A Brick Walkway Redesign

In my front yard, there lives a Southern Magnolia, Grandiflora. And grand she is! I didn’t place her here. Even with my limited knowledge of gardening, I know better than to plant a Southern Magnolia 10 feet out from a house. (Remember when the yard looked like this?)



Let’s take a little ride in my time machine. The year is 1989 and we are house hunting or “trying out houses” as Chip who was 6 at the time, liked to call it. We brought a video recorder with us on this second trip back to see the house.  In this screen shot from an ancient VHS tape, here’s how Mrs. Magnolia looked 24 years ago. Amazing what 24 years can do! She’s even been through two ice storms that took her top right off, but she always comes back and grows a brand new one.

I was so excited about having a magnolia in the front yard and all the decorating opportunities those big beautiful leaves and blossoms were going to provide, I actually put a couple of tree fertilizer stakes in the ground around the base to encourage her to grow. HA! Be careful what you wish for!

Magnolia Tree


Grow she did! After a few years, Mrs. Magnolia took over the straight, concrete walkway that ran along in front of the house.

Curved Brick Walkway


I didn’t really mind because it gave me the excuse I needed to have a curving brick walkway installed on the other side.

Perennials Bed Along Side Brick Walkway


I gave Mrs. Magnolia a pretty wide berth when I mapped out the design with a garden hose, but over the years she has caught up to the walkway, again. I refuse to cut her down so I just gently and selectively prune her as needed. She’s in need of an overall pruning so I’ll be searching for a good arborist for that job.


Front Porch Love

I’ve always loved pouring through decorating magazines. One day I spied this porch in Southern Accents–I miss that magazine. The home below is part of Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. I fell hard for this porch. I tore the article out and saved it for many, many years, dreaming and hoping one day I could add it to the front of my home.

Front Porch Renovation and Addition


Many years later the pediment over my front door began to have problems. It developed a hole on one end that grew quickly. It was a beautiful pediment so I resisted removing it for a long time but eventually I decided it had to go. The year was 2007 and I was in the process of adding a screened-in porch onto the back of my home. Since I was deep in porch mode, I decided this was the time to add a front porch, too. The existing stoop was too small for the porch I wanted so it was removed.

Front Porch Addition Modeled After Gainesway Farm


A new brick stoop was built. Hey, there are the concrete urns I just replaced.  They are on either side of a bench now in another area of the yard.

Front Porch Addition Modeled After Gainesway Farm


My porch contractor did a great job copying the design of the Gainesway Farms Porch.

Boxwood Topiaries in Lattice Planters with Annuals for Traditional Landscape


But when the porch was being built, I realized we had a big problem. The new porch no longer connected to the curved front walkway as it should. Drat!  Always something, right?

Brick Walkway Before Pictures 1_wm


I asked the brick mason who was building the porch stoop how we could fix it. I don’t remember now what he suggested but I remember it greatly increased the cost of the porch. It just wasn’t in the budget at the time.

Brick Walkway Before Pictures 2_wm


Over the years I’ve lived with it but I have to tell you, it’s been driving me crazy!  For someone who loves and craves symmetry like I do, this is like nails on a chalkboard. With all the recent yard renovations, it’s time to fix this once and for all.

I have a brick/concrete company coming out Thursday to talk about options for this area and for the area underneath the deck in back. I’m thinking the last few feet of the walkway will need to be broken up and a new design that flares out will need to go back. I hope the guys coming out have some creative, beautiful design ideas because if they don’t, I’ll have to search elsewhere. In the meantime, I’ve been looking for some ideas online to show them.

Brick Walkway Before Pictures 3_wm_wm


What do you think about this walkway?  Notice how it flares out to connect to the patio area.

Walkway flares out

 Source for photo above is London Painting Group

Another example of a brick walkway that flares out.

Brick Walkway flares out at end

Source Unknown

 And another….

