Solid Or Broken
The first thing you’ll need to decide is, do you want a solid path (like a sidewalk), or a broken “stepping stone” design. A solid path is generally more appealing, safer to use, and easier to work around when mowing the lawn. Having the defined border of a solid path also allows for additional landscaping that can add to the beauty. However, it’s important to remember that, because of the additional materials required. it is more expensive and a little more difficult to install a solid path.
A broken path is much easier to install and, depending on the type of stones you use, substantially less expensive than a solid path. There are drawbacks however to having a broken stone walkway. First and foremost is the inherent danger of having gaps in the walkway, making it much easier to trip and fall. Some decorative stones have raised designs on them that can add to the “slip and fall” danger.
A broken stone walkway can also make lawn care (mowing, weed eating, etc) more difficult. Because of the nature of their installation, they can also become discolored, over time, from the chlorophyll in the grass. If you’re unsure as to which you would prefer, I always advise customers to start with a broken stone path to start with, as it’s simple to turn it into a solid path later.
Choosing Your Path
For either path, planning the layout ahead of time is essential. Starting on paper, draw a layout of your backyard and start to get an idea of the shape of the walkway. When it comes to shaping, do yourself a favor and avoid sharp twists and turns, as these are more difficult to work with. If you’re planning on pouring concrete, then feel free to use whatever shape you like, but if you’re planning to use stones, keep the curves gentle.
Once you have your layout, mark the area off on the ground. I like to use landscape chalk to mark off a path first. Landscape chalk and spray paint are not the same thing. Landscape chalk is temporary, safe for the environment and won’t damage your lawn. Landscape chalk is available at any home improvement store, or by clicking this link: Landscape Chalk. I’ll also put a link to it in the Amazon module on this page.
Before you do any digging, you’ll want to have a professional mark the location of and power or gas lines in your yard just to be safe. For actual installation instructions, I recommend the Lowes Home Improvement Channel on YouTube. Their professional instruction, and easy to follow videos will help you get any project done quickly and professionally.
Enjoying Your New PathDon’t forget to inspect, from time to time, for cracks and grass/weeds poking through, as these can seriously damage the integrity of your walkway. If you followed all of the instructions in the installation video however, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Depending on any additional landscaping you choose to add, your stone walkway really won’t require much “on going maintenance”. Stone walkways are beautiful additions to any backyard, and now that you’ve installed yours, all that’s left is to enjoy.