Building a path

Stone walkways have a rustic appeal that’s perfect for a Cottage Garden Design but is also suitable for any landscape plan. Stone paths are sometimes laid with mortar, but this is only possible if you have a concrete base and some experience in stone masonry.

Sandset paths are easy to install and perfect for DIY. This technique involves laying the stones on a bed made of sand. The sand keeps the stone in place and helps to level everything. You can then fill the gaps between the stones using sand, gravel, or plants that tolerate foot traffic.


Select Your Stone

  1. It is a matter mainly of taste to choose stone for a walk. Any broad, flat stones are suitable. Flagstone is the most common type of stone used for walkways. It describes a particular shape rather than a kind of rock. The best choice is to use a local class, which will keep the costs down for both the rock and delivery. The ideal flagstone is usually 2 to 3 inches thick.

Plan the Walkway

  1. Mark the path for your walkway using two garden hoses or stakes with string (for straight paths). If you use the route for frequent traffic (such as between a driveway or front door), ensure it’s wide enough for two people to pass each other comfortably. You can size small garden paths and those that lead to hidden nooks in the landscape for one person. Install hoses or strings on both sides of your way.

Excavate the Path

  1. Follow the garden hoses or strings to cut through the grass. Remove any grass, weeds, or roots from the area. Dig the soil out to a depth of 5 inches for a stone that is 3 inches thick. This will create a flat and smooth base. Hand-tamp the earth or repeatedly walk on the ground to firmly tamp it.

Install Edging

  1. If desired, install edging along both sides of your path. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. You can use many frame types, including galvanized steel, plastic brick paver edge, and pressure-treated timbers. The advantage of the grass or soil will keep the stones in position if you do not use an edging.

Apply Landscape Fabric

  1. Landscape fabric can be laid over the soil to cover the path. Use a continuous piece whenever possible. If you must use more than one piece, ensure the edges are overlapped by at least 12″. Use a utility blade to trim the fabric on the side of the path. Then, use landscape fabric staples to secure it into the soil.

Add Sand Layer

  1. Add two inches of landscape fabric. Use a 2×4 slightly smaller width than the path to smooth the sand and make it flat.

Place the stones

  1. The stones should be visible on one side. It is essential to know the size and shape of each stone so that you can choose the right one when laying the walkway.

Install the Stones

  1. Start by placing the stones in the sand of the walkway. Arrange them as you wish. Leave small holes if you plan to fill the gaps with gravel or sand. Leave more significant gaps (about two inches) if the stones are planted between them. Set each stone stable (without swaying) and level with the surrounding rocks. You can use a carpenter’s level to ensure each stone is level and then adjust the level of other gemstones. Sand can be added or removed under each stone to raise or reduce it. For a random, natural look, alternately large and small rocks and stones of different colors and shapes.

Fill in the Gaps

    1. Fill in the gaps between stones with sand, gravel, or a combination of both. Fill the holes with sand using a broom. Spray the walkway with water and repeat until the gaps are filled. Fill the gaps in the walkway with a mix of potting soil, and then plant “stoppable” species such as wooly thyme or sedum.

Stone Sidewalk Tips

    • Consider adding compactible gravel to the area susceptible to flooding in heavy rains. This can be done by placing a layer of sand and landscaping fabric on top. Gravel is a better base than soil and drains quickly to prevent pools.
    • Set the height of your path a few inches higher than the ground around it to keep it dry.
    • You can slope large stones away from the house or other structures if they tend to collect water. Be sure to drop the path away from any facilities or homes.
    • If you want, you can slope the entire bed of sand, but it is usually easier to do this by dipping each stone individually, using a level. The rocks should be dropped at approximately 1/8 inch for every foot. If a stone measures 2 feet in width, it should slope 1/4 inch on one side.



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