How to Make a Crushed Rock Pathway

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON – VO:
THEY CALL THIS STRETCH OF THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST, THE PLAYGROUND OF THE SOUTH.  THE NEIGHBORING CITIES OF BILOXI AND GULFPORT BLEND LAS VEGAS STYLE CASINOS AND OCEAN FRONT RESORTS WITH ANTEBELLUM HOMES AND ANCIENT MAGNOLIA TREES. 
JUST INLAND A BIT IS THE HOME OF MADOLYN ROBUCK.  AS A SALES REPRESENTATIVE MADOLYN KNOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS.  AND HER FRONT YARD IS THE FIRST IMPRESSION VISITORS HAVE OF HER HOME.  BUT FRANKLY, MADOLYN FEELS IT COULD USE SOME HELP.  WHAT SHE HAS IN MIND IS A CRUSHED ROCK PATHWAY TO REPLACE THE OLD BLOCKS AND WORN  GRASS LEADING FROM HER FRONT DOOR TO THE DRIVEWAY.
MADOLYN ALREADY ORDERED THE MATERIALS. WHICH HER LOCAL HOME IMPROVEMENT CENTER IS DELIVERING.
IT’S ABOUT 500 POUNDS OF CRUSHED ROCK AND FLAGSTONE ALONG WITH PLASTIC EDGING AND OTHER ACCESSORIES.  ALL SHE NEEDS NOW IS A LITTLE COACHING.
Ron:
Hey, Madolyn.

Madolyn:
Hi, Ron.

Ron:
How are you?

Madolyn:
How are you?

Ron:
Good, thanks.

Madolyn:
Welcome to my yard.

Ron:
Oh well, thanks.  I see the stuff got here okay.

Madolyn:
Good stuff.

Ron:
Now I know you want to – we’re going to put the gravel down with the flagstones in it.  Where’d you come up with that idea?

Madolyn:
On a hiking trip to the Appalachian Trail. I was really taken by a lot of the gravel paths, with the flagstone, and it looked more like something I would be comfortable with. First impressions are real important and I think that when somebody walks up to my house that’s the impression I wanted to give them.  Casual, a more laid back approach.

Ron:
Because you’re a casual, laid back…

Madolyn:
Babe.

Ron:
Babe?

Madolyn:
Babe.

Ron:
You have to say it, I can’t say that. I like that combination because you’ve got the crushed rock.  But it’s not so great to walk on crushed rock sometimes.

Madolyn:
Right, right.

Ron:
Especially in heels…not that I wear heels all that often, but when I do…

Madolyn:
It’s a private affair.

Ron:
Anyway, so we’re going to come down here and…all right, you know what I want to do?

Madolyn:
What?

Ron:
You’ve got some garden hose over here.  I want to lay this out so you can visually see it.

RON – VO:
A GARDEN HOSE IS IDEAL FOR LAYING OUT THE BOUNDARIES OF OUR PATH.
Ron:
Whatever looks good to your eye, lay it down on the ground. I’m going to take this second hose now and lay it in here, just so we can kind of get an idea on width.

Madolyn;
I like the width a lot.

Ron:
I do too.  I think anything bigger than this is going to look like a driveway coming down through here.

Madolyn:
Sure.

Ron:
All right, lets stand back and take a look.

Madolyn:
Actually, I just like the hoses.

Ron:
All right, that’s it we’re done.

Madolyn:
See ya, bye. (laughter).

RON-VO:
WELL, NOT EXACTLY.
Ron:
Well, it’s time to do some digging, actually I like to think of this more as cutting, because you’ve got a lot of pretty dense, is this St. Augustine?

Madolyn:
Yes. It is.

Ron:
Really forms a mat, we’re going to have to cut through that so I want to use these garden spades. This is a straight blade right here as opposed to a curved blade on a shovel. And I want to take just a second and literally sharpen these, I want to put a knife edge on here. That will help cut through all these roots.

