How to Create a Stone Walkway for your Garden
A meandering stone walkway through your garden
lends a cozy, romantic feel. It also entices your guests to amble throughout
your beautiful plantings! What a great way to show off your handiwork.
Installing a stone walkway yourself can save hundreds or even thousands
over having it installed professionally. Not only will you save on labor,
but also on materials.
The very first step is determining the location and design of
your walkway. You can have fun with this process by using flour to outline
your proposed design on the ground; it can be “erased” easily
if you want to start all over! Be sure your walkway is wide enough; it
should be at least three feet wide to accommodate one person, or four
feet wide to accommodate two. A straight walkway
lends a more formal feel; however, since stone is a natural material,
a meandering path might better suit its mood.
need to decide what type of stone you’re going to use. Of course,
the stones should be relatively large and flat. The question is, are
you going to use stone purchased from a landscape retailer, such as flagstone
or silver mica? Such quarried stone costs approximately $1 to $3 per
square foot. Or are you going to use
field stone that you’ve harvested from your or a friend’s
property? If you harvest your own stone, make sure you have enough, and
make sure that they’re
flat enough to walk on so as to prevent a trip hazard.
need to dig a foundation that’s about eight to 10 inches deep for
your stone walkway. You can then install a frame, though that’s
optional. You can use treated two-by-sixes, brick, concrete curb or synthetic
bender board, whichever you prefer. If you choose wood or synthetic bender
board, you can anchor it with stakes.
gravel or crushed rock that’s up to three-eighths inch throughout
the entire foundation; it should be four to six inches deep. This will
prevent shifting and aid proper drainage. If you have expansive
sandy soil, make it a little deeper; likewise, if you have stable clay
soil, you can use a little less. Level the rock with a steel rake, then
compact first with a tamp, then by spraying it with water.
Put a layer
of landscape fabric atop the rock. Now add about two inches of sand atop
the fabric. The fabric will allow water drainage, but will prevent the
sand from eroding down into the rock. This prevents the walkway stones
from settling. Level the sand using the edge of a two-by-four. Then
compact it with a tamp, then by gently misting it with water. You want
the distance between the top of the sand and the top edge of the foundation
to be just slightly less thick than the average thickness of your walkway
the fun part! It’s time to place the stones in the walkway. You
can play with the arrangement, moving the stones about to achieve the most
optimum and attractive fit. The smoothest side of the stone should be
face up. The gaps between your stones should be fairly consistent. If
necessary, use a mason’s hammer to break the stones to achieve
the best fit. Remember to wear safety goggles! If your stones are thicker,
it may require scoring them with a masonry blade on a circular saw.
decided where each stone will be placed, add or remove sand as necessary
to level each stone. Pound each stone with a rubber mallet to firmly
embed it into the sand. ) You can use
a level to make sure that the path is even; but remember, there will
be small fluctuations given stone’s natural properties. As they
say about handmade items in catalogs, “Please allow for individual
the stones are in place, fill any gaps with sand. Then sweep excess sand
from the stones. Mist the walkway with water, which will clean the stones
and further compact the sand.
Now stand back and admire your beautiful
new stone walkway! To maintain your walkway, you should fill in any gaps
with sand about once a year. These gaps are the natural result of ordinary
wind and rain erosion. Alternatively,
you can introduce tiny mosses or groundcovers, which will prevent erosion
and add even more earthy beauty to your attractive natural stone walkway.