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Make a Traditional Stepping Stone Path

Make a Traditional Stepping Stone Path

Once upon a time, stepping stone paths were seen as a bit passé; the sort of garden feature which rose to popularity in the 1950s and 60s only to plummet into the depths of ‘naff’ once things got a little more streamlined and contemporary in the 1990s.

Well who are we to judge? The original fairy tale path is back with vengeance and thank goodness! The pretty, meandering stone paths are not only reminiscent of all your childhood story books but they’re also incredibly practical.

You can install a traditional stepping stone pathway into your lawn to make accessing certain areas easier during the winter months when the lawn might be boggy and wet, or you can create one just for fun and because it looks beautiful.

Bordered with classics such as forget me nots or pansies, stepping stone paths are a great way to add beauty to a garden without much ongoing maintenance necessary.

Choose your stones

Find stones which appeal in terms of their colour; softer, natural colours are always preferable. Make sure you select a good variation in size and shape; stepping stone paths are supposed to appear natural and rustic; you’re not aiming for a uniform finish.

Arrange your stones

To work out how far apart the stones should be, walk the route yourself, observing the distance between your natural strides. Lay a few of the stones out at the start of the path to get some idea of how they best fit together.

Remember to take into account the fact that the distance will be tighter for stones on curves or bends.

Digging time

Your stones need to sit level with the surface they’re going into. It doesn’t matter whether they’re going into a lawn or gravel; you should dig the pits out to the same depth as each stone.

Fill each space with stone dust to create a more stable base for your path; this is mixed with water and the resulting mixture is poured into each space.

Once the stones are placed, you can adjust their firmness with a rubber mallet, being careful to beat one side of each slightly more than the other so that rainwater can easily drain from the stones in bad weather.

When your path has completely settled, you can think about whether you’d like to edge it with some herbs or flowers. Some good choices are as follows;

  • Forget me not
  • Creeping thyme
  • Alyssum
  • Cerastium
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Marjoram

Edging your path with low-growing herbs or flowers will not only look beautiful but will also help to draw moisture away from the path and keep the edges looking tidy. Evergreen herbs are a particularly good choice as they are low maintenance…just be careful not to choose herbs which romp too much such as mint.