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How to lay stepping stones? Answered


There's a "right way" and an easy way.

The "right way" is to dig a 10" channel, fill it with 8" of compacted mixed-gravel, build your borders (wooden or concrete curbs), add an inch of compacted sand, and lay your slabs on top of that. Doing this will give them the best durability. It was hard for me to find a guide online, but this FAQ will hopefully give you a few answers: http://www.bolduc.ca/frequently-asked-questions.aspx#FaