We decorated our pavers with cement paint, broken pieces of pottery, plates, ceramics, marbles, even leaves, etc. To do this, you put whatever you want in the jar before pouring the cement in. The items dry into the top of the paver. We used cans of different sizes and it offered variety in the walkway. I think we found that we saved almost $250 by not buying pre-made pavers, and it was a lot of fun doing it. If you choose, you can really smooth out the top of the cement once it’s poured, let it set up a bit and make handprints in them, or whatever you like, and then use that side for the top.
Crushed stones or compost make the cheapest walkways
One of the cheapest walks is of gravel or crushed stone (granite, limestone, etc.), which can be difficult to walk on for some individuals. Personally, I like compost placed between landscape timbers sunk into the ground. Be sure to place a weed block cloth under whatever you choose to use. It helps you avoid those annoying weeding adventures.
If you can afford it, prefab blocks that come in a variety of shapes, colors and textures add a nice decorative touch and help control dirt tracking into the house.
Related: Free and Extremely Inexpensive Sources of Compost for Your Garden and Yard
Try homemade concrete molds for an easy walkway
Why not do as I did and just make those lovely homemade concrete slabs. You can find the instructions in almost any craft book at the library. I used plaster, but my neighbor used concrete. Mix according to instructions, pour into any box or any shape you like. I used pizza boxes and filled them halfway.
Then I decorated each one in different ways, added dried flowers etc, then just left to dry. When I was done, I pushed down into the ground. Three of them have the names of my grandchildren, who they love to see when they visit! I even had them put their hands and footprints in their own. Be creative and have fun! Of course I did!
Think Beyond the Walkway
I would suggest creating a small but inviting garden and social center in your small space. More people are focusing on getting to know their neighbors a little, and this is a great way to do it! First, temporarily remove the planters and save them. This allows you to create a walkway that isn’t a long, narrow path from street to door. If you’re looking for deals, you can pick up pink concrete patio blocks for about 85 cents each. You need about 100 for a “winding walkway 3 feet wide and 20 feet long.
Design the walking area, clear it of rocks, level it and lay down landscape netting, available in 3′ wide strips in 50′ lengths for about $4. This prevents the weeds from coming up. Over that spread about 1 1/2 inches of sand, moisten and press down. Place the blocks in a pattern you like. Along the edges use plastic edging to prevent the blocks from sliding. Prices vary, but the cheapest I’ve seen is around $10 for the amount you need.
Now you can replace planters, or use bark dust over landscape netting, and find interesting display pieces to sprinkle around, with pots of small trees, flowers or whatever appeals to you. I live pretty close to the ocean and the mountains, so my yard has some driftwood pieces, interesting rocks from hikes, a potted tree, and a $50 homemade pond (the pump). I sprinkle colorful flowers in the spring and have potted tomatoes, sugar snap peas growing up one wall, a cucumber plant in one little corner and a zucchini plant in another. I even saved enough space to put a very small round table and 2 chairs.
People walk by and first ask why I have all this in the front instead of the back. After we have visited for a few minutes, they understand that they are the reason for it! Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it and enjoy