Stepping Stone Question

errodrMarch 24, 2009

Cross posted in "Gardening with Stone" forum.

Hello, I need some advice.

I have a path cutout about 42" x 25' in my lawn, I have cut down to a depth of 4 inches. I want to lay stepping stones in the path area, the stones will be 4-6" apart. I live in N. Alabama so freezing will not be an issue. Can I simply use 2-3" of paver base sand for my base layer? I plan to lay the stones on top of the sand then spread mulch over the sand.

The reason I am asking is because I am concerned that the sand will wash away. Is this an application better suited to crushed stone?

Does this sound like a good idea?


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Hello errodr,
I think that the stepping stones will eventually "sink".
You should consider using "Dry sand-and-cement bed" under the stepping stones and have a Weed Barrier Cloth over the sand before applying the mulch on it.
However, why not consider to not use mulch but a more Japanese solution like gravel or (small) crushed stone.
Also worth considering is the use of a band to enclose the pathway. A natural (look) material like (cut) granite would be best suited.
This would also easy the lawn maintenance.
Have a look at my front entrance path (not in a lawn though ! also )
Regards, Piet

Here is a link that might be useful: Constructing Paths and Terraces in Tsubo-en

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 6:30PM
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Errodr, Piet has good advice.
Yes, the use of sand only may result in washing out from under the stepping stones and making them unstable. The addition of cement to the sand and then sprinkling it with water serves to 'stiffen' the sand but the use of well-packed, fine gravel would be more appropriate, as would the use of that same gravel as 'mulch' between the stepping stones. I have found that placing steel landscape barrier at the grass/walk edge serves to contain the sand/gravel mix and leaves a clean line for the eye to follow. It is not traditional japanese method but it is eminently practical.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 1:14PM
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We have large round stone steps in our garden - we simply dug out the grass for each stone. They do settle into the ground a bit but look natural and are useful and beautiful.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 1:13AM
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My wife and I are doing the Asian thing completely inside and outside. We used decomposed granite as a base, then sand and then the stones. The decomposed granite will prevent wash-out.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 5:32PM
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