Creative Use For Landscape Timbers — Make a Walkway!

by Tim Layton on May 29, 2012 Google+

in Exteriors

landscape timber walkway

So there I was, happily strolling down the aisle in Home Depot, when the splash of green caught my eye. I tried to stay focused on my mission. You know how men shop.

But I couldn’t do it. I had to look and, once I looked, I had to get a closer look.

It was the scrap-pile. Who can pass a heap of discarded wood without looking through it? Not I.

The green was spray painted on the ends of a few bits of landscape timber. There were five or six of them in various lengths of about 30-50 inches. A quick look at the little color/pricing key and I determined that these were only fifty-cents each. Fitty cent!

My head was swimming with ideas. The winning solution for me was to create a little wall to hide the garbage cans, so I threw down my $3.00 or so and loaded-em up. (I did complete my original mission of-course, though I can’t recall what that was)

The Judge Speaks

Marriage is a democracy. My wife has a super-majority vote. She can veto anything she wants and change laws at will. It’s a real power trip for her you can tell.

She said no (thank you) to the little wall to hide the garbage cans, citing the observant reality that the proposed structure would only serve any purpose from a single vantage point in the vacant lot across the street. Whatever… did I tell you these were fifty cents?

Back to the drawing board.

We’ve recently rearranged some fencing and we needed a walkway to get from a side porch (seen here) to our wood deck in the back yard (seen here). Landscape timbers are great for direct ground contact for a couple of reasons:

  1. They’re really thick and thus take a beating and last a long time.
  2. They’re treated with space age chemicals that keep them from rotting or being eaten by bugs (for the foreseeable future anyway).
  3. They’re fifty cent. (actually new ones are about $2.50 – $3.00 each for 8′ lengths)

So I decided to make a walkway.

I’ve never made a walkway out of landscape timbers before and all of the wooden walkways I have made have been made like a deck. They require framing underneath and deck boards on top. So that means they require money (more lumber) and time (this wasn’t my plan for the day).

So here’s what I did:

Step One -

I cut the landscape timbers all down to the same length. Mine are about 19.5 inches which worked out great.

It’s easy to cut a bunch the same length by setting up a chop saw (miter saw) with something to stop the board at the same place each time. In my case I set my saw on the deck so the blade was 19.5″ from the trunk of a palm tree. Then I just kept pushing boards against the tree and cutting. So long as the saw doesn’t move, they’re all the same.

(I did have to go back to Home Depot for about 8 full length boards to get enough material)

Step Two -

We simply raked the ground to a semi-flat and level surface. My place is very island-like so I just go with that vibe and save myself time on projects like this. If my home was relatively formal, I would have taken more time to get the ground perfectly level.

I had some crushed concrete (sort of like thick sand) laying around so I used that to fill large dips in the ground. Basically just pour it out and rake it smooth. If I didn’t have that material I just would have had to work a little harder to even out the surface.

Landscape Timber Walkway 2

Step Three-

I laid all the 19.5″ landscape timber pieces in-place one against the other. As you can see in the picture.

Step Four -

I had some other lumber laying around to use to hold it all together. As you can see in the pictures I have long 1×4 boards on each side of the walkway. These are very important because they lock the smaller pieces in-place.

You could probably get a decent job just laying the 1×4′s against the landscape timbers then backfilling dirt against them. I wanted to be extra sure it would all stay together for awhile so I used my new favorite mega-glue (crazy good stuff) to glue the side-boards to the ends of the landscape timbers.

I just ran a bead of glue along the entire board where it would hit the landscape timbers then put it in place.

I held it in place with some trim nails. The nails will rust away, they were only to hold it while the glue dried.

Step Five -

To really lock it all in position, I filled both sides with about 4″ thick placement of mulch. This will keep anything from really moving.

Final Outcome -

This whole job took me and my two teenage sons about four hours to do. The total cost in materials was less than $40.00 for a walkway that is 15′ long and almost 2′ wide, so just over a buck a square foot. You can’t do much for that.

It’s very solid. Better than I expected. I suspect I owe much of that to the amazing glue.

In the end, I don’t think I’d really do anything differently. It does the job, looks really cool, and feels great to walk on barefoot (a major condition of walking surfaces here, where shoes aren’t voluntarily worn).

Oh, and the wife loves it. So there ya go.

- Tim

I’m loving using PicMonkey to alter photos, I did a video on EverythingEtsy.com teaching how… here

Article by Tim Layton

{ 1 comment }

1 Franki Parde May 30, 2012 at 8:12 am

You “nailed this!” We love to “recycle” items (pieces of left over wood make photo frames, etc.) Great look and useful, too. Keep it coming! franki

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