You don't want anyone's memories of the visit to include bruises or broken bones, so make sure there's no ice for people to slip on. But chemical de-icers damage masonry, plants, and shoes, and fireplace ashes or kitty litter ends up being tracked into the house. To clear the walk in a hurry, follow This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook's advice and gently scrape off whatever ice you can with a long-handled ice chipper. Then, loosen the stubborn bits by pouring a bucket of hot water on them. Just make sure to dry up the water with a towel so it doesn't turn into a new layer of ice.