gardening Landscaping

Lay a Stone Path in Your Garden

If you need a walkway through your garden or yard, a stepping stone path can be a practical solution as well as a compliment to the landscape. You can lay it out as a straight walkway or as a winding path that meanders around trees and flowerbeds. Use a base material like gravel or sand to secure the stones and help drain rainwater. For ideas and inspiration, pick up a copy of “Patio and Stone, a Sunset Design Guide.” It’s a new book about creating outdoor living spaces and it includes landscape design software.

Home and lawn centers sell a variety of stone, and they usually will deliver the material as well. This is money well spent unless you have a heavy vehicle and the strength and stamina to move the stone yourself. If you pay for delivery, have the stone stacked near the path so you don’t have to move it.

A landscape contractor will charge $1,437 to lay a 3-foot wide, 40-foot long stone path. This includes labor and material. You can buy the material, including stone, sand and landscape cloth, for $635 and do it yourself, saving 55 percent.

You will need a wheelbarrow, shovel, rake, carpenter’s level, push broom and some string and sticks to lay out the path. Dig out the sod or soil so it’s about 4-inches deep and level. Then lay landscape fabric and sand to provide a weed-free base for the stones. As you lay them, position the stones so they fit together nicely and spread sand between them.

When you’re planning a stone path, don’t think you have to limit the design to one kind of stone. Add some interest by designing a path with large stones in the center that’s edged on both sides with smaller stones of a different shade and shape.

FInd more home and garden job costs at


Gene and Katie Hamilton are authors of 20 home improvement books and creators of, a website that compares the DIY and contractor costs of hundreds of repair, decorating and remodeling projects. Their weekly column Do It Yourself or Not is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.

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