along their own pillows for additional comfort. I know there are lots of kids who get a kick out of sleeping on their very own cot! Another idea is to find sleeping bags and let your young guests have a slumber party on the floor of the living room. I think an overstuffed recliner also serves as an excellent bed for a guest. I suggest you give the person a fluffy pillow and warm blanket to make the chair all the more cozy. If you have a screened porch, put a cot or two out there for guests. Of course, this is a good idea only if you live in a warm climate.

Creating Space at the Dinner Table

A table that seats eight is wonderful if you plan to feed just eight guests at Thanksgiving. But if you have more guests than chairs at your Thanksgiving table, you'll have to get creative. For instance, if you're eating in the kitchen, you could sit two or three people at a roomy kitchen counter: Find a few comfortable stools with cushions on them to slide beneath the counter. I enjoy sharing Thanksgiving dinner with family at the dining room table. You can add space to a dining room table by extending the main table with a couple of folding card tables. Be sure to close the gaps between the tables: No one wants to see a beautiful Thanksgiving turkey fall through the cracks! Also, get one or more tablecloths to cover all three tables. If you need places for just three or four guests, set up a single card table near the main table. Try to find a tablecloth for the card table that matches the one on your dining room table.

And if you live in a warm climate, consider hosting this year's Thanksgiving dinner outside. Line up some picnic tables so you'll have room for all of your guests. In addition, set the table with real plates and silverware to add to the occasion. Your guests can pass the mashed potatoes, cranberries, and other dishes right down the row. An al fresco Thanksgiving celebration can provide you with plenty of space for your loved ones. Enjoy your celebrations, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Your November Home Maintenance Checklist

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Nov 17, 2015

The month of November is the perfect time to start getting your home ready for winter. There are some tasks that are much easier to complete while the weather is still reasonably warm and there's no snow on the ground. This week, I thought I'd share a few items that should be on your home maintenance checklist for November.

Clean the Gutters

It's a good idea to remove leaves and twigs from your gutters and downspouts. Be sure to ask a family member or friend to hold the ladder as you do your work. Rainwater that's not allowed to move freely through your gutters can damage your roof. Plus, when clumps of leaves clog a downspout, water is not able to move away from your home and could eventually damage its foundation. If you don't feel confident about getting up on a ladder and looking into your gutters, there are professionals who can give your gutters a thorough cleaning.

Inspect Your Porch Railings and Outside Steps

It's important to make sure that your porch railings are sturdy before the cold weather sets in. You want to have a strong railing to hold onto if your porch becomes slippery after a snowfall. Also, inspect any outside steps to see that the concrete isn't broken or chipped. This sort of damage can make steps all the more treacherous when it snows.

Clean Indoor Vents and Change the Furnace Filter

As the temperatures begin to drop, it's a smart idea to vacuum the dust and dirt out of the vents in your home. Also, replace your old furnace filter with a new one. The goal is to do everything you can to allow warm air to circulate freely throughout your home. I like to adjust the vent openings as I make sure they are all free of dust and cobwebs.

Clean the Fireplace and Chimney

I love to light that first log in the fireplace each autumn; don't you? If you have a fireplace that you love to use throughout the winter, be sure to include it on your November maintenance checklist. Sweep out the ashes and throw away the remains of any burnt logs or newspaper. As a note, creosote and soot can accumulate in a chimney, creating a fire hazard, so you may want to think about having your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional.

Prep Your Shed

Prepare your shed for winter by inspecting its windows. Replace worn-out weatherstripping to keep the cold air and snow from creeping inside the structure. Also, check to see if any weatherstripping is needed around the door. Inspect the walls of the shed both inside and out to make sure there is no damage. Finally, put a cover over your lawnmower, tools, and other items that will stay in your shed over the cold-weather months.

Switch the Screen Door for a Storm Door

If you have a screen door on the front or back of your house, it's time to replace it with a storm door. A sturdy storm door can prevent warm air from escaping your home. Be sure to put a blanket or tarp over your screen door before storing it in your shed or garage for the winter. That way, it will be in great condition and ready to go back up when springtime rolls around again!

Enjoy those brisk autumn breezes, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Turning Your Garage Into A Haunted House

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Oct 30, 2015

When you think of your garage, you may picture a workshop, a storage area for boxes and bicycles, or simply the place where you park your car each night. But have you ever pictured your garage as a haunted house? With a little creativity, your garage can turn into a spooky place that the kids in your neighborhood will remember for many Halloweens to come. Take a look at a few ideas that can transform your garage into a haunted house.

