Stone walkways and paths are a quick and easy way to establish paths and walkways through and around any garden. If your garden isn’t flat, then you need to establish the gradient of it away from the house, or main building, that the path is servicing and then work away from that building when creating the path.
For the sake of simplicity we’ll imagine you’re setting your path or walkway to go across a lawn. If you’re not entirely sure what direction or design of path you want, trace out a prospective route on the lawn by dropping lines of sand to mark the edges of the path. If you don’t like it, you can mark out another route and the sand can be easily brushed away or removed next time the lawn is cut.
Having decided on the route/design the first thing to do is lay out pegs and tie string to them so that the edges of the route is clearly marked, if important to you this is the time to make sure that the edges are evenly spaced throughout the length of the path or walkway. The next thing to do is to dig out the grass and earth along the route of the path to a depth of 4 inches.
To prevent the loose stones encroaching onto the lawn you need to edge the path. This can be done by fixing treated timber boards to the pegs that you used to initially mark out the path; to do this the pegs will need to have been treated with a preservative.
Drive the pegs into the ground so that they don’t protrude above the level of the lawn. Lay timber edging, again treated with a preservative, against the pegs on both sides then, using a level and mallet, make sure all of the edging is level and at the height of the lawn – finally screwing the edging to the pegs.
Alternatively, you can buy relatively inexpensive faux stone edging pieces that can be cemented in place along the path you’ve marked out with the pegs and string; again make sure they’re all level with the lawn.
Adding the Stones
Before adding the stones put down a layer of weed-proof membrane, this is an added expense but will help to keep the path looking weed free and attractive, not to mention saving you time from pulling out weeds. Stones for paths come in all shapes, sizes and colors, so it is entirely a matter of preference as to which you chose. Sometimes a color in keeping with the environment that the path is in looks great other times a contrasting color is called for.
Regarding the size, smaller stones are more pleasant to walk on but larger ones are less likely to be dislodged from the path. Whatever stone you chose don’t just put it straight onto the bare earth.
You can save some money and create a more enduring path by first putting down a layer of coarse rubble. Say a 2 inch hardcore, distributed as evenly as possible with a shovel. Rake it as level as you can and then compact it down with a rammer, if you have a roller that would be ideal too.
On top of this hardcore you can now add a 2 inch layer of the stones, or mixture of stones, that you want to use for your path. Rake the stones level so that they are just below the level of the edging.
After the path has been used and the stones have settled for a week or two, check to see if there are any patches of stones that need topping up.