Crusher dust, or quarried and crushed rock too small for use on roadbeds, makes an excellent material for a pathway. Rain, time, and foot traffic will cause it to harden to near concrete firmness. Read on to explore pathway ideas and learn how to employ crusher dust in your pathway project.
Step 1 - Plan
Your first step in planning your pathway is defining its purpose. Three categories describe your choices: utility, decoration, or a combination of the two. Pathways laid for hiking, or to prevent muddy feet between your home and garage are the simplest. You know where to begin and end, so you only need to decide how wide and how much material you need and then you dump, shovel, and level until finished.
But for pathways intended for decoration or a blend of utility and decoration, get out your pencil and graph paper then draw shapes between point A and B. Pencil your pathway around interesting landscape features like your garden or a nice view. Shapes please the eye while straight lines are utilitarian: functional but boring. The end of this process will yield a design outline that pleases you, the most important critic.
Decide now if you want a border to contain the crusher rock. The utilitarian path won’t need one but to keep a defined shape and crusher dust where it’s intended, borders are necessary. A simple border choice that is quick to lay and easy to obtain is landscape timber or you could select the more labor intensive brick laid flat or vertical, end to end.
Take some pictures after a strong rainfall to identify the low spots that need to be filled. If runoff streams across a pathway portion, plan to install a small culvert.
Planning now will save you time later. Allow this process to develop a list of materials so that you may have everything necessary on site before you begin. You will find this will save you time and expense on the back and forth runs to the supplier.
The last planning tip: if at all possible have the crusher dust dumped close to your pathway. Pushing a heavy wheelbarrow from the dumpsite to your trail might be the hardest task your DIY project will demand.
Step 2 - Form the Path
The first layout step is to form an outline of the path. Use spray paint, stakes, rope, or garden hoses to make the borders to transfer your graph-paper shape to your project.
Step 3 - Fill Low Areas
Fill low areas with dirt first so that you won’t have to use the more expensive crusher rock to raise water-collecting low spots. Install any necessary culverts by digging a trench wider than the culvert pipe. Bury the pipe so that water streaming to that area will flow through the culvert and not over your path.
If you are adding a border, lay that now by digging down about ½ the thickness of the border material. For a 4x4 border, you will dig a 2-inch deep by 2-inch wide trench laying boarder timber as you go. A grub hoe works well for this purpose.
Step 4 - Dump, Shovel, and Level
Load your wheelbarrow; dump the crusher rock onto your pathway then shovel and level to about 1½ inches deep but not over your border.