Brick Walkway Design


Apparently, designs can get pretty creative. If you come across any brick walkway pics you think I should consider, please share them with a link in the comments. I will definitely check them out!

Brick Walkway with Circular Design

 Source Unknown

While they are out here tomorrow, I think I’ll ask if bricks can be added horizontally along the edges of my existing walkway like this one below. I have a feeling it will either be impossible or will cost too much, but it never hurts to ask.


In the meantime, I just purchased a pressure washer so I can clean the mossy stuff off the upright (riser) part of the steps…not to mention a few other places that need it. Are you dealing with moss or mildew on your porch with all this crazy rain?

Boxwood Topiaries in Lattice Planter with Annuals for aTraditional Landscape


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  1. I love the flare in the brick pathway! very elegant. Miss Magnolia is very pretty, but like all pretty girls, she is a handful!

  2. Mary from Virginia says

    This post is perfect timing, we are in the process of selecting patio pavers and a walk-way.

    I wish I had some suggestions, but I think you are the one with all the ideas!

  3. Lois from PA says

    I too love the flair at the end of the walkway….your magnolia is to you what white pines are to me! Here in PA everywhere you turn there are white pines! and I swear they grew three feet every night! I too learned the hard way by planting too close to the house, and now will need a back hoe to transplant! lol!
    I can’t get over the transformation on the front of your home! its opened up so much! its just lovely, I bet you go out there every morning and just smile – I would!
    Have a good one!

    • Lois, it still shocks me when I go out there. Def a big change! I do like it…and love the light that pours in through the windows now. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have pines here too, but I don’t think they are White Pines. Unfortunately, the kind we have grow very tall and have a tendency to uproot and fall on houses during storms. I love pines that have lots of lower branches and pretty cones…not the tall skinny ones we have so many of here.

  4. I really, really like the flared brick designs Susan! Your home is really coming along! You must be having so much fun :).

    I like symetry also, so I can understand why that current path would drive you crazy! Any one of the designs you showed will be beautiful and perfectly suited to our home.

  5. Ann Harrison says

    Love your front porch, especially the patina on the older looking bricks it is built of…is the mossy stuff dangerous? If not, I really like the patina of it.



    • Ann, I scrub off the slippery stuff on the steps. The part on the risers probably isn’t dangerous, just wasn’t sure it looked very nice. I normally like mossy stuff on things…just not sure about on the risers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Go for it! That would bother me too. You’ve done so much to the front of the house, just make it the way it should
    be and it will bring you joy!

  7. VirginiaGeorgia says

    Loving all that you are doing! I am studying your walk very carefully as I will putting one in my new garden behind my condo. What a switch to garden in such a small area – and fun!

    What about fig vine across the front of the stair risers? I love it and it’s easy to do – esp. with all the wonderful rain we have been having in GA this summer.

  8. Since the walkway is curved I would remove about 3′-4′ of the existing bricks where they end at the stairs. Then have them create a semi-circle of bricks coming off the bottom step and just have the pathway join it on the left side. I love the idea of horizontal bricks on either side. It’s a nice finishing touch. I also like the idea of adding “lighted” bricks to light the pathway- or at least the end of the pathway before the stairs begin… Your house and garden are just beautiful!

  9. Thanks for the great before and after shots of your home. It is so funny we did almost the same thing in our last home. Adding larger porch, portico and sidewalks in brick. Went to every brick place throughout the area. Designed our portico just to have neighbors copy it. Darn! – you did a wonderful job but it seems to always get bigger and bigger. I know just our flower beds tripled or more in that house. I love your flared walkway !!! Looks great . Would be an easy fix for your front. Also , like the bricks added in the other direction- that is what we had. Your magnolia is impressive. You are doing such a wonderful transformation. It is beautiful.. After we did all that- we moved!!!

    • Too funny! I’ve looked out the window before and have seen folks taking pics of my porch and I’ve had folks knock on the door and ask permission to photograph. A neighbor in another section of our subdivision told me she was going to copy it, not sure if she did though. I guess we should take it as a compliment, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Peggy! I’ll have to do one big post sometime showing the before and afters…may be next spring since I have some serious work to do on the perennial garden.

