Do you have any opinions…

Do you have any opinions about backyard path surfaces? The original plan was just concrete, but that is not so pretty. Pam suggested stamped concrete, in perhaps a brick or stone pattern. Stamped concrete might look like this cobblestone pattern. I appreciate that it's probably more stable and long-lasting than actual cobblestones, and easier to walk on, but I'm worried that it'll look painfully fake. What do you think?

We have Unilock in a herringbone red brick pattern in the front. (Didn't choose it -- came with house.)

Any thought on good path surfaces would be appreciated. Ideally it should be pretty, low-cost, low-maintenance. (For example, I love the look of blue-grey gravel, especially around vegetable beds, but it is apparently a pain in the ass to maintain?)

7 thoughts on “Do you have any opinions…”

  1. Go for the stamped concrete,gravel and traditional pavers are lovely, but a huge pain in the neck, I have them, I know.

  2. Have you considered stepping stones? You could make them yourself with small (weather-proof) items embedded from each family member to refect their individual interests’ or have everyone paint/ decorate one.

  3. I saw some stamped concrete a few years back that I’m not sure I could have distinguished from slate if I hadn’t known. (Well, and if I’d examined it closely, I could have seen the grain/texture, and the repeating patterns.)

    Unfortunately, I’m a materials snob, and I knew that just knowing it was concrete, no matter how much it didn’t look like it, was going to bug me. (I recognize rationally that this is ridiculous, but it’s unfortunately true.) So I went with real slate—and ever since then, tiles have been breaking off or coming loose occasionally.

    If your original option was plain concrete, then stamped concrete seems like a step up. (But look at a real-life sample first if possible—not just a photo—to make sure you don’t think it looks too fake.) And if you won’t be bothered by knowing that it’s concrete, then definitely go for it.

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Chris, I think stepping stones are a charming idea, but I’m a little worried about dealing with them in winter when it’s all snowy and icy. I think maybe a solid surface path, at least from the garage to the house, would be easier to keep clear and walkable.

  5. Stamped (and tinted) concrete can look lovely and last for a longtime, but I think there are some cheap versions that don’t do as well. I’m sure Pam would get you a good contractor, though.

    Pavers/bricks/tiles/gravel/etc are a pain. I’d never ever put down gravel anywhere in my yard. It’s especially horrible as weeds always grow through and weeding gravel is hideous.

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