A cobblestone path or walkway can enhance your landscaping, complement your home's exterior and may just catch the eye of your neighbors. Pathmate walk molds or templates provide DIYers a relatively inexpensive method for installing this type of walkway. Made of hard, durable plastic, the mold has several cavities, which you fill with cement to form natural-looking stepping stones. Once you've formed one set of stones, you simply reuse the mold to form another set and repeat the process until your walkway is complete.
Things You'll Need
- Landscape marking chalk
- Flat-edge shovel
- 60-pound bags of quick-setting concrete
- Water supply and hose
Powdered cement color (optional)
- Pointer trowel
Pea stone/gravel (optional)
- Sand or moss (optional)
Plan and Prepare
Step 1: Mark the Path
Decide on the location and width of your walkway. Pathmate molds can be laid end-to-end to make an 18-inch wide walkway or side-to-side to make a 24-inch walkway. Once you've made these decisions, spray landscape marking chalk along the perimeter of the planned path.
Step 2: Remove the Sod and Dirt
Protect your hands with work gloves and dig along the sprayed lines with a flat-edge shovel. Remove about 1 inch of the sod and dirt. Save the sod for later use -- to fill in any gaps along the sides of the walkway.
Step 3: Smooth and Level
For best results, flatten and smooth out the bottom of the shallow trench. Use a carpenter's level to check for level, and if necessary, add or remove dirt to make the trench as level as possible.
Form the Walkway
Step 1: Position the Mold
Start at one end of your walkway and set the mold in the trench. Rest a carpenter's level across the mold to recheck for level and make any necessary adjustments.
Step 2: Mix the Cement
Each mold requires a 60-pound bag of cement. Pour one bag into a mixing barrel, and add 3 quarts of water. Screw the lid onto the barrel, turn it on its side and roll it back and forth on the ground for 60 seconds to mix the concrete.
To customize your walkway with color, add powdered cement color during the mixing process. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when adding the color.
Step 3: Fill the Cavities
Unscrew the top of the mixing barrel and pour the mixture into the cavities of the mold. With short, poking strokes, work the cement into each cavity with a pointer trowel. Take your trowel, scrape off any excess cement and smooth the surface until it is even with the top of the mold.
Step 4: Remove the Mold
Let the cement sit for one to five minutes. Grasp the edges of the mold, gently wiggle it free from the cement and carefully lift the mold. Wet your trowel often and use it to smooth the edges of each molded stone. Hose down the template, set it in the trench, align it with the edges of the stones you just installed and check for level. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 to create another set of stepping stones. Continue this process for the length of your walkway. Allow the cement stones to cure for a minimum of 24 hours.
While the cement is still wet, imprint your child's hand for a personalized touch. If you want texture, press pea stone into the cement.
If you do imprint your child's hand, immediately rinse his hand with water to avoid skin irritations.
Step 5: Finish the Project
Take some of the sod and dirt you initially removed and pack it into the perimeter gap running along each side of the walkway. If you want to fill in the gaps between the stones, sprinkle sand over the stones and brush it into the gaps. Mist the stones with water, allow the sand to settle and repeat. Or, for a natural look, fill in the gaps with moss and allow it to grow.