Stepping stones are a great addition to many landscapes, providing both functional and aesthetic improvements. We often utilize different natural stone materials that allow for pathways to be created in a landscape design. There are instances where you just don’t want to add a formal walkway. Stepping stones are a great solution for handling foot traffic through landscape or lawn areas. If there are areas you seem to find yourself trudging too on a regular basis trying to access items like, storage, garden sheds, hoses, sitting areas, bird feeder areas, basement doors, etc. consider incorporating stepping stones in these areas. This will help to reduce damage to turf or mulch in these areas.
Natural stone materials are preferred by most landscape designers for a number of reasons. They will appear to fit more naturally and also provide a touch of class over manufactured concrete stepping stones. Manufactured stones will often not vary too much in shape and textures and also can often not be as durable as their natural counterparts. Whether you choose to add irregularly shaped stones or go for a more formal look of squares or rectangles, using flagstone or field stone will get you where you’re wanting to go in style.
When planning your paths in your landscaping, be sure to try to keep turns as soft as you can. This will not only be able to navigate better when walking, but it will also soften the hard angles of the structures nearby, helping it to fit into the natural setting. It’s also very difficult to get paths perfectly straight and keep them that way, so using soft turns can also help in that manner. Consider also the size of stepping stones that you want you use. Smaller stones will often move when you step on them. Using larger stones will provide a more secure footing and also may be more forgiving if spacing isn’t ideal. Try to make your walk wider than you would first think. If you have two people traveling opposing directions, one will have to step off of the pathway to make room for the other. Keeping your path around 30″-36″ wide will provide more clearance.
If you are considering large areas of stepping stones, particularly when leaving very small gaps in between stones, it is advisable to excavate the existing soil and then install the proper base below your walkway. Adding 2A crushed, modified stone and then a course of sand will help these areas to not fluctuate from frost heaving. Last thing you want is a tripping hazard, so providing a proper base will drastically reduce the amount that soil would normally move.
Whatever materials you end up selecting, be sure to research how hot they will get in the sun, and how slippery they could get when wet. This is easy to test out by leaving a tread out in the sun for a few hours on a hot day and then testing with some bare feet. Likewise, wetting down a few stones can give you some expectations about how slippery some stones can get. Be sure to keep algae and moss from growing on these stones, as that can also become more slippery in wet conditions.
If you’d like to learn more about how our professional landscape design and installation services could help you with any size landscape project, we’d be happy to talk further about your stepping stone or various other landscaping needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.