If you're tired of maintaining your home's sidewalk, you might be ready to rip it out. There are some good alternatives that require lower maintenance, but there are a few things you need to check first.
Does the City or County Require You to Have a Sidewalk?
In many areas, the public sidewalk along the road is actually the responsibility of the property owners. You don't just have to shovel the snow and repair it if you have one. You have to make sure that you do have one.
The reason for these laws is to keep neighborhoods walkable and that it's easier for someone that's on-site to spot any maintenance needs. You benefit by having a walkable neighborhood that hopefully increases your property values.
Note that this usually just applies to the sidewalk along the road, not any walkways leading to your front door.
Does Your Homeowners Association Require a Sidewalk?
If you live in a homeowners association, there might be additional rules you might have to follow. They might require walkways in certain locations including both along the road and leading up to your front door.
You may be restricted to only using a concrete sidewalk. You may also not have a choice about when to repair or replace your sidewalk — the homeowners association might do the entire neighborhood at once out of your dues.
What Are the Best Sidewalk Alternatives?
There are several good alternatives to having a concrete sidewalk if you still want to have a nice walkway.
There are two ways to lay down bricks. One is by laying down bricks with mortar, as you'd see on a street. This will often have the same maintenance needs as solid concrete.
An easier way is to just lay down large bricks with a little space in between them. If one is broken, you can pull it up and replace it. If your walkway is uneven, just pull up the bricks and smooth it out with a shovel.
Gravel requires almost no maintenance, keeps your shoes from getting muddy, and drains easily. Just buy bags of gravel and pour it down where your sidewalk used to be.
In some cases, natural dirt may be good enough. If you live on naturally hard ground, you may not need to worry about mud or a squishy step. Normal wear will keep the grass back, or just edge while you mow.
If you're ready to rip out your sidewalks, talk to a local concrete cutting company today.