Hey there! Are you determined to update your landscape with a cozy, intimate touch? Stone pathways are easy to incorporate in any sized lawn or garden and give you the creative freedom to add personality and whimsy to your home. If you’re thinking this sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry, this 5-step process is easy, simple and fun for any ambitious homeowner. Let’s get started!
Tools + Materials
Save time, money and increase your productivity for this DIY project before you begin with the necessary tools:
- Rubber Mallet
- Wheelbarrow or Garden Cart
Some required materials you’ll need on hand include:
- Edging material (brick, flagstone, metal)
- Gravel/Mulch or other fill type
Decide On Design + Material
There are various types of building stone available, so it’s imperative to stay focused and choose one suitable for the walkway you want to create. You also want to pick stone that complements your yard and home. If there is brick, keystone or rock on your exterior walls, incorporate those colors and textures into your path for continuity.
When buying stone for a walkway, pathway or any other building project, consider these first:
Climate: If winters are cold, use a more dense stone like granite, bluestone or quartzite that can withstand freezing temperatures. Softer, more porous stones such as limestone and sandstone are better suited to warmer areas because when temperatures fall below freezing, any water they absorb could cause them to crack.
Style: Use stone that suits your home’s architectural style. The clean, sharp lines of modular or geometric-shaped stone make it a good choice for contemporary homes; brick and cut stone blocks, are more appropriate for traditional homes; and the rustic look of rough, irregular stone adds to the character of country homes.
Function: A widely spaced, random stone path is better for gardens or secondary paths across lawns or in backyards. For a high-traffic walkway leading to a home’s entry, choose smooth, uniformly cut stone set with tight joints to prevent trips and make walking easier.
Also go with a surface that won’t become dangerously slippery when wet, or too dark that it will be too hot to walk on in the summer months.
Clear The Way
Use marking paint or stakes to discern the shape, width and length of the path. Then remove all the vegetation within that boundary. A spade and rubber mallet will work just fine. But if you’re not keen on all the bending over, or you have thick grass to meander, you can rent a sod cutter for assistance.
Once the flora is gone, lay about 2 inches of leveling sand, using a shop broom to level the pathway. You can also use a 2×4 if you don’t have a broom on hand.
Lay + Level
Place the stones into the sand following your design. Make sure the surface of the stones is well above the sand.
As you settle the stones into place, use a level to check that each surface is truly flat. The bubble should rest in the middle. If your stones are close to an exterior wall, you may want to place them at a slight angel to allow water to direct away from your house.
Filling Between Stones
For a clean, natural look, surround the stones with pebbles in an appropriate color. Fill the pathway but allow the stepping stones to still be raised slightly. You can also use mulch. Concrete is appropriate when the path will see heavy foot traffic.
If you’re creating a mosaic pattern, follow the same steps as above. Once you’ve finished laying the stones, fill in the gaps with concrete mix instead of pebbles, and cover it with a tarp to cure.
The next day, uncover the mosaic and use a paintbrush to spread dry concrete mix over the pattern, no higher than 1/3 of the stones’ height. The more mix you add, the more resilient the mosaic will become. If it is in a high traffic area, you may want to fill the joints until the mix sit closer to the top.
Next lightly spray mist the topping mix until it is saturated, adding more if need be. Let the mix absorb the water and leave the mosaic to cure covered for 60 minutes. Uncover the mosaic and then mist it each day as it begins to fully set. Depending on the weather your mosaic not be fully cured for a few weeks.
To prevent the pebbles or mulch from escaping and spreading into the surrounding grass, you’ll have to add some edging. You can use pavers, bricks or a narrow metal strip depending upon the desired look. Along the pathway, dig a trench that lets you place the edging deep enough so it’s not a tripping hazard, but will still contain the materials.
Enjoy your new path and revel in your functional creation you made yourself!