A DIY Walking Path Through a Marshy Yard
The backyard of our country-in-the-city house (the second house I lived in with my husband Andy) was pretty and lush, but three-quarters of the yard was unusable when we moved in. It was steeply sloped, and a trickle of a stream weaved through the yard, surrounded by marshy areas. A small wooden path had been created at one end giving access to the far corner, otherwise most of the year you would need to wade through mucky ground. Below is the yard before the paths.
We (and by we, I mean mostly Andy) built upon the one small path to construct an extensive DIY walking path through the yard.
The country-in-the-city house was built across from a protected marshland, which was full of great paths through the woods situated on Lake Ontario. Most of the paths were dirt, but in some of the more boggy areas the conservation association had built wooden walkways. The protected marshland was the inspiration to make our own back yard more accessible.
In addition to our new boardwalk path providing access to more of the yard, we also built a peninsula for a hammock swing. The hammock swing on the new platform quickly became a popular spot for hanging out.
The DIY walking path and the ‘landing area’ for the hammock swing made the yard much more useable year round.
There was even a small stream hidden in the marsh, but walking through the yard to get a closer look required tall rubber boots. With the boardwalk as part of the landscape design we can now it is possible to easily access the stream in multiple locations.
The path also improves access to the DIY treehouse.
Multiple criteria were used as we were developing our design and selecting the materials:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Low maintenance
- Reuse of existing materials where possible
- Utilize the existing path and steps
- Low cost
- Maximize use of the full yard
- Minimal disruption to existing natural landscape vegetation
- Provide year round access to the yard
- Wide enough for a child to easily maneuver a tricycle
- Provide access and a platform for a hammock swing
- Provide access to a planned DIY treehouse
The final path construction used large logs (left by the previous owners and too wet for burning) as supports, sunk into the ground and resting on beds of gravel for drainage. The stringers were made from 5” x 3” ‘mini ties’ and surfaced with pressure treated 4” x 2” planks. Curves and slopes followed the general contours of the land and with two small ‘bridges’ to span the tiny stream. See below:
Andy developed a design for the muddy area under the hammock swing (see below), and build it in a weekend with some help from a visiting friend (thank you, Ian!).
These pictures were all taken a few years ago when we were living our country-in-the-city house in the Toronto area. Many furious battles were fought and won on these paths. To make this even more ‘using what you have’ would this be a possible use for wooden pallets?