      • Rattlebridge Farm says

        I love your porch, and I copied it, too! For realsies! ๐Ÿ™‚ Without your help, I would have been stuck with a flat, one-dimensional roof.

  10. I love the looks of the flared walkway. I must admit that uneven ending to the walkway would drive me nuts too! We also battle mold constantly, it has rained so very much this summer and when it’s not raining the humidity is ridiculous! Flip side is not shoveling snow all winter, but some summers I wonder if that wouldn’t be worth it. Now, I cannot comment on inappropriate trees planted in inappropriate areas. To comment would probably lead to ranting. Ranting might lead to raving and aint nobody got time fo that!

    • Yup, me too! Gotta fix that, especially now that I’m spending more time in the yard and seeing it so much. The humidity has been crazy! I’ve got some cleaning to do on my screened porch…with bleach! Yuck!

  11. Susan, I love the look of the flared brick paths. With your sense of design, I bet you’ll come up with a beautiful solution. I’ve always loved your porch addition. Did you save the pediment?
    Your magnolia is magnificent. We don’t have a magnolia in our yard, but there are many in our neighborhood. My next door neighbor graciously allows me to trim branches for holidays. ‘-)
    Good luck with your project.

  12. Yes, if you can flair it out, that would look fantastic! That lack of symmetry would drive me nuts too! Good luck tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Yes…that walkway not being as wide as the steps would drive me bonkers. I love the flared brick look and I also like the idea of a semi-circle at the base of the steps that the walk could join to. My neighbor broke my heart when he took down a huge and beautiful Magnolia that had been in his side yard for years and years. Our master bedroom is very hot now in the afternoons, as that Magnolia shaded our house from the afternoon sun. His reason was that he was worried about the roots getting into his water pipes. I miss it so. Your house looks wonderful.

    • That’s terrible! I don’t think magnolias are known for doing that. Weeping Willows are but never heard that about a magnolia. Thanks, Joyce! Yup, that walkways has driven me bonkers for 5 years…time to do something with it.

  14. The front porch addition is seamless. It looks as if it is original to the house. I love a covered portico at the entrance. It gives guests a chance to shake out their umbrellas if it is raining and a moment to gather themselves before ringing the bell.

    • Thanks Ellcia! That was why I wanted one, too. Besides the curb appeal I knew it would add, I felt sorry for folks standing in the rain until I could get to the door. It’s also great to know when I order books or anything that’s being delivered, it won’t have to set out in the rain.

  15. Susan, I know it was driving you crazy as it would be me. I feel a little dense because I had never noticed it before or was that creative editing? I know you will find the perfect design.
    Your contractor really hit the design, spot on. So good that you had the forethought to save the picture.
    Have a great evening.

    • It isn’t that noticeable in pictures, just more noticeable when you’re right on top of it. It’s a miracle I took pics of when the porches were being built since I wasn’t blogging back then. I remember thinking that I wanted to remember all the details later since I so rarely do an addition like that.

  16. The horizontal bricks on the outside edges of a walkway is called a ‘soldier course’ . Can’t wait to see what you wind up doing. How fun!

  17. I think the flared walkway is an excellent idea! In fact, that’s what I was thinking when seeing the dilemma in the first photo of the porch before got very far reading this post. LOL
    Surely the whole walkway wouldn’t have to be redone. Unless, of course, they couldn’t find matching bricks. Heaven forbid!! But I do lik the ideas you have shown.

  18. I keep gallons of Clorox outdoors on hand. There is a separate sprayer attachment too just for Clorox outdoors. I spray my house, garage door, brick porch and driveway. $5 for a gallon and the sprayer attachment for your garden hose (which you refill from the gallon jug) is about $8. Afterwards I use windex outdoors for the windows. A great option you might want to try in-between pressure washing jobs. Your house and yard are beautiful. Couldn’t have been a better year with all the rain for a yard installation!

