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How to Lay Garden Stones

Updated November 22, 2016

Rather than using a worn path or a few randomly placed stepping stones, many gardeners will lay garden stones, also known as patio stones, to create a walkway which is both functional and pleasing to the eye. By laying garden stones, as opposed to a brick walkway, there is no need to use concrete in order to create a permanent change in your landscaping design. Whether you want a curving or straight pathway, your garden stones can reflect your style in layout and pattern.

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  1. Plan the layout of your path, whether it is winding, straight and direct, or slightly curving from one point to another. Depending on the style of your garden stone and your personal preference and needs, the path can be a small two feet wide or up to four feet wide. Mark the outer borders of the walkway with a line of flour.

  2. Set out your garden stones over the grass in the pattern you desire to make sure the stones fit neatly in between the flour lines. Allow gaps between bricks to be no larger than an inch wide where possible and be sure you have enough stones to cover the length of the path. Take a picture if desired so you can duplicate this look exactly when it is time to lay the garden stone.

  3. Set the garden stones aside and dig out the walkway everywhere between the flour lines and down seven inches deep to create a trench. Try to make the inside walls of the walkway trench as smooth as possible so the finished walkway looks clean.

  4. Spread out landscaping fabric in the base of the trench and up each inside wall. Overlap cut pieces of landscaping fabric by four inches where needed to fully cover any exposed soil inside the trench.

  5. Fill in the trench and cover over the landscaping fabric with a 3-inch layer of gravel. Be sure the gravel doesn't slip under any overlaps as the first shovels of gravel go into the trench. Smooth out the gravel as level as possible to strive for an even three inches deep.

  6. Cover over the entire upper surface of gravel with a new layer of landscaping fabric from one inside wall to the other. Pour a 2-inch layer of builder's sand over the gravel and landscaping fabric.

  7. Screed the sand by setting a board over the sand and adjust it to run width-wise to the walkway from one wall to the other. Have someone hold the board on each end and drag it over the sand in one direction to smooth it flat. Add more sand as needed until the entire walkway is smooth.

  8. Place the garden stones starting on one end of the path according to your preferred design and the layout you selected in step two. Tap each stone with a rubber mallet to push it both down and backward against the stones that were laid before it. Continue setting stones until they have all been used and your walkway is complete.

  9. Pour an inch of sand over top of the garden stones and sweep the sand into the gaps between stones to fill them in. Add more sand as needed until all of the gaps are full. Wet the walk with a light spray of water to set the stones and sand.

  10. Tip

    Add new sand, sweep, and re-wet the walkway anytime your garden stones start to feel loose.

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Things You'll Need

  • Flour
  • Garden stones
  • Camera, if desired
  • Shovel
  • Tape measure
  • Black landscaping fabric
  • Gravel
  • Builder's sand
  • Long board, two to four feet long
  • Rubber mallet
  • Broom
  • Water hose

About the Author

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