Make Some Space

Removing bulky items from your garage is the first step toward transforming it into a haunted house. This may mean putting your lawn mower, snow blower, and wheelbarrow into the backyard for a little while. Also, if you have a wall of tools, cover it up with an old tarp so it won't be disturbed by your visitors. Give yourself plenty of free space to work with!

Cover the Windows

You may want to open up your haunted garage for late afternoon visitors. If so, you need to block out the sunlight. Set an eerie atmosphere in your garage by covering the windows with heavy black construction paper. Black construction paper is inexpensive and probably the best option, but you could also tape black trash bags over the windows. If you want to put black paint on your windows, be sure it's the kind that washes off easily.

Create a Maze

If you have a two-car garage or one that is fairly large, you may want to create a maze inside it. You can divide your garage into sections by hanging sheets of black gossamer from the ceiling with eye hooks and fishing line. Black gossamer is sold in most fabric stores. Make a design that allows a couple of feet of walking space between the sheets of gossamer. I think the filmy look of gossamer enhances the creepy atmosphere inside a haunted garage.

Sound and Light

You can do a lot with sound and lighting to increase the creep factor of your creation. I'm a fan of playing background music that features the sounds of chains rattling, cauldrons bubbling, winds howling, and strange creatures cackling. Also, replace the regular bulbs in your garage with black light bulbs. These bulbs will cause the white objects in your garage to take on an eerie glow. Also, make some glow-stick ghosts to hang from the ceiling.

Unexpected Scares

Now that you've set the atmosphere in your haunted garage, it's time to come up with some good scares. One fun idea is a haunted scarecrow. First, build a traditional-looking scarecrow complete with a straw hat, plaid shirt, and even a fake crow on its shoulder, but leave the scarecrow's arms out of the design. Put the scarecrow in one dark corner of your garage and hide behind it. When visitors walk by, wave your arms from behind the scarecrow to give them a scare. Don't forget to wear a plaid shirt that matches the one on your scarecrow!

Another idea involves getting a large cardboard box, placing it on the floor, and painting the words "DANGER, DO NOT OPEN" and "CAUTION" on its sides in glow-in-the-dark paint. Ask one of your kids or a kid in your neighborhood to sit inside the box and start shaking it, pawing at its sides and growling whenever visitors walk by to give them a scare. For an added jolt, your young apprentice may want to put on a glove made to look like a bear's claw and push it out through a hole in the box as people walk by.

Another easy way to scare visitors can be accomplished with the help of an old jack-in-the-box. Cover the toy with a sheet made up like a ghost and place it on a table. Then, ask a young neighbor to hide behind the table and turn the crank so the jack-in-the-box pops up as visitors approach the table.

Don't Forget the Exterior Décor

Put candles in some jack-o'-lanterns and place them around your haunted garage to attract the attention of the neighbors. I think jack-o'-lanterns are ideal for setting a scary atmosphere, don't you? Use some dry ice to create a thin layer of fog around the entrance to your garage. Try making pipe-cleaner spiders and placing them on fake, gauzy webs around the door. Find an old broom and a costume witch's hat to lean against the side of your garage: Tell visitors she is just taking a quick break inside! A battery-operated ghost can be another spooky addition to your outdoor décor. These ghosts are available in many toy stores and light up as they travel back and forth along a thin cable.

Feel free to start with these ideas and see what other creepiness you can come up with for your haunted garage. Good luck, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Your Fall Leaf Cleanup Guide

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Oct 28, 2015

If you live in a yard with a lot of trees, you might be seeing the leaves start to pile up outside your window. There are many ways for homeowners to remove leaves from their lawn. You may have a leaf blower that conveniently moves the leaves into piles in your yard. Or, maybe you invested in a mower that vacuums the leaves and stores them in a bag as you cruise across the yard. Of course, there is always the traditional rake standing in the corner of your garage waiting to get down to work. Once you gather up the leaves the question becomes what to do with them? Consider a few ideas on how to dispose of the fallen leaves covering your lawn.

Put the Leaves into Decorative Trash Bags

One thing to do with piles of leaves is to stuff them into decorative garbage bags. An advantage that comes with this option is that you're adding to your outdoor Halloween décor as you're disposing of leaves. There are garbage bags designed to look like monsters, pumpkins and ghosts when stuffed to the brim with leaves. At the end of the month, you can open the bags and dispose of the leaves. Of course, if you don't want to deal with the hassle of shoveling leaves into bags, you may want to go with another option.