  19. I like the idea of flairing the bricks out there at the steps. The other pictures look so pretty and that would look really good at your front porch. Love the idea of having the front look like the Lexington house, your contractor did a good job. I only live about an hour from Lexington and it has such pretty houses and such pretty horses and horse barns. The barns are pretty enought to live in. Lucky horses. Iam a true Kentucky girl.

  20. You have a such a great eye for design, Susan! I love that you carry a vision with you throughout the years and eventually MAKE it happen to perfection! ๐Ÿ™‚ I so enjoy seeing your projects!!!!!

    xoox laurie

  21. Susan,
    You inspire me. you have some serious energy. lol. Get all your projects done before that grandbaby gets here for that is where all your money will go once it arrives.

    Love your house, whatever you decide will look great. I love the new planters, they add such a nice look to the house. We are fighting mold and moss too with all this rain. A few sunny days in a row would be nice and would help dry everything out. Good luck with your future projects. I love seeing the pictures and reading all about them.

    Mary L

  22. Just love your walkway…We had brick paver walkways in our home in Florida and that is when we bought our own power washer…as the bricks tended to mildew from time to time….Your home has truly progressed so beautifully…You have certainly tackled some amazing projects lately…Everything looks gorgeous Susan!

  23. Like so many of the other ladies, I, too, like the look of the flared walkways. In fact, as I was looking at the photo of your porch and the walkway, that’s the first think I thought of – a flared edge to the walkway on one side as it meets the porch, so the end of the walkway goes all the out to the edge of the steps. Personally, it wouldn’t bother me to have just the one side flare out to meet the edge of the steps on the side where it comes up short. I even found a landscape site that shows drawings for two different styles of brick walks that flare out just on one side. http://blog.dynascape.com/?p=219

    • I should have said, that’s the first THING I thought of (not “think”!). Oops.

    • Thanks, Elizabeth for that link. That was really interesting. I never would have thought of some of those designs. Gives me hope that we can find something that will work and not look too contrived as well. Thanks for that link!

  24. Bonjour,

    Comme prรฉvu, aprรจs mes longues semaines รฉloignรฉes des blogs, me revoici parmi vous ! Vous m’avez beaucoup manquรฉ…
    Je suis heureuse d’ouvrir aujourd’hui la page de votre derniรจre publication. Un trรจs joli porche…
    gros bisous

  25. Anne Boykin says

    Hi Susan, I have really been enjoying following the changes you’ve been making to the front of your beautiful home. That walkway would bug me too but I had never noticed it in the pictures of your porch. Thanks for your lovely blog!

  26. Omg, Susan!
    I am pretty shocked! Your walkway does NOT connect to the porch?! (Or vice versa…)
    That’s an absolute “No go”! Symmetry, my dear! You know, symmetry is very important!
    LOL Just kidding, Susan! I wouldn’t have noticed it in 100 years! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your porch and that red door are both sooo beautiful, even that not “perfectly” ending walkway can’t
    make it less attractive! Just sayin’… ๐Ÿ™‚
    But, now you’ve called my attention to it (!) and I agree with you: you need a flared walkway!
    No longer nails on a chalkboard! Yikes!
    I’m sure, you and/or those guys will do a great job!
    ~Hugs to you~

  27. Hi, Susan! I’m with you on this one – I think it’s the OCD (my husband calls it “Mr. Monk syndrome” from the TV show!), but I need the sidewalk to match the entryway too! Love your ideas & think it would make the “Mr. Monk” inside you happy! LOL We have a magnolia tree in our front yard – it was a gift 23 years ago from our church choir (I was the pianist) when Roger & I got married. One of the choir members brought it over in his pickup truck – it was a tall, thin stick. Now it IS the front yard – probably 100′ tall & half as wide & we are SO glad we put it way out there instead of next to the house – it is definitely the showpiece of the yard. Only problem is the huge leaves falling all over the yard – they are like cardboard – and all the seed pods. But I’ll “suffer” all the minuses for the plus of how beautiful it is in the spring and all the rest of the year as well. Can’t wait to see your finished walkway!

