The concrete walkway between my driveway and front porch was not level, having sunk about 2" on the right side. Water pooled on it after every rain, forcing you to walk around it unless you wanted water in your shoes. Time for an upgrade.
Those bushes around the front side of the walkway were some species of Euonymus, which bloom in the spring and attract hundreds of house flies. Gross. Also, they were in the way of replacing the sidewalk and fixing the drainage issues in my front yard, so I removed them several months ago.
On Craigslist, I found a few pallets of gray Pavestone pavers for a fraction of retail price. After a few hours of brainstorming, taking measurements, and trying out various patterns and layouts, I had a completed drawing in Sketchup.
I used an angle grinder with a 4" wet/dry segmented diamond blade, and aimed to get the concrete chunks down to a manageable size of about 100 lbs each. My 8-year-old son helped by holding the water hose for me, keeping my work area wet so that my cuts would be faster and cleaner.
The cuts were only about 1" deep, so I used a sledgehammer to encourage them to break all the way through. I was elated to find that this plan worked as well as I'd hoped it would, because I was trying to avoid the expense of renting a jackhammer.
This part took less than an hour, but left me feeling exhausted nonetheless. I had to walk uphill to the curb with each piece.
This pile weighs a little over a ton.
The paint lines indicate where the new walkway will go, and thus where we must dig. As expected, I found only dirt under the concrete. The lack of base layer explained why the walkway was sunken and wasn't draining properly.
This took about a day for my girlfriend and I, and I lost count of how many times we filled the wheelbarrow. The worst part of the day was maneuvering each load down the steep incline in my back yard to be dumped at the rear of the lot.
Where the driveway had met the old sidewalk, its edge did not follow a straight line. I corrected that with a grinder before proceeding further. At one point, I accidentally snagged my landscaping line with the grinder, and the line broke instantly. Oops.
On Amazon, I found a 10" dry-cut segmented diamond blade for only $17! Comparable blades in nearby hardware stores were priced at nearly three times that.
I used nearly one cubic yard of # 78 stone, then used PVC pipe to get it roughly even and level.
I neglected to take a photo of Step 9, which was to add a layer of concrete sand and screed it using the above PVC pipe. I stayed up until 1 am one night setting the pavers in place, because I didn't want to call it a day until this step was complete.
Repeat. Then repeat again.
I rented a plate compactor from Home Depot. Having never used one before, on the first pass I accidentally cracked or chipped several pavers on the edges. I then had to carefully dig them up and replace them, and as a result ended up working after dark, trying to finish so I could return the compactor as soon as possible. By the third pass, I was able to use the compactor without damaging any pavers.
I backfilled the exterior edges with dirt. In the spring, I'll spread some grass seed as needed to fill in the patchy areas.
This sets the stage for my next project, which is expanding the flower bed containing those bushes and lining it with wall blocks to match the flower bed on the other side of the walkway. Also, I still have ~80 square feet of pavers left over, which I may use to make a landing coming off of my back deck.