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How to Build a Garden Path

If you want to add a new feature to your outdoor space while also saving your lawn, then a garden path is the perfect solution. Here’s how to build a garden path by yourself.

Choose your stone

Before you start any physical work, the first step in creating your garden path is to choose what it is going to look like. You likely already have a location in mind for the path, but do you know what material you are going to use?

Natural stone is perfect for garden paths because it is weather-resistant, durable, and very aesthetically pleasing. Granite, slate, and sandstone are all great options.

Mark out the path area

Once you have your chosen stone (or bricks) then you need to mark out where the path will be installed. You can use wooden stakes and strings to lay the walkway for a straight path, or you can use something like garden hoses to lay the perimeter for a curved path. Remember to measure your stones so you know the width that your path has to be.

Excavate the path area

Once you have your path area laid out, it’s time to start digging. Start by carefully cutting along the edges of your markers with a flat spade to a depth of your chosen stone plus 150mm (for example, dig to 225mm for a 75mm-thick stone). Then, begin to dig out the rest of the grass and soil within the path area to the same depth. Once the path is excavated, tamp down the remaining soil firmly.

Lay landscape fabric

Landscaping fabric helps to curb the growth of weeds and also allows water and moisture to reach the soil below. This needs to be laid over the soil of the entire excavated area, preferably using a continuous piece of fabric or at least as few pieces as possible to cover the whole area, overlapping the material by at least 150mm if separate pieces are used.

Lay subbase or hardcore

The next step in building your garden path is to lay down subbase or hardcore. Start by laying 50mm of subbase or hardcore, then tamp until level using a tamper or whacker plate. Repeat the process with another 50mm of subbase and tamp again.

Add a layer of sand or a slab layer

Before you can lay down your paving stones, you need to add a layer of sand or a slab layer, to a depth of 25mm, which you can then spread and level out using a rake. You should then water the area with a watering can, as per the instructions of the slab layer product.

Lay the stones

Next, dampen the underside of the paving stones and, starting at one end, lay the first slab carefully into position and use a rubber mallet to bed the stone in. Check the stone is level using a spirit level, and then repeat the process with all the other stones. You can use an offcut of wood between the slabs as you lay them to ensure you have an even gap between slabs.

Leave the slab layer to dry if required

Depending on the sand or slab layer you have used, you may need to leave the material to dry for a certain amount of time before continuing. If so, cover the path to prevent the rain from affecting it until it has dried.

Fill the gaps between the stones

Once the slab layer has dried, you can fill in the gaps between the paving stones with more slab layer or a mix of builders’ sand and cement. Using a trowel, press the material down, sweeping away any excess afterwards with a broom.

That’s how to build a garden path in a few simple steps, but if you need any further advice, or help choosing the right material for your garden path, then please get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help!


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