The Path

It happened like this.

My grandmother mentioned that she wanted to get rid of the pile of bricks behind her storage shed and the bricks lining her flower beds because they were in the way. She asked if we wanted to take them. Since our house is brick and the backyard has a brick path lining the exterior, we said absolutely.

Then we realized how many bricks she had. Our bright eyed, optimistic plan was to spend an hour on a Saturday morning getting the bricks and a few plants from her and then stacking them neatly at our house for use on a future project. Three hours tops. [I laughed the entire time I wrote that sentence.]

We got to her house, loaded down our midsize car, called my dad to ask for his truck and manpower assistance, loaded down his truck, went back to the house [having only removed half of the bricks], unloaded everything, fed my dad lunch [three hours after we started] and called it a day on the bricks.

We didn’t plan on making a path that weekend, but we suddenly found ourselves with access to more bricks than we had imagined. Our driveway isn’t very steep, but it is narrow and does butt right up against a hill, which makes it super inconvenient when trying to push a trashcan or a stroller up to the house. Greg had been thinking about how and when he wanted to fix the situation when the solution came to us in the form of many pounds of construction material.

The next weekend we got to digging. We dug out a fair chunk along the side of the drive. [I was not the brains behind this operation. Greg did the measuring and gave me clear instructions on what to do. For these types of projects he is most definitely the ringleader and I am the additional labor.] As we got towards the bottom, we were moving some serious amounts of dirt. Thankfully, we had borrowed my parents’ tiller and wheelbarrow, which made the process easier.


We laid the bricks longways, moving down the drive and cutting out a lot of tree roots as we went. We worked for most of the day and then picked it back up on Sunday, finishing laying the bricks, starting the retaining wall to keep the yard from closing over the path and using the first bag of paving sand to set the path in place. The second bag will go on in a few weeks when the bricks have stopped moving.

Actually “we” didn’t do anything with the retaining wall. Greg built the wall. Credit where credit is due. He poured concrete on the small space at the bottom of the drive where there was a gap between the bricks and the sidewalk. I stuck some beads that I had leftover from a summer at camp along the seam. Because I wanted to.Greg took Easter Monday off from work and finished the wall in the afternoon. The project would have been finished here if it hadn’t rained, which caused some of the mortar to not set. So on Saturday, Greg will finish our “three hour” project. Three weeks after we started.

It looks awesome.


Cost–low (under $100)

Labor–high (over 15 man-hours)

Impact–high (easier access to the house, easier to move the trashcan and the stroller)


Published by Caroline Mitchell Carrico

I am a writer, mom, and museum enthusiast in Memphis. Also a fan of reading all the words, cooking all the vegetables, and watching all my kids' soccer games.

3 thoughts on “The Path

      1. Yes! At least that’s what I tell myself. My plan is to do the same when we put in the garden at Susan’s. Dirt will make them tough!

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