Rustic Rock Path with Reclaimed Materials

One of the fun things about building a house is that you have a lot of random materials left over when its done. Some people just like to get rid of it, but I’m the type that likes to use it! We had a very large pile of rocks left over from the exterior siding. We didn’t want to do anything too permanent with them, should we need to replace a few someday, so we decided to make our front walkway out of them. The stones are pretty uneven, and are vaguely the same thickness. So instead of striving for a picture perfect stone walkway, we went for a smooth-enough rustic look.

We started by outlining the general shape we wanted, then used our trailer to gather them up and move them to the house. I let Jacob handle all the big ones, since my ob would be pretty pissed at me for lifting too much. So I set the edges and small filler rocks. We didn’t dig any down into place as the dirt was still very level from the build, and was packed down. That saved us quite a few steps! Once we were satisfied with the shape and evenness, it was time for sand.

Somehow my dad has a very large pile of crushed red granite, so we were able to use two Bobcat-bucket-full of sand to fill the gaps and edges. We simply used a shovel and placed the sand in the cracks, then used a push broom to settle it down into place. After the first coat we wet it all down, let it dry, then repeated with another layer of granite. Another wetting, then lots and lots of pushing the gravel out of the low spots in the rocks when it dried. I “swept” that path for at least two hours! But I’m happy with the way it turned out.

The gravel dried nice and hard and is doing a great job keeping the rocks in place. You can see that a lot of the low spots of rock got covered up, but I prefer a more even walkway to a prettier, trippier path! Like I said, we’re keeping it rustic. I’m going to add some sort of edging to keep things in place over time so the entire thing doesn’t crumble into a scrabbly pile of rubble. But for now, it’s a great little path!

Now that we have our path in, we can focus on the actual lawn portion. To the right of the path by the garage I’d like to plant some sort of ground cover. This area stays relatively shady and damp, and frankly I’m not big on grass anyway. I’m researching some good native ground covers and bushes. I’d really love to do some hydrangeas, but I’m not sure how they’d fare. For the left side, we’ll probably go with sod. Hubby is really wanting something to mow, for strange reasons. Oh, and if you sneak a peek into the right corner of the house you’ll see that we have another (almost complete) update, gutters! And rain barrels! And to the left you can see my zucchini just starting to peek out in the galvanized planter. I still need to even those up so they don’t look so sloppy. Once we have greenery and more plants, I think this yard will really be something nice.

Oh, and did I mention the path was 100% free? Yup, that’s the beauty of re-use! And having a family full of hoarders. Who also have large machinery and trailers for stashing loads of crushed granite gravel 😉 Do you have any favorite ground covers and shrubs? Any suggestions for this newbie gardener?



7 thoughts on “Rustic Rock Path with Reclaimed Materials

  1. I would never try to select plants for my landscape without the Sunset Western Garden Book. Nurseries often use it, landscape architects (like my sister and her colleagues) use it. It has lots of information on planting zones (much more detailed than the USDA version) and what kinds of plants to use for various reasons (attracting bees or NOT attracting deer, etc). They also have lots of specialized books on various subjects which are nice, but the Garden Book is an encyclopedia of plant selection.

    1. Thank you so much for the tip Jane! That’s exactly what I need. Hopefully it has some info on repelling cows, ours decimated our grape vines.

  2. I like it! It suits the character of the house. As far as plants go, I would suggest finding a good local nursery and consulting them. Big home improvement stores will often stock plants that don’t necessarily do well in your particular micro-climate. Farmer’s markets are another great place to find plants that do well in your area. I got my blueberry bushes from our farmer’s market and they’re doing quite well.

    1. That is a good idea … I totally agree about being cautious with plants from places like Home Depot and Lowes. The Home Depot here sells some plants that just don’t like our soil or our climate. I think that is why they have those guarantees to replace plants that die!

      Some places I have lived also have a Native Plant Society or something similar. Natives are nice because they don’t need a lot of fussing to make them happy! They also might have tips on the cows … ’cause I sure don’t! Not a problem I have dealt with!

  3. If you haven’t got the grass yet – buffalo grass might do well for you.

    It needs less care – less water, fertilizing and mowing – than most turf grasses.

    1. Thank you! We actually went with celebration sod, a bermuda variant (I believe) that is very drought tolerant. I tried to push for buffalo, but my husband wasn’t a fan of how tall it can get. Ah, well. Luckily we’ve had an exceptionally wet fall and winter so we haven’t needed to water it much yet. Plus, the chicken loves it. She snacks on it quite often.

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