Turn your walkway into something more than a path to your house, backyard or garage. Plain concrete was the default choice for sidewalks and walkways in years past, but in 2009, with all the new developments in concrete design and decorative concrete, those days are gone for good. Now you can turn your concrete walkway into an experience, resembling an approach to a European villa or an English garden.
Choose from a variety of concrete pavers to create an interlocking textured pattern for your walkway. Concrete pavers come in a wide array of colors and shapes and are less expensive than brick pavers made of clay. Choose a bright brick-red concrete paver for a traditional brick walkway look in a simple stretcher-bond weave, or try a mixture of pale-rose and yellow pavers in a basketweave design. Pavers hold up under extreme weather conditions, and the interlocking design allows for slight movement to avoid cracking.
You can achieve the look of brick or stone with stamped concrete. Dyes and tints are mixed into the concrete as it's being made, and after it's been poured and leveled, rubber stamps are applied to the concrete. The stamps impress the look of brick, flagstone or cobblestone into the wet surface, in traditional patterns and designs. Stamps can be applied individually, or they can be rolled onto the wet concrete with a stamp roller, which is attached to a cylinder. Unusual concrete stamps are also available, such as fish and dinosaur fossil stamps, which will make your walkway really interesting.
Apply a concrete overlay to your damaged concrete, instead of pouring a whole new walkway. Concrete overlays are mixed with polymers to make them extremely durable and resistant to cracking. Overlays are less expensive than a new concrete walkway, and you can get the same effect as long as the base concrete is not severely cracked and uneven. The overlay is a thin layer of concrete that can be tinted in the color of your choice, and stamped with concrete stamps resembling stone, brick or slate. You can mix the stone types, having one area a light colored slate and another area in brick or yet another shade of slate.
You can stain your concrete walkway with acid or acrylic stains to give it a distinctive look. Acid stains react to the minerals in concrete, creating a mottled, natural stone look. Different acid stains produce different earth tone colors, and the finished product can be somewhat unpredictable in terms of which areas will be darker than others. Acrylic stains come in a wider variety of colors, and like acid stains, produce a transparent, permanently stained surface. Acrylic stains color the concrete, and don't react to the minerals like acid stains do, which will give you a more predictable outcome.
Try an exposed aggregate concrete finish, for a rustic look. Exposed aggregate is created by pouring larger aggregate rock pieces into the concrete mixture as it is being made. The concrete is then poured, and after it's dried the surface is pressure washed to reveal the beautiful rock underneath. This is a very durable surface, and you can choose the aggregate rock colors you want to use. Combine an exposed aggregate walkway with a concrete cobblestone paver for a border to provide color and visual interest.