RON- VO:
WE SHARPEN THE SPADES BY RUNNING A STEEL FILE ACROSS BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE.
Ron:
And the same thing on the backside.

Madolyn:
How often do we do this?

Ron:
As often as we, uh, need to.
RON – VO:
NOW, WE’VE REPLACED OUR GARDEN HOSES WITH THESE SMALL MARKER FLAGS. THEY’RE MUCH EASIER TO DIG AROUND.
Ron:
All right, so we want to kind of go pretty much straight down here, and then pick it up, and move it to the next shovel width. How’s it going?  Easy?

Madolyn:
Yeah, it’s pretty easy.

Ron:
Yeah, see this is great.  I’m telling you.  Sharpening makes a huge difference.

So we define the outside edges of the walkway here.  What I want to do now is cut this sod up into one foot squares, so we can literally lift it right out.  This is good sod.  Got any place you can use this around the house?

Madolyn:
Absolutely.   I have a dead space right over here where I want to finish the yard off.

Ron:
Perfect.  Okay, so we’ll save it, and we’ll put it in the wheelbarrow, and you’ll just replant it. 

RON – VO:
MADOLYN AND I CUT LINES ACROSS THE PATH, AND THEN CUT A SECOND SET, CREATING A CHECKBOARD PATTERN.  THESE PIECES, EACH ABOUT A FOOT SQUARE, LIFT OUT EASILY.
Madolyn:
Oh yeah.

Ron:
And once we get the first one up it’s even easier.

RON – VO:
WITH ALL OUR SOD SQUARES REMOVED AND SET ASIDE FOR LATER USE, MADOLYN LEVELS THE LOOSE SOIL WITH A RAKE WHILE I COMPACT IT WITH A TAMPER.  THIS WILL PREVENT THE WALKWAY FROM SETTLING LATER ON.
Ron:
This is something I always feel the next day. 

RON- VO:
MADOLYN, WHO STAYS FIT BY RUNNING THREE MILES A DAY, TRIES HER HAND AT THE TAMPING.
Madolyn:
I’ll be thanking you tomorrow.

Ron:
(laughs) You’ll be remembering me tomorrow.

I do think maybe, this is totally optional, and I'm not even sure I want to do this.  But you've got this nice little area in here.  You've got this great tree.

Madolyn: 
Right.

Ron: 
We could make like a little alcove in here, like a pull off.   A rest area.  Uh, and then maybe put a, I don’t know, a bench or something in there.

Madolyn: 
I think it's a great idea

RON-VO:
WE AGAIN USE THE GARDEN HOSE TO LAY OUT THE SHAPE THEN DIG OUT THE SOD.  BEFORE LONG, OUR TURNOUT IS COMPLETE.
NEXT, MADOLYN AND I COVER THE ENTIRE PATH WITH SHEETS OF LANDSCAPE CLOTH. THIS POLYESTER MATERIAL WILL KEEP GRASS AND WEEDS FROM GROWING UP THROUGH THE GRAVEL, YET IT’S POROUS ENOUGH TO LET WATER DRAIN THROUGH.
Ron:
Okay, last piece.

RON-VO:
WE SAVE THE TURN OUT FOR LAST…AND I’M HOPING WE DON’T COME UP SHORT.
Ron:
Look at this. Look at this! I think we’re just barely going to make this.

Madolyn:
Perfect planning.

Ron:
Boy, no waste.

RON-VO:
WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HOME IMPROVEMENT SHOWS, WE ALWAYS MAKE IT LOOK EASY.  BUT SOMETIMES WE JUST GET LUCKY.
Ron:
We don’t have one foot extra. Okay, now this is plastic edging and this is going to keep the gravel in place.

RON-VO:
THIS PLASTIC EDGING ALSO KEEPS DIRT FROM COLLAPSING INTO THE TRENCH. 
Ron:
I’ll hold this, Madolyn, if you want to just kind of work the rest of that in there.