Add the Leaves to a Compost Pile

Leaves are a great addition to a compost pile. Using them as compost contributes nutrients to the soil and helps keep the other materials in the pile from clumping together. The biggest advantage of using leaves as compost is they don't cost a cent! However, you have to consider whether you want to take the time to load up a wheelbarrow with leaves, roll them to your compost pile and spread them around.

Use Your Leaves as Mulch

Another idea is to use leaves as mulch in your garden. It's helpful to shred the leaves with your lawnmower, so they'll be easier to spread around. Many people like using leaves as mulch, because they feed earthworms and other creatures that help gardens flourish in the springtime. One disadvantage of using leaves as mulch is that you have to be careful of the types of leaves you put into your garden. For instance, walnut and eucalyptus leaves contain elements that can prevent the growth of plants. This can be tricky if you have these trees mixed in with others in your yard.

Put Aside a Box of Leaves for Fun Art Projects

If you have children or grandchildren who love crafts, a box of leaves can be the starting point for some fun projects. One easy art project involves making a leaf rubbing. Kids and adults can use their creativity as they choose a variety of leaves for the project, as well as the colors and paper. I think a colorful leaf rubbing would be a perfect addition to any refrigerator door, don't you? Creating a leaf collage is another idea for a kid's art project. Simply paste different types of leaves on a piece of construction paper or even a piece of poster board. Parents looking for a creative/educational project can get their child to remove various types of leaves from the box and identify them. Gluing each leaf to a piece of paper and labeling it is a fun way to get a kid to remember specific types of leaves. To take the project a step further, take your child or grandchild out into the yard to identify the tree that dropped each leaf.

I hope these ideas supply you with the inspiration you need to go out and start cleaning up those leaves. Thanks for reading.-Alan

Make Your Own Backyard Pumpkin Bowling

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Oct 20, 2015


A crisp autumn day is the perfect time to invite friends and family over for a fun game outdoors. Luckily, there are plenty of outdoor games that can entertain both the adults and the kids in your group. Have you ever heard of pumpkin bowling? Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. It's a game of bowling played with pumpkins instead of bowling balls. Check out some easy ways to set up for an exciting game of pumpkin bowling in your own backyard!

Creating Your Alley

It takes just a few minutes to set up practically any type of alley for backyard pumpkin bowling. If you have access to some hay bales, you may want to use them to make your alley. Simply set up two rows of four medium-sized hay bales. Be sure to leave about four feet of space between the rows so there's enough room left for your bowling pins. The hay bales keep your bowling pins contained and add to your outdoor autumn décor. Another way to create a backyard bowling alley is to set up two rows of mini garden fences. Many people use these metal mini fences to mark the edges of their garden. They're about five or six inches tall with legs that slide easily into the ground. Use them to make your alley, and then put them back in your garden when the game is complete.

Choosing Bowling Pins

You can get plastic bowling pins at a toy store, but you could have trouble standing them up if the ground is uneven. You may want to look for some real bowling pins at a secondhand store or junk shop or even on eBay. Buying them new can be costly, so it's worth looking for ten used pins. Or, instead of bowling pins, you could use small plastic water bottles, empty milk jugs, or discarded 2-liter soda bottles. If you want to enjoy a game of backyard pumpkin bowling at night, try putting a glow stick in each of the ten plastic bottles you're using as pins. You'll get a kick out of seeing a gathering of glow sticks in different colors tumbling onto the grass.

Choosing Pumpkins

Though you can make substitutions for the bowling pins, you must have a pumpkin or two to properly play this game. I suggest finding a few pumpkins of different sizes. Younger players can use a smaller, lightweight pumpkin, while older players must use bigger pumpkins. You may want to find a huge pumpkin to see if anyone has the muscles to get it down the alley to knock over the pins. If you don't want to cut the stems off of your pumpkins, your guests can turn the pumpkins on their sides to roll them.

How to Play the Game

The goal is the same for pumpkin bowling as it is for regular bowling. The first step is to set up ten pins in a normal formation. Next, write every player's name on the score sheet. You may even want to buy a box of the short pencils used in real bowling alleys. Each person gets a turn and must record their score on the sheet. Of course, you don't have to keep score to have a great time with backyard pumpkin bowling.

