When we moved into our house in 2010, this side of the house had a stone walkway in place but it was overrun with weeds and it just didn’t lead anywhere, really. And over the years, we had spent so much time fixing up the inside of the house, who had time to focus on the outside?? But in time, as I have tackled room makeovers, like my formal living room makeover and my basement office, I now feel like the inside of my house is comfortable enough that I can do outdoor projects that are time-consuming, like creating a stone walkway.
I’m actually going to show you two stone walkways that I have done in my backyard, leading to my patio.
BEFORE – Stone Walkway
This side of our house is usually overgrown from below and above (the neighbor’s trees are ridiculous). This is how it looked before I put in the walkway.
It opened into the backyard, but what we really needed was a stone walkway that leads to the patio. It just sort of petered out, leading nowhere.
So here’s how I updated our stone walkway, which was a lot of heavy lifting, but well worth the effort! Because it looked beautiful when I was done! With the pavers creating a walkway and smaller rocks filling in the walkway, it looks defined and beautiful. I’ll admit that over the years since creating this walkway, not only has the mulch muddied it up, but shallow weeds will always take root, so it does take some maintaining. But it was still beautiful and a big improvement for this side of the house! You can also see how much more light the area received after hiring a landscaping company to cut back the trees encroaching on our side of the fence.
AFTER – Stone Walkway!
Someone pointed out that I planted the new boxwoods too close to the house. Next time, I will move them out so they’re not so close to the foundation.
How to Build a DIY Stone Walkway
Here are the materials you’ll need to build a stone walkway.
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- 12″ x 24″ stones (you can use any shape of stone you’d like).
- Edgers (border rocks)
- Decorative rocks to fill in your DIY stone walkway
- Paver sand
- Weed block
- Tamper for packing down your paver sand.
STEP 1: Choose Matching Stones
Stone walkways can use any number of stones. When we moved in, the previous homeowners already had these rectangular ones, so it made sense that when extending my walkway, I should use the same ones. Big box stores don’t carry specialty stones like this, so I had to find a local quarry to buy them. These stones, with taxes (6% here in Maryland) came to about $18 per stone. Total cost for 12 stones: $221. If you’re trying to keep costs down, stick with the stones at your local home improvement stores.
STEP 2: Plan Your New Stone Walkway
For this section of my yard, where the existing walkway was, there were tons of weeds. I had to remove them all first. I left the original stones in place because they were pretty solid in place. To remove the grass or weeds, you can use a shovel. But I’ll admit that I simply used my pressure washer and blasted the weeds away. Not recommended, but it’s what quickly worked for me. ;).
You can also use:
- A tiller like the one I used for my blueberry garden. or
- A smaller cultivator such as the one I used when I built my DIY fire pit with a stone walkway.
- Rent a sod remover from your local home improvement store.
Both a tiller or a small cultivator will work well for the everyday homeowner. But I’ll be honest. The larger tiller works better and faster! Just make sure you’ve got a transfer shovel and a wheelbarrow for removing the loosened soil (and that you have a place to dump it!)
I worked on the stone walkway on the side of the house first, but I had to figure out how to extend the existing walkway. You don’t have to lay stones and edgers the way I did. You can easily use a garden hose to draft out the shape of your stone walkway. Since I already had the edgers nearby, I decided to use those. This was the general shape I was going for.
STEP 3: Lay the Weed Block, Then Paver Sand
You’ll notice in the picture below that I used weed block around the previous stones, but I didn’t use any under the new stones I added. The reason why is because the previous stones already had a good, solid foundation. Therefore, I just laid the weed block around them. The new DIY stone path needed to have a solid foundation, which is why I used the paver sand there. I didn’t think the weed block was necessary but don’t do like I did. Add the weed block and then the paver sand.
When placing the stones on the paver sand, you’ll want to shimmy them in against the paver sand and test each one of them to make sure they’ve got solid footing. If you notice any rocking back and forth, add more paver sand underneath and keep testing until, when you step on it, it’s completely solid and not rocking. And of course, you’ll want them to be straight and evenly spaced.
STEP 4: Cover in Decorative Rocks
Next, fill in your walkways with decorative rocks. For this stone walkway, I used white rocks, but pea gravel also works well, like how I build my DIY fire pit with a seating area.
I’ll admit that this was the hardest part because the bags were so heavy. Also, it makes sense to go to your local nursery and have decorative rocks delivered. Buying them by the bag is more expensive. If I had realized I would need 20+ bags, I would have just had a truck delivered. To have stones delivered, you’ll need a tarp, a wheelbarrow, and a place where the delivery truck can easily dump them.
STEP 6: Stone Walkway Weeds: Burn Them Away!
Don’t get it twisted–even though you’ve got weed black as a barrier to weeds, that only covers the weeds under the stones. It has nothing to do with the little floating weed seeds that end up sprouting on your DIY stone walkway! It’s a lot of work to maintain a stone walkway, but if you keep up with weekly or bi-weekly weed-killing or weed-pulling maintenance, your walkway can look nice for years to come.
Environmentally, please don’t go and buy some RoundUp. That stuff is super toxic. To handle the weeds that will come, you can:
- Pull them at the root (by hand) weekly.
- Spray them with vinegar. They’ll shrivel up and die. To apply it, use a garden sprayer.
- Burn them. My readers suggested this handheld weed torch, which saves your back!
I’ve got more plants and flowers coming, and I need to replace this side door and tidy up the painting on the porch area, but with the walkway completed, and new boxwoods, and a few seasonal flowers, it looks so pretty now! And clean!!
Now you can see how I wrapped the DIY stone walkway around to meet at the patio!
When my family and I walked out of the kitchen door, we hated stepping on the grass to get to the patio. Not that we used the patio, but if we needed to go outside for any reason, it usually was a tip-toe-across-the-pavers type of creeping along. LOL.
Now, with a new stone walkway I created leading from the kitchen door to the patio, there’s a cute little path to lead the way! These stones were already there from the previous tenants, in some other obscure part of the yard. I just borrowed these and placed them here. They fit perfectly!
Our backyard has been forever evolving since we moved in. There was a large tree that blocked much of the sunlight, so this corner of the backyard was really dark and dirty, covered in grime.
With the tree gone, it was more open, but definitely still needed “something.”
With colorful Adirondack chairs, this space was ready for family, guests, and hanging out. It was definitely a more cheerful place to hang out!
But over the years, though, I knew this yard still needed work. I also wanted to have a place to entertain when friends and family came over, so I built this DIY fire pit with a stone walkway leading from the patio to the firepit.
The DIY fire pit offers an additional place for my family to hang out!
And as I read through this blog post and see what our home looked like when we moved in, it’s so hard to believe it used to be this dark, unfriendly, and unwelcoming. Not to mention dirty. But with the stone walkways, the DIY fire pit, and the removal of the dark trees, my backyard has really transformed. I’ll admit that it’s a pain to maintain and it sometimes has me yearning for more simple condo living (like our 2-bedroom we sold before moving here). But there are those other times when I am happily pulling weeds, mulling over what we’ve been able to create.
THIS is the kind of home I have always wanted! Something that feels pretty when I walk into the space, that makes me smile, inside and out. See how I replaced, painted, and stenciled the door, too.
I can only imagine what’s going to come next in this yard. Perhaps a she-shed? 😉
But for now, I love how fresh the patio looks, and that DIY stone walkway to the left and to the right of the patio really set the stage for a great hangout spot for my family!
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