Introduction: How to Build Slabs and Lay Path/patio/walkway
My front yard was very dangerous with the ground being uneven together with rocks of all sizes and mud. So I decided to at least make the path to my house more safe and also more beautiful but temporary as later I would remove it and make it much better.
In this instructable I will show how I proceeded by tracing the path, building and laying the slabs in place. At the end there will also be pictures of how it became after about 3 months.
The Second image shows how the path looked before.
PIck- For digging and moving huge rocks
Hoe- To help remove Soil
Rebar and Binding wire- To make skeleton for slab
Concrete- Used to build the slabs and other small stuffs
Hammer- Used to build and demolish things (but mostly for putting in nails)
Nails- to joins in pieces on wood
Woods planks - to build mould for pouring the slabs( other enclosures can be used)
Rod and Line- used to set straight line to aid in positioning the slabs correctly
Measuring tape- to help in the various parts of the assignment
Old carpet- used to pour slab on so that slab does not stick onto concrete (other materials can be used too)
Pry-bar- to dismantle the mould, remove nails but also aid in removing stones and to dig
Level- to check level on ground and adjusting the slabs
Step 1: Planning
Since this walkway would be used several times during the day but mostly by foot and bicycle, I decided to use slabs and since I had all the necessary materials they were built onsite. Also they will be used frequently so the slabs needed to be wide, comfortable, secure and not slippery to be able to move rapidly on them. So I opted to build a slab of length 19.5 inches, width 20 inches and thickness of 2 inches. When building the walkway a distance of 6 inches should be left in between.
The walkway would Start from the stairs and end to the road, by using a rod with a line string attached to it I inserted the rod into the ground at the starting point (the stairs) and run the line to the road to get a straight line so that marks can be made on the ground to know how much distance to leave in between the slabs but also how many slabs will be required. From the stairs, about 4 inches was left then the first slab would be placed then 6 inches of space would be left in between where the next slab will come and this goes on until the end is reached.
The pictures shows how everything was before the arrival of the materials and before the slabs were put in place.
Step 2: Preparing the Mould to Build the Slabs
in order to build a slab in one location and transfer it to another make sure that the surface on which the concrete will be poured does not merge or gets stuck so that it becomes difficult to remove. I had some old carpets that needed to be thrown away so I used that to build the mould onto it and place then poured the concrete to form the slabs.
How to build the mould?
I used pieces of wood poles and old doors where I dismantle them to get the long pieces where then place two side by side and measuring another piece of wood about 20 inches in length which was cut then inserted in between the two long pieces and secured with nails. Then from the newly inserted piece measured 19.5 inches and then added another piece and the procedure goes on until no more can be added which would form a square where the concrete would be poured.
How to build the slab?
First prepare the skeleton of the slab as we would need to move slab so that it doesn't break and since it will be temporary it will be moved afterwards. Cut 4 pieces of rebar about the same length and then use them to form a square but let about 2 inches to go outside, where the rebars meet use binding wire to bind them together so that they are secured. Next prepare concrete and start pouring about half the size of the thickness of the slab then stop, insert the rebar skeleton and try to center it then pour the next half of concrete onto the rabar where finally make the concrete a bit rough instead of completely flat so that it add grips and people don't slip and do the same procedure for the other slabs and let them dry. Note: Since I ran out of rabar, I used fence which I cut a bit smaller of the size of the slab so that could be used as its skeleton just to reinforce the structure.
Allow at least two days to let the concrete to dry well then dismantle the mould and easily recover the slabs.
Step 3: Preparing the Ground to Accept the Slabs
When installing the first three slabs I found that the slabs would not be in a straight line as well as too low and if still maintained the same line would have ended in the ditch, So I added rocks and soil and compacted them so that everything is firm and a height is obtained so that the 3 slabs can be put in the straight line as before.
In the first picture rocks and soil can be seen that were place to elevate the ground which would act as a good foundation to support the weight. After enough rocks were in place soil was added and the ground was levelled, however due to the weather it was very difficult to work with the soil as it quickly became mud so my mason and I added rock sand and small rocks to level the ground evenly so that we could work more easily and added the slabs to a stable level.
In the last image the slabs have been settled for about 2 two days and seemed stable also another straight line had to be set-up but this time the start had been taken from the elevated ground end to the road and there the ground had to be levelled by using small rocks and soil and to add more stability levelled rock sand and macadam (compacted broken stone) so that the slabs can be placed well.
Step 4: The Last Part of Installing the Ground Slabs
While compacting and setting up the slabs I came to a piece of rock which was a bit high and decided to remove it. However while digging that piece of rock became a huge one and I decided to instead of removing it make the hole deeper so that the rock can just go lower but it was very difficult and at the end the head was still there but I somehow managed to get it covered and the slab fitted well.
Afterwards the slabs were refitted and aligned as required and soil added and levelled on all sides. Later on grass was planted everywhere and a lawn was created thus preventing soil wash away and dust. Pictures of views from the stair and on the road are also uploaded just after installing the slabs and also pictures after months where the lawn can be seen.