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Hypertufa garden path?

10 years ago

So we moved our entire garden to a new portion of the yard in order to accommodate a new pool. It was a lot of work to move the garden, but it has the advantage of giving me the opportunity to start from scratch. I'm talking about garden paths. I'm weighing the pros/cons of several different path materials (the old garden had loose pea stone which I hated).

I'm wondering if it's possible to make garden paths out of hypertufa, using a dry mix. In this case, the peatmoss would be mostly for colorant - I don't like the look of monochrome grey paths. And besides, grey concrete by itself would discolor quickly anyway, as our water is very rusty. I'm thinking the peat will give it a more natural look, both when it is new and after I accidentally spray it with rusty water while watering the garden.

In my head, the process would go like this:

1) Build wooden forms.
2) Dump wheelbarrows full of sand into the forms.
3) Add peatmoss.
4) Add Portland cement.
5) Mix in-situ with a rake or hoe.
6) Level.
7) Spray with water.

Would this work? And what proportions of sand/peat/cement should I use? I know this probably won't be the strongest path in the world, but I'm not going to be driving trucks over it! It will be for foot traffic only, and if it cracks here and there, I really wouldn't care.

The reason for using a dry mix is simply that it's going to be a LOT of work to mix in a wheelbarrow, I don't have a mixer, and the garden is large (about 2000 sqft, of which about 30-40% will be paths). So using a dry mix would save me a lot of back-breaking work.

If I do this, I'm also thinking about using forms like Quickrete Walkmaker to make a pattern. This would probably circumvent cracking altogether, as there would be plenty of relief joints. Only problem is, they seem to only be available in 2' width, and I'd like the paths to be 3'.

Any advice is appreciated!

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