Finally, have some treats ready to award as prizes. I suggest small bags of snack-size candy bars, canning jars full of candy corn, or gift certificates. Try pumpkin bowling this fall and have a blast in your backyard! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Fun Landscaping Ideas for the Fall

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Oct 3, 2015


"Landscaping around your carport with evergreen trees is one way to set it apart"

The arrival of fall brings along with it some breathtaking colors. I love to see the red, yellow, and orange leaves appearing on the trees all around my neighborhood. You may think you have to wait until next spring to spruce up your yard, but that's not true. There are plenty of imaginative landscaping ideas perfect for autumn. Here are a few examples to get you started. Enjoy!

Create Ground Cover

One way to add some fall color to your yard is to plant ground cover. For instance, cranberry cotoneaster is fast-growing ground cover that features dark leaves and bright red berries in autumn. In the springtime, you get to enjoy its pale pink flowers. A cranberry cotoneaster can grow to be three feet tall and cover up to five feet of ground. It does best when planted in an area that receives full sun. Another popular type of ground cover is Zeblid Scarletta. This type of ground cover grows to be about three feet wide and three or four feet tall. In early spring into summer, it has fragrant white flowers and burgundy leaves. In the fall, its leaves turn a deep shade of copper. This plant flourishes in an area with partial shade. I like the idea of having plants that continue to transform themselves right through the fall season; don't you?

Get a Pergola

A pergola is a great addition to a yard any time of the year! It's the perfect place to hang strings of white lights to decorate for a gathering with friends on a cool autumn evening Or, you could embellish the look of your pergola with Virginia creeper vine. The deep red leaves of this plant are practically a symbol of fall. Decorating a pergola with English ivy is another idea if you're looking for attractive vining that does well in the cooler weather.

Plant Evergreens

Fall is an excellent time to plant evergreen trees and shrubs. By planting them in the fall, you're giving their roots time to develop in the warm soil. Evergreen trees are available in many shapes and textures that can lend year round interest to the appearance of your yard. Plus, thick evergreen trees and shrubs serve as shelter for many birds that don't fly south for the winter.

Plant Flowers That Love the Cool Weather

Did you know that there are flowers that flourish in the cooler temperatures? These blooms are something to consider when creating your fall landscape. Polar pansies are available in brilliant blue, pink, yellow, white, and orange. These flowers can be planted in the fall and are frost-tolerant. It's an incredible sight to see these beautiful blooms pressing upward from beneath a late February snowfall! Russian sage is another plant that loves the cool weather. This sturdy plant features a unique silver-blue color. Chrysanthemums, Dianthus, and snapdragons are other flowers that aren't afraid of the cold temperatures.

So now you have some fall landscaping ideas for your backyard this year. As the mornings get cooler, don't forget to put a scarf and winter hat on your favorite garden gnome! Thanks for reading. - Alan

This is How You Should Be Using Pallets In Your Yard

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Oct 3, 2015


"This is how Alan's Factory Outlet Amish made gazebo kits are delivered on a pallet"

Do you have a wooden pallet or two sitting in one corner of your shed or garage? If so, you have the basic materials for a fun item for your yard. As long as a pallet is in good condition, it can take on new life and make your yard a more pleasant place to be. This week's post is all about the creative ways you can transform a discarded pallet. Enjoy!

A Comfortable Bench or Chair

A pallet bench or chair is a sturdy addition to any backyard. A few cushions or decorative pillows can instantly add an element of comfort to these outdoor furnishings. If you want to make a piece of pallet furniture more attractive, I suggest you give it a coat or two of paint. Make sure the paint is suitable for outdoor furniture. An Adirondack-style chair in pale blue or a white bench decorated with stencils are just two ways to dress up your pallet furniture.

A Coffee Table

If you choose to create a bench, chair, or sofa out of pallets, you'll likely want a coffee table to complete the picture. You can make a coffee table with casters using a couple of large pallets. I think one of the best things about this coffee table is that you can move it around the patio with ease. Once again, staining or painting your pallet table makes it all the more stylish.

A Sandbox That Can Be Tucked Away During the Cold Weather

Do you have kids who dream of having their own sandbox? Well, you can make that dream happen with the help of some discarded wooden pallets. You can create a unique sandbox for the backyard that can be closed up to protect it from the elements. The design of this sandbox includes a bench for kids to sit on as they perfect their castles and moats. Not only are you making a fantastic sandbox for your kids, but you're showing them how a little bit of creative thinking can give new life to a discarded item.

