How to Easily Create a Dazzling, Low-Cost Backyard Path!

If the prospect of transforming an ordinary yard or garden into a beautiful masterpiece excites you, you’re going to love this feature!  Just think how exciting it would be to walk through your yard or garden on an enchanting stone or gravel path! 

Before you get started, consider what type of path you want to install – gravel or stone?  Gravel is less expensive than stone and it’s easier to install.  Gravel works well for moderate foot traffic.  Stone, on the other hand, provides great color and texture.  Stone is heavy, durable and will give your yard or garden an exceptional look.

Once you’re finished, your lawn or garden will look stunning!  It’s not nearly as hard as you may think!  With a helper, you can complete the whole project over a weekend.  And the results will leave you feeling very satisfied with a job well done.       

Gravel:  When working with gravel, you’ll have several size and color options.  Gravel sizes range from 3/4 inch down to a powder.  The smaller the individual pieces of gravel, the more comfortable it is underfoot.  You can buy gravel from any landscape supply company or directly from a quarry.  Note:  When you have the gravel delivered, have it placed on your driveway and not on your lawn to avoid harming the grass.    

In addition to the gravel, you’ll need a border around your path.  You have three options: metal, stone, and brick edging.  Metal edging gives an “invisible” look.  It’s available in green or brown, and it comes in 8-foot and 16-foot lengths. Stone & brick edging gives a more polished look.    

Gravel path installation:

The only tools you’ll need for this project are a spade, a shovel and wheelbarrow.  The first step is to clear your path.  To do this, use your spade to remove the sod.  After your border is set, lay down 3 inches of gravel on your path.  No special sloping is needed.  Simply follow the grade of your lawn or garden area. After you’ve cleared a path, the next step is to set the border:

Setting metal edging:  metal edging should be 1 inch higher than the path.  Anchor the edging with metal spikes.

Setting stone edging:  for best results, fit the stones tightly, butting them close together.  Stone edging should be placed on an inch of gravel and set together with a few whacks from a rubber mallet.  Be sure to wear protective goggles.

Setting brick edging:  you can set the bricks one of two ways – upright or at an angle with a “pointed” end facing up.  When using bricks, you’ll need to place them in 2 inches of sand.  Then surround them with gravel and soil to lock the bricks in place.  

Stone path installation:

Stone:  For a stone path, the most common types are limestone, granite, sandstone, and slate.  The stone should be at least 1-inch thick to avoid cracking.  There are three categories of stone to choose from: steppers, flagstones, and cut stone.  Steppers are approximately 15 inches across, very light and easy to work with.  Flagstones are about 24 inches across, very versatile, and are more stable than steppers.  Cut stone is the most expensive but easiest to make a tight fit.  

Stone path installation: 

Installing a stone path is similar to putting together a large, heavy jigsaw puzzle.  As you would with a gravel path, clear the area with a spade.  Next, load in 2 inches of sand as a setting bed.  Now, spread out the stones and create an eye-catching pattern.  Again, no special sloping is required.  Just follow the lay of the land.  Once the stones have been set in place, you can finish your path by placing sand, soil, or mulch in the joints.