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Fieldstone Stepping Stone Path

Cottage Garden Stepping Stone Pathway



How to Build a Cottage Stepping Stone Path

It's easy to control where garden visitors go in your garden with fieldstone paths.

Building a Flagstone Stepping Stone Path in a Cottage Garden

Guiding your garden visitors to delightful focal points in your garden is easy when you give them a path to walk along. When you add fieldstone paths to your garden it's easy for them to walk along and see those specials areas of your garden.

Decide where you want paths
Gather your garden hoses and use them to lay out the size and the shape of your walkways. Try to allow enough room to create curved paths as they appear more inviting than angular or straight paths. After you have your paths laid out using your garden hose, remove any soil, sod or grass to a depth of 5 inches.


Adding crushed rock
Unless you own a compactor, you'll need to rent one from your local equipment rental company. Their staff will instruct you on how to operate the compactor. You'll need 1/4" minus crushed rock. Minus crushed rock is finely crushed rock no larger than 1/4" that also includes much finer material. You will want to use 1/4" minus crushed rock because it compacts well and makes the solid base you want for your walkway. If you are not sure where to purchase 1/4' minus crushed rock, you can check with your local landscaping company. If you local landscaping company does not carry minus crushed rock they will direct you to where you can buy it.

Compacting the crushed stone and soil
This next step involves adding crushed stone and compacting. Your goal is a pathway bed that is about 3" below ground level.

First, run the compactor over the entire walkway area a few times to compact the soil. Add a couple of inches of crushed rock, rake it out evenly and smooth and run the compactor over the whole area several times. Repeat the process of adding a couple of inches of crushed rock, raking and compacting it, until the level of the crushed rock is about 3" below ground level. Add a final layer of 1" of crushed rock. Rake it out smooth- but do not compact this final layer.


Installing the flagstone
Now you are ready to install flagstone. Flagstone can be quite heavy, so lift with your legs, not your back. If you are not sure where to purchase flagstone in your area, check with your local landscaping firm- they will have it, or know where you can get it.

Assembling your flagstone puzzle
Laying flagstone has no rules as to where the pieces go. Alternate larger and smaller stones for the best look. You can make them fit any way that you like. You'll find that as you fit more pieces together it will get easier for you because it's a lot like assembling a large puzzle Set each stone into the loose upper layer of crushed rock, push down on it with both hands, and wiggle it downward until it feels stable while also trying to keep the stones level.


Level and stabilize pieces
To level and stabilize stones as you go you can add or remove crushed rock beneath individual stones. You can also use a hammer with a masonry chisel to knock pieces off stones to get a better fit- don't forget to wear safety glasses and gloves if you do this.

Once the flagstones are in place, fill remaining gaps with crushed rock, or use a polymeric sand to fill in the spaces between stones. If you don't want anything growing in the cracks, the polymeric sand is the best choice, as it hardens to a rubber-like consistency, which prevents weed growth--check the product packaging for exact instructions for use.

You now have an attractive and durable walkway that can be enjoyed for many years to come--a walkway that invites friends and family to explore your cottage style garden.

About the Author: Jeff Galbraith is a contributing author of Shades of Green
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