Update December 2020: I wrote an article with step-by-step instructions on how to build a pallet-wood walkway for Mother Earth News. Read it by clicking here.
Update June 2016: I posted an update on how the walkway is holding up a year later. You can read it by clicking here.
When we first moved into Willow Creek Farm the backyard area was a mess. It has slowly evolved and changed over the last three years. Here is the view from the back door within the first few months we moved in.
You can see in the second photo, we were just beginning to build the barn on the far left. We had no coop, no gardens, no nothing as far as the backyard area goes.
Using edging bricks, gravel, and red paving stones we set up a path to get around the yard, and sectioned off the area that would eventually be the strawberry patch. Here is the view from the back door after we did that work.
Here are the views towards the house:
And towards what would later be the garden area:
The paving stones and gravel did not last long. The stones moved around too much, and the gravel got on top of them, creating a slippery mess. So we switched to just plain gravel for the path. Meanwhile, we added the vegetable and herb gardens, and the little chicken coop.
But the gravel didn’t work well either, it tracked all over, including into our mud room. And in the winter we couldn’t shovel it, and being that it is the north side of the building we ended up with a huge mess of an ice slick in this area. The path wasn’t working.
We looked into many options over the last couple years and just continued living with the messed-up gravel path. There were many other things higher on the priority list at the time. One thing that got done during that time that involved the back area was that we built a little patio roof over the back door area and expanded the strawberry patch. That gave shade and kept the winter snow away from the back door a bit.
This year, the path finally made it to the top of the priority list. We looked into the option of doing it in cement, but the bid for that was $2,200 – definitely NOT in the budget. Then husband came up with a great idea for what to do with it that would cost us only our labor. He decided to use our favorite building material – pallet wood – and make a walkway. It would be clean and not track into the mud room, and it can be shoveled in the winter. The perfect solution!
So, without further ado, I want to share with you the beautiful pictures of the back yard pallet wood walkway.
We are SO VERY happy with how it turned out.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the process, but I can give you a basic description of how he built it.
He took apart the pallets using a sawzall with a metal-cutting blade – cutting right through the nails, thus saving the full length of each piece of wood. He found the longer blade worked better for this. He then used the inside frame pieces of the pallet directly on the ground as the sleepers under the walkway (the support wood that the walkway is anchored to). He attached the pallet wood to the sleepers using 7/16″ crown staples. He tried using screws, but when he put them in the necessary spacing to keep the wood from cupping it was causing cracks in the wood, so he switched to staples. After the path was laid he used a square floor sander (12×18 inch) with 36-grit paper on it to sand down the whole thing. Then he used an air compressor with a hose and blew all the dust off. Lastly he sealed the wood with Arbor Coat translucent stain in the color “natural.”
We love the look, we love the feel, we love that it was FREE. Such a great addition to the back yard!
Given time, our dream homestead keeps getting better and better!