An Outdoor Pallet Bar

Have your ever wanted a place to serve refreshments to friends and family in the backyard? If so, you may want to consider making an outdoor pallet bar. This particular bar features a counter made of bricks. You could also create a counter for your bar out of an old piece of plywood. Serving drinks here is one idea, or you could simply use it as a buffet table for a barbecue. Either way, it's an item that is both practical and attractive for your patio or yard.

A Vertical Garden

A vertical garden is another popular way to reuse wooden pallets. You may want to hang a pallet on a wall to make it easier to care for the plants inside it. Petunias, marigolds, and pansies are just a few of the colorful flowers that are ideal for a vertical garden fashioned out of a wooden pallet. I also like the idea of planting herbs like mint, thyme, and parsley in a vertical garden. Now that's one way to have plenty of herbs on hand for a recipe!

If you don't have any empty pallets sitting around your property, try checking with a warehouse or big-box store in your area. A business owner with a large supply of discarded pallets may be more than happy to donate a few to a do-it-yourselfer with a great idea. Thanks for reading. - Alan

The Right Way To Lounge In Your Yard

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Oct 1, 2015


I have a new addition for your to-do list: Spend some time watching late summer turn into early fall from a comfortable spot in your own yard. Whether you want to kick back in a gently swaying hammock or study the changing leaves from the comfort of an outdoor sofa, this is the perfect time of year to enjoy some time outside. There are plenty of options for homeowners who want to set up a mini-getaway in their yard. I thought I'd use this week's post to throw a few appealing ideas your way. Enjoy!

A Hammock

When you think of a hammock, you may picture the one that Gilligan slept on in the popular 1960s television show Gilligan's Island. But we've come a long way since then. There are many types available for sale, or you can make a hammock that suits your preferences. Some hammocks are made of soft muslin fabric that supports your body like a sling. Other hammocks are made of woven fabric, polyester, or canvas. If you're a homeowner with lots of sturdy trees in your yard, a hammock is a great option for you. You can also enjoy a hammock if there are no trees in your yard: There are freestanding hammocks available that can be set up on a patio or even out on the lawn. These hammocks are easy to move so you can enjoy a different point of view every time you relax outside.

An Outdoor Sofa or Loveseat

I've noticed that a lot of outdoor sofas look exactly like indoor sofas, except they're designed to endure the rain and sunlight. Outdoor sofas are great for both small and large patios because they are available in many sizes. A homeowner with an intimate patio may choose a loveseat that fits perfectly with the space. Alternatively, a homeowner with a large yard may want to invest in a gazebo and place an outdoor sofa there. Decorative pillows, colorful fabrics, and throw blankets are all appealing touches for any durable outdoor sofa.

Pallet Seating

Sometimes, making a piece of furniture adds to your enjoyment of it. If you love DIY projects, you may want to make some pallet seating for your yard. The best part is that you're making a comfortable place to sit while giving new life to discarded wooden pallets! I love when I can save an item from the landfill. Cover a pallet sofa with brightly colored cushions and place it on a large porch. Or build a lounge chair out of pallets to relax in while you admire your small garden.

A Porch Swing

Today, you can have a porch swing even without a porch. There are porch swings available that can be attached to a stand set and put in the middle of a yard. If you are lucky enough to have an attractive fishpond in your yard, I suggest you position your swing at one edge of it. You can watch the fish swim around as you swing to your heart's content. Whether you attach your swing to a porch or opt for a freestanding model, make sure you choose one with dimensions that suit your yard or patio.

Now get out there and start lounging! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Which Water Feature Is Right For You?

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Sep 30, 2015


Interested in a water feature for your backyard? A water feature can come in the form of a fishpond, waterfall, fountain, or even a bird bath. It's something that brings the sights, sounds, and even the smell of water to a piece of property. I thought I'd use this week's post to show you some interesting water features that are worth considering for your own backyard.

A Backyard Fishpond

Is there anything more relaxing than watching lily pads float on a small fishpond? A fishpond is an ideal choice for backyards of all sizes. A fishpond can occupy one corner of an intimate backyard or take up several feet of space in a sprawling backyard. In my opinion, one of the best things about a fishpond is you can be as creative as you want when choosing the plants, rocks, fish, and even the lighting that will be a part of the scene. One downside of having a fishpond is that they can sometimes develop algae that can cause the pond to take on an unpleasant odor. Also, raccoons, dogs, and other creatures sometimes invade fishponds to steal fish and tear up the plant life. But a fishpond is still an ideal option if you want a relaxing place to sit and watch colorful fish.