    • Faith, that’s exactly how I feel about my magnolia. Those leaves can hang around for years and never break down, they are so sturdy. And the seed pods falling this time of year, but Oh, how I love that tree. It is worth all the trouble. So awesome that you’ve seen it from when it was just a stick to the beauty it is today! So many folks don’t live in a house long enough to witness that, these days. I love that you were able to! I like that Mr. Monk analogy…that is totally me when it comes to that sidewalk transition. I think I have a little Mr. Monk in me anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Susan, you’re killing me here, that curved walk…I envy you so, it’s gorgeous.

  29. I am so glad to see that your Miss Magnolia has grown the way they are supposed to-with the bottom limbs untrimmed and to the ground like a Christmas tree. This helps keep some of the leaves under the tree instead of all over the yard-(this is according to Southern Living Magazine) I love my Miss Magnolia, too-she’s about 30 years old-but someone revealed
    her of her lower limbs when she was a young ‘un so I have the leaves all over the place all year!

    • Thanks, Carol. I once read in one of my gardening books written by a local gardener, Don Hastings, that you should never trim away the lower limbs and I do love how that looks. As you mentioned, it hides the leaves that fall and they don’t blow everywhere as badly. In the last few years I’ve run into a little problem with a couple of the lower limbs. They are so heavy, they are resting on the ground and they have rooted themselves. They continually send up new shoots. You can see that in this post: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/a-landscaping-to-do-list-and-a-surprise-before-and-after/ I need to find an arborist and have them come out and tell me what to do about those. Wherever the shoots grow, it creates big gaps in the tree since the tree grows away from the shoots to make room for them. Have you ever seen that happen? Any ideas?

  30. You do have a project ahead of you. Looking at your pictures, I think you should extend the flower bed on the left facing the house to balance the bed on the right meeting the porch – and flare -with opposing bricks on the side – or make a rectangle landing – you have a long of squares and straight lines anything rounder – if not larger – might not coordinate. I’m looking forward to seeing what you end up doing!

  31. Hi Susan,
    I JUST started following you, and added you to my circles. I’ve only been blogging since the beginning of this year, mostly of my antiquing ventures with my two sisters, but that invariably leads to decorating my home and garden.
    We did a complete yard landscape, front porch, walkway & parking area renovation ten years ago, overhauling our stoop to a portico and walkway extending from it. Both my husband and I are crazy symmetrical freaks (so much so that when our mulch beds that butt up against the walkway at the base of the steps goes beyond that joinery, my husband wants to replant grass!). I don’t have a post on the renovation to send you the link, but I do have a few lessons learned from previously having all brick to going to concrete center porch base and walkway with brick ‘rowlock’ trim (that is the masons’ term for the brick on either side of the walkway). I agree that the 3-4′ at the base of your steps could easily make a nice transition for what you want.
    The brick does get slimy, but be careful with that power washer! You’ll need to use the nozzle with the widest spread to avoid breaking your mortar in between. My sister sloshed a whole gallon of bleach on hers, then brushed with a street broom, and rinsed about an hr later, and said it worked great to kill the moss & slime. We need to do ours, but I am very hesitant for fear of mortar breaks.
    I look forward to watching the progress on your walkway, and I can send you photos of my before/after. I try to do that through Google+. Hopefully it will let me, even though you haven’t added me to your circles.
    Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks so much for all that good advice, Rita. I was planning on doing the cleaning this weekend so that’s perfect timing! Thanks so much for following…glad you are here! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Wow! You have a beautiful home. All the greens surrounding it make the house look refreshing and lively. Your pathway compliments your home perfectly, no wonder it’s driving you crazy that it does not connect with the new porch. Hopefully, you can remedy it soon.

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