How to Build a Log Pathway

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One of the best ways to define and protect a pathway is to lay it with a base of logs. Doing so gives paths a certainty and a durability. Any sprawling backyard or garden path can have the nostalgia and permanence of a national park and the convenience of a boardwalk. Laying down packed dirt and gravel underneath the pathway of logs helps prevent them from eroding after rainstorms and shifting their positions greatly with time.

Things You'll Need

  • Axe
  • Machete
  • Shovel
  • Tamp
  • Gravel or other filler
  • Tape measure
  • Logs, 3 feet long
  • Metal stakes, 12 inches long
  • Hammer
  • Clear out any upright or fallen trees in the way of the path using an axe. Chop the trees into usable logs to help construct the path. Use a machete to clear out any tall grasses or weeds, chopping the plants to just a few inches above the ground using long, sweeping motions and shorter, more intense motions when necessary.

  • Shovel out the ground in the area of the pathway, turning the dirt over to kill the grass. Toss the dirt or grass sod to the sides and use it to patch up other sections of the lawn. Clear a path by shoveling up the dirt in a pathway at least 3 feet wide. Continue shoveling the remainder of the path, using the help of assistants if possible. Tamp down the earth firmly in place.

  • Shovel gravel, wood chips, dirt or other filler material over the entire footpath area of the path, making a layer at least 1 inch thick. Rake the filler material out so that it is distributed in an even layer over the entire pathway.

  • Lay down 3-foot logs side by side to make the pathway. Build them up slightly on either side with the filler gravel or other material.

  • Fasten the logs in place permanently by hammering 12-inch metal stakes into the ground along the path. Position the stakes along the outside of the path, pressing inward on the logs. Repeat this process every 3 feet along the path.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves and eye protection when clearing brush and trees from the pathway to protect yourself from poison ivy, oak, sumac and other dangerous plants that can easily cause a reaction on uncovered skin. These plants are especially prevalent in underused areas that require clearing.

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