Madolyn:
Okay.

RON-VO:
WE ROLL THE EDGING ALONG THE SIDE OF THE PATH, AND PRESS IT INTO THE LANDSCAPE CLOTH UNTIL THE TOP IS EVEN WITH THE GRASS, THEN DRAPE THE EXCESS CLOTH OVER THE TOP.
THE EDGING COMES WITH PLASTIC STAKES, WHICH WE HAMMER IN AT AN ANGLE, THROUGH THE BOTTOM LIP. WE INSTALL THE STAKES ABOUT EVERY SEVEN FEET ALONG BOTH SIDES OF THE PATH.
WITH THE EDGING IN PLACE, MADOLYN USES A UTILITY KNIFE, TO CUT AWAY THE EXCESS LANDSCAPE CLOTH.
FINALLY, WE BEGIN COVERING THE LANDSCAPE FABRIC WITH SEVERAL INCHES OF CRUSHED ROCK.  .  WE’LL ADD MORE LATER ON, BUT FIRST, WE’RE GOING TO CREATE A DECORATIVE BORDER WITH CUT STONE.  .
Ron:
The idea is to put some stones underneath each of these so that we’ll get them at the right height, but also so that the stones will hold them up.

RON – VO:
WITH THE EDGE STONES IN PLACE, WE POUR THE REST OF OUR CRUSHED ROCK, LEVEL THE SURFACE, AND ONCE AGAIN USE THE TAMPER TO COMPACT THE MATERIAL.
Ron:
See, if I step here it kind of wiggles around, but if I step over here.

Madolyn: 
Oh, that’s great.

RON - VO:
FINALLY, WE’RE READY FOR THE FLAGSTONES.
Ron:
So pick, how about that one?  Let’s just, try putting about six inches between them.  Let’s just see if that’s, that’s about 12, but I think that’s about right.

Madolyn: 
That’s it?

Ron: 
Yup.  Okay, I’ll, okay, I’ll stand here.  Give you the, give you the uh, I’ll be the measuring stick.  Very good. 

RON-VO:
WELL MADOLYN DOESN’T LET ME GET AWAY WITH THAT IDEA, SO TOGETHER, WE PLACE THE FLAGSTONES.  CLEARING AWAY AN INCH OR SO OF CRUSHED ROCK AND WIGGLING THE STONES INTO PLACE MAKES THEM LEVEL AND STABLE.
A STATELY OAK THIS BEAUTIFUL CAN BEST BE ENJOYED FROM AN AISLE SEAT … WITH A COOL GLASS OF ICED TEA IN HAND, AS I’M SOON TO DISCOVER.  
Ron:
You know I’m kind of exhausted already, just getting’ down this path, I think I need a rest.

Madolyn: 
And I have a seat for you.

Ron: 
Oh, indeed you do.

Madolyn: 
You're the first to sit on it.  Ever.

Ron: 
Well, partner?

Madolyn: 
Any time.

Ron: 
Thank you.

Madolyn: 
Thank you.

Ron: 
It’s a great job.  Really, really good job.

Madolyn: 
It’s a beautiful path.

RON-VO:
WELL I HAVE A PRETTY GOOD FEELING THAT MADOLYN’S NEW PATH WILL DO MORE THAN MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION  – IT JUST MIGHT MAKE A LASTING ONE.

Learn how to create a crushed rock pathway; includes details on layout, removing sod, landscape cloth, and installing flagstones.

In Gulfport, known as a part of the Mississippi coastal playground, Ron paid a visit to the home of Madolyn Robuck. As a sales representative Madolyn knows the importance of first impressions. Since her front yard would often be the first impression visitors get of her, she felt it could use some work. What she had in mind was a crushed rock pathway to replace the old blocks and worn grass that led from her front door to the driveway. Madolyn thought that crushed rock and flagstone conveyed a casual, more laid-back feeling than a more formal style walkway.