Landscaping a walkway: grassy to stones

rawlins02

Member
Feb 19, 2012
126
Western Massachusetts
I'm rehabbing a walkway path in front of my house. Photo below. I want to yank up the grass and then lay down landscape fabric, then 3-4 inches of small stones. And replace the large flat rocks. There a lot of grass growing there that I want to eliminate. Planning on covering each section with clear plastic which I understand will kill the grass. Question: Will the grass be easier to remove, roots and all, after killing it? If not, then perhaps I should just use a pick axe and shovel, and not bother to wait to kill the grass. But digging up and yanking out all that grass appears to be a lot of labor. Any other suggestions? Thanks.

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,797
South Puget Sound, WA
Just start digging. Killing off the grass will take quite a while that way and may not happen if it's rainy and cloudy often. Take the grass out in section, cutting down with a sharp, square-tipped spade.
 
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Jan Pijpelink

Minister of Fire
Jan 2, 2015
1,737
South Jersey
If you want to kill it instantly: boiling water.
 

rawlins02

Member
Feb 19, 2012
126
Western Massachusetts
If you want to kill it instantly: boiling water.
I think I'll try boiling water in places to see if killing the grass makes it easier to remove. But will start right away on digging with spade as @begreen mentioned. It's supposed to be cooler this weekend so hoping I can get much of this done by Sunday evening. Here's what it looked like when I bought the home in Jan 2012.
house28.jpg
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,694
SW Virginia
In the near term, I don't think killing the grass will make it any easier to dig up. Sharpening the edge of your shovel as @begreen suggested will make things easier.
 

PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
417
MA
Anyplace on your property, like by woods, where you wish the lawn extended further? You could try to move the grass as free sod. Try to dig the grass up with the roots in small sheets and move it to that area. If it takes some … good. If not, who cares?

I do that when I'm edging.
 
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rawlins02

Member
Feb 19, 2012
126
Western Massachusetts
Anyplace on your property, like by woods, where you wish the lawn extended further? You could try to move the grass as free sod. Try to dig the grass up with the roots in small sheets and move it to that area. If it takes some … good. If not, who cares?

I do that when I'm edging.
Yes I do. Like this idea. Will give it a try. Thanks.
 

rawlins02

Member
Feb 19, 2012
126
Western Massachusetts
Ready to install landscape fabric and stones.
There appears to be much sand in the load of stones. Hoping rain will clean the stones and wash sand down between them. Really not too pleased to see this much sand. Suggestions? Wash stones in wheelbarrow and then scoop out clean stones? PIA?

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Jan Pijpelink

Minister of Fire
Jan 2, 2015
1,737
South Jersey
Ready to install landscape fabric and stones.
There appears to be much sand in the load of stones. Hoping rain will clean the stones and wash sand down between them. Really not too pleased to see this much sand. Suggestions? Wash stones in wheelbarrow and then scoop out clean stones? PIA?

View attachment 246470

View attachment 246471
Done something similar a few years ago. 10 tons of it.
Fill in the stone, leave a pile on the side. After a few rain showers, most of the sand will be gone. If there are any gaps after the rain, fill back in with the stones you kept aside. Rake and done.
 

rawlins02

Member
Feb 19, 2012
126
Western Massachusetts
Done something similar a few years ago. 10 tons of it.
Fill in the stone, leave a pile on the side. After a few rain showers, most of the sand will be gone. If there are any gaps after the rain, fill back in with the stones you kept aside. Rake and done.
I just called the company who provided the stones. Suggested I rinse stone in place before placing into sections. Sounds like a costly waste of water. My concern is that installing too much sand in with the stones will more easily lead to vegetation growth. I'd planned to lay down 4 inches of the stones and sand mixture. I'd rather not have 1-2 inches of sand washed down to then sit atop the landscape fabric. Project on hold until we get several inches of rain. Should ask for half the cost returned. Thanks for the info.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,694
SW Virginia
Ready to install landscape fabric and stones.
There appears to be much sand in the load of stones. Hoping rain will clean the stones and wash sand down between them. Really not too pleased to see this much sand. Suggestions? Wash stones in wheelbarrow and then scoop out clean stones? PIA?

View attachment 246470

View attachment 246471
Without the sand or some other fines mixed in with that rounded rock it won't be stable for walking on. The mixture of the rock and finer materials forms a matrix that is more stable than rock alone.
 

Dobish

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2015
1,993
Golden CO
Without the sand or some other fines mixed in with that rounded rock it won't be stable for walking on. The mixture of the rock and finer materials forms a matrix that is more stable than rock alone.
especially if you are going to use a stabilizer.

We just recently lost a ton of our path to water rushing down the path.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,797
South Puget Sound, WA
+1 on the sand needed for stability. Vegetative growth is going to happen over time. Weeds are amazingly adaptive. It may take several years, but they will show up.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,454
Downeast Maine
Aside from poisons the only thing I've found effective and relatively easy to use for weed control is a propane torch.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,797
South Puget Sound, WA
High strength vinegar will work but you need to stay on top of it, especially for long rooted weeds like dandelions.
 

rawlins02

Member
Feb 19, 2012
126
Western Massachusetts
Without the sand or some other fines mixed in with that rounded rock it won't be stable for walking on. The mixture of the rock and finer materials forms a matrix that is more stable than rock alone.
The sand and rock mixture does appear to be acting almost like cement. Maybe there's some crushed limestone and/or granite in there. Yes I can see the fine material helping for stability. I washed about half the sand out of a couple wheelbarrow loads and installed in a couple sections. More sand comes out of wheelbarrow last, and it falls on top of the majority of stones. Then a quick rinse. That seems to work OK.
 

CaptSpiff

Feeling the Heat
Jan 13, 2014
441
Long Island, NY
The sand and rock mixture does appear to be acting almost like cement. Maybe there's some crushed limestone and/or granite in there. Yes I can see the fine material helping for stability. I washed about half the sand out of a couple wheelbarrow loads and installed in a couple sections. More sand comes out of wheelbarrow last, and it falls on top of the majority of stones. Then a quick rinse. That seems to work OK.
Great job, you're now experienced.

Noob customer: Looks at clean pile of stone at Masonry Supply and orders 3 yards.
Noob customer: Checks delivery and see's lots of sand in pile. Gets mad, thinks about writing bad web review.
Noob customer: Spreads out stone, hits with garden hose, watches sand settle down to fill voids.
Experienced customer: Enjoys praises of neighbor on how great the job came out.

Not meant as insult, just remembering my dad say: "I'm not smarter than you, I'm just more experienced."
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,694
SW Virginia