Perhaps least expensive of all, gravel lends itself to easy DIY installation. That's partly because the loose stones are permeable and present no drainage challenges. It's low maintenance too; besides weeding, the gravel needs only to be topped up every year. Just be sure to include edging on both sides of the path to contain the stones. Note, too, that if your path needs to be cleared after snowfalls, gravel isn't the best choice. Likewise, it's unsuitable for steep slopes.
Zillow Digs home on Bainbridge Island, WA
Step It Up
Custom concrete stepping stones make a perfect summer DIY project for kids, but this far-out design is all grown up! All you'll need are standard concrete stepping stones, a rubber doily, and spray paint to transform an ordinary path into a rustic treasure—no concrete mixing required!
A short rustic path might just be the next pallet DIY on your to-do list! Be sure to treat the planks first so they will last for years, withstanding the moisture and exposure to the elements that might otherwise lead to wood rot. Installation is as simple as digging a level pathway and laying each pallet loosely in place.
Salvaged Brick Beauties
Choosing to use recycled brick could instantly add a worn-in charm to your landscape and—depending on the deal you strike—save you money on your path's construction. Check out your local salvage yards for used materials, and do a quick search as well for specialty dealers who carry reclaimed brick.
Known for its supporting role in well-kept garden beds, mulch also has star power all its own—as an inexpensive walkway material. Mulch is a natural weed blocker, so maintenance is relatively low: Simply add on more chips yearly, and edge the path with border plants or brick to keep everything tidy.
flickr.com / via maiac
Think concrete walkways are passé? Not so. Concrete forms in a multitude of shapes and styles can help you elevate ho-hum cement to new heights, like this walkway disguised as classic pavers. If you do decide to do it yourself, use a template to help plan and customize your path before you get to work!
Related: 10 Ways to Go Crazy for Concrete
flickr.com / via Decorative Concrete of Virginia
A Cut Above
To build a rustic outdoor space, nothing beats the look of real wood. Here, crosscut logs are placed side by side to create a walkable work of art. This thrifty DIY becomes even more affordable when you use storm-damaged tree branches. And the best part is that it couldn't be easier to install. To create an even surface, place your wood slices on level ground, then fill in with dirt, sweeping between pieces to fill the gaps.
Related: 10 Things to Do with Crosscut Trees
Walk This Way
Choose a pathway that fits your style and needs. If none of these ideas perfectly suit you, put your own design stamp on it to make it what you want.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!