A Backyard Waterfall

If you want to take a basic fishpond scene a step further, you may consider putting in a fishpond with a waterfall. I think that waterfalls add beauty to a backyard fishpond, don't you? They also help to circulate the water, which can prevent algae from forming on the pond's liner. There are many attractive designs for waterfalls. A waterfall can be a small spillway disguised by decorative rocks at one end of your pond. Or you may opt for a more elaborate waterfall with water cascading down several stone steps. Though there are many benefits of having a waterfall in a fishpond, there are some drawbacks. For one, sometimes, the pump that operates the waterfall can malfunction, which may require you to remove it from beneath the water and reinstall a replacement. Also, if a waterfall involves an arrangement of stones, they can sometimes be pushed out of their arrangement by dogs, deer, and other animals. I think these risks are minimal compared to the enjoyment you can get from a backyard waterfall.

A Container Fountain

What if you're interested in a water feature for your backyard, but you don't really want a fishpond? I'd say that a container fountain may be just what you're looking for. This is essentially an attractive container with a fountain at its top. These containers are available in all sorts of designs. You could get one that looks like a large Grecian urn, an old-fashioned barrel, or even an elegant planter. There is a pump inside the container that keeps the water flowing. Depending on the container's design, the area around the fountain may feature decorative stones or flowers. A container fountain is a great idea for a homeowner who wants to go with a simple water feature for the garden. One disadvantage of having a container fountain is that the lighter ones can be knocked over and broken by pets or even older children. Plus, if you purchase one that sits low to the ground, don't be surprised if the family dog claims it as its own personal drinking fountain!

I hope you feel inspired by these water feature ideas. Why not add a little splash to your backyard this year? Thanks for reading. - Alan

How To Create Your Own Walkway

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Sep 21, 2015


Creating a walkway in your yard can lend a sense of harmony to the look of your property. You may create a brick walkway that leads from your house to the in-ground swimming pool in the backyard. Or you could make a gravel walkway that leads through your beloved garden. You won't be surprised when I say that I love seeing a flagstone walkway leading up to an attractive garden shed. If you decide to create a walkway, it's a good idea to learn what's involved in the process. Take a look at some of the most important details.

Where to Put Your Walkway

There are countless places to put a pathway in a backyard or elsewhere on a piece of property. If you have a small fishpond in your yard, you may want to put in a pathway that leads from the house to the pond. Or if you have a small fenced-in area for your dog, you could create a pathway between the house and the dog's backyard play area. Of course, it's best to choose a level piece of ground for the foundation of your pathway. Also, keep in mind that the design of your walkway can elongate the appearance of your yard or simply add interest to a flat section of ground. I suggest you take a good look at your yard before making a final decision on what type of pathway to create.

Tools and Materials Needed to Create a Walkway

Once you decide on the type of pathway you want, it's time to gather the tools and materials for the job. If you decide to build a brick walkway, your list of supplies should include a brick chisel, a level, a rubber mallet, a wheelbarrow, crushed limestone, bricks, sand, and landscaping fabric. Alternatively, creating a gravel pathway requires a materials list that includes stone pack, edging, landscaping fabric, and gravel. A square spade, a tamper, a steel rake, a utility knife, and a hammer are all tools necessary for building a gravel pathway. I'm willing to bet that you already have a lot of these tools in your garage.

The Steps of Building a Walkway

After choosing a location for your path, you have to demarcate it. Most pathways are about three feet wide. I think that's a good amount of space for one person on the path. The length of your path depends on where you want it to go. You can use wooden stakes and string to mark the area. I'll use a flagstone walkway as an example as I explain the steps involved in the building process. First, dig a trench that's about four inches deep inside the marked boundaries of your walkway. Next, attach a strip of steel edging on each wall of the trench. Steel edging prevents the foundation layer of pea stone from tumbling out of the trench and into the grass around your pathway. Roll a sheet of landscaping fabric onto the floor of your trench. This fabric keeps roots from growing up through your flagstone pathway. Pour the pea stone on top of the landscaping fabric, making sure the stones don't spill over the steel edging. The pea stone is the foundation for your flagstones. The final step is to firmly place each flagstone down on the layer of pea stone. Push down the flagstones so they sink into the pea stone, creating a stable pathway.

Just think of how much you'll love looking at a neat walkway of gravel, brick, flagstone, or mulch that you created with your own hands! Thanks for reading. - Alan

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