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How to Make Garden Stepping Stones

And How to Use Them in the Yard

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Picture of thyme planted between garden stepping stones.

Picture of thyme planted between garden stepping stones.

David Beaulieu

By learning how to make garden stepping stones, you can build a path that's attractive and inexpensive. It's easy, to boot. But first, let me point out that we're not talking about slabs of natural rock in this project (although it's a great material for informal walkways in its own right).

Concrete is sometimes poured into a mold to make garden stepping stones, as I discuss on Page 2. Others, more interested in saving time and energy than money, buy pavers suitable for use as garden stepping stones. I've even seen logs cut up into medallions to make garden stepping stones, although wood certainly wouldn't be my choice for a material in damp climates.

Why Use Stepping Stones to Build a Path?

Why are garden stepping stones such a popular material for building paths? To answer this question, let's first look at some of their characteristics:

  • Garden stepping stones are easy to make (discussed on Page 2). If you can mix concrete, then you can make garden stepping stones.
  • When you make garden stepping stones, you (and the kids) can exercise creativity, ranging from the use of stains to the assembling of mosaics....
  • You can thus add a decorative element to your yard by using homemade garden stepping stones. Natural rock affords less opportunity for creativity but can be just as aesthetically pleasing.
  • Whether laying natural rock or homemade garden stepping stones, the process of building the path is easy (discussed on Page 3), as is maintaining it.

Uses for Garden Stepping Stones

But in addition to their aesthetic potential, garden stepping stones also have practical uses throughout the yard:

  1. In unmulched planting beds: garden stepping stones will reduce the amount of dirt tracked into the house.
  2. In mulched planting beds: mulch particles can also be tracked into the house in wet weather; use garden stepping stones to address this problem.
  3. In the lawn: garden stepping stones will absorb the pounding of foot traffic, saving your grass from compaction problems.

The picture (above right) demonstrates the use of garden stepping stones in a planting bed with no mulch. The plants growing in between in the picture are varieties of creeping thyme, which I planted after laying the garden stepping stones. I selected them not only for their height, but for their fragrance: when your feet make contact with the thyme, the pleasing aroma will be released. Eventually, the thyme will spread and fill in the area, essentially functioning as a living mulch

On Page 2 we'll look at how to make garden stepping stones....

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