David Gatti and I continue our conversation about walkways and pathways. This segment of the interview will be of special interest to those who wish to acid-stain concrete or are looking into stamping concrete or concrete dyes....
Q. Discuss some of the trends you’ve observed in pathway and walkway installation. For example, what stone colors are currently most popular? How do you decide which colors to use for a pathway or walkway?
A. Recently, I have noticed an increase in acid staining and stamping concrete. These are cost-effective ways to beautify regular poured concrete. However, these methods will not last forever and often require yearly maintenance / upkeep. Acid stains can be applied to pre-existing concrete, making this a cost-effective option for homeowners. Another trend I have noticed in walkways and pathways is concrete dying. There are roughly 40-50 concrete dye colors from which to choose. The dye is added to the concrete mix in the truck to mix thoroughly. I would not recommend large-scale concrete projects for the average do-it-yourselfer. These types of projects are very time consuming and meticulous. For example, when stamping concrete, only one section can be stamped at a time.
To maintain a good appearance when stamping concrete or dying it, I recommend using a commercial sealer. A wet (glossy) or dry look can be achieved which will ultimately enhance the color. Commercial sealer can also prevent mold and mildew buildup and help prevent weather from breaking down materials.
As far as color goes, I recommend matching the walkways / pathway building materials with the color of the house. Often times, earth tone colors provide a nice complement to the home’s exterior. Currently, Heritage Buff (tan brown) is the most popular color in flagstone. When designing a pathway, make sure the colors are natural and blend with the surroundings.
Q. How would a homeowner decide between the different materials available for pathways and walkways?
A. The budget a homeowner has set aside for the project is the largest factor when selecting a material, as cost can limit what materials are available to use. The amount of shade is another determining factor when deciding which materials to use in walkways and pathways. Moss and mildew will accumulate on stone and concrete, causing a slippery, hazardous condition. I recommend using trail mix, a natural mixture of aggregates, in shady areas for pathways. For walkways, I recommend building with pavers (learn why on Page 3).
Look at the house’s colors and siding. Is it brick? Is it stucco? When developing a walkway, try to select a color that complements existing structures, but you don’t want to match them exactly. For example, if your home is brick, select one tint from the brick with which to build. This is why earth tones are so popular, because they often complement traditional building materials. For pathways, this isn’t as difficult because you are often placing the pathway in a very natural setting between trees, a garden, or a short distance throughout the yard. Therefore, products often consist of mulch, etc. that tend to work best in these situations.
Q. How would adding a custom pathway or walkway affect real estate value?
A. If done correctly, a pathway or walkway project is a good investment. Pathways and walkways create an extension of the home by making unusable places usable. But these projects not only increase real estate value, they also provide daily outdoor living value.
On Page 3, David and I continue our conversation about walkways and pathways....