May 29, 2020

How to Create a Stepping Stone Walkway

For a REALLY long time now, we have had a mud issue with the area by the side gate in our backyard.  As you can imagine, this makes taking the dog out for a walk after it’s been snowing or raining SUPER fun.  We knew we wanted to create some kind of pathway that would alleviate this issue, but after getting a $3000 estimate from our favorite landscaping company, we knew that this would no doubt have to be a DIY project.

Since my hubby is the rock star that actually brought this whole plan to fruition (with some assistance from my teenage daughter), I decided to let HIM tell you the how-to.  (I, of course, had to spell-check and edit it afterwards for grammar errors because the former English teacher in me just couldn’t help herself….)


Preparation is always the path to success (pun intended)!  Measure, measure and then measure again (TRUST ME!). You need square footage and when it comes to materials, you need cubic feet – good times!

– We had stepping stones already, but we needed a couple more since some were broken, and I wanted to cover a little more space. (Buy slate stones – best would be from a local landscape company, with Home Depot as a backup.  However, be forewarned that theirs look more “fabricated” but will still work fine.)
– The base of the path will be Weed Guard – I bought 100 square feet of Vigoro, which comes in different widths and lengths. You’ll need to match it with what you measured above.
– You need sand, and you want this an inch to two inches thick, so, unfortunately, you have to do math here (I know, I know).  Two inches is 1/6th of a foot, so divide your square footage by six, and that’s how much cubic feet you’ll need.
– With the gravel to surround the stones, it will depend on how big your stones are or how closely you are spacing them.  You’ll need about 1/3 to 2/3 of the cubic feet that you bought for the sand.  I used bluestone chips for this.
– For the edging, there are two typical routes: plastic (easier to work with) or metal (my recommendation as it will be sturdier and longer-lasting).  The edging is measured linearly, and you’ll need 2x your length to do both sides.
– I highly recommend picking up and organizing all materials above before starting. This will lead to a smoother and quicker process once the sweating starts.
Step 1:  Either mark with paint on the ground or string that’s staked into the ground the edges you want for the walkway.
Step 2:  Edge, dig and rake a 4 inch deep trench. I used an edging tool similar to a hoe (see above in materials) to make the edge and then a shovel to break up the dirt and dig it out.  I then raked throughout to keep the surface of the trench level/flat.
Step 3:  Really level out the dirt with the rake and make sure you are happy with the depth.  If you can, center the pathway slightly higher than the edge for water flow.
Step 4:  Lay down the weed barrier – if your path twists and turns, you’re going to need to cut the material and overlap it (hopefully you bought a little more than you needed).
Step 5:  Put in your edging.  For the steel edging, it was much easier than I imagined to shape it while putting in the stakes.  Don’t be intimidated about bending the metal.
Step 6:  Put your 2 inches of sand down.  You want this to be flat/even so do this by hand, then rake it with a leaf rake (not the heavy duty one you need for the soil).
Step 7:  Tamp down the sand flat and packed in. Be sure to use a heavy tamper.
Step 8:  Map out how you want the large stones to lay.  Once you generally see how you want them to fit, lay them gently without disturbing any sand except what’s directly under the stone.  Once that is set, stand on it and make sure it’s fitting flat and secure on the sand.
Step 9:  Fill in around the stones with your gravel.  Do this gently to not overly disturb the sand and make it thick.  You do want to leave a little room from the top of the gravel to the stone.  It’s not meant to be flush because the gravel will then just cover the stones.
Step 10:  Stand back and take in the majesty of your accomplishment (or fill in the dirt/landscape around the edging and plant wonderful greenery and flowers to make it all look great).   
I’m so appreciative of my husband’s handiwork!!!  If he inspires you to create a walkway like this in your yard, be sure to tag me so I can show him!  You’ll make his whole entire year, believe me!
  1. Big does of Jeff says:

    Looks great! 😜

  2. Trisha says:

    Good job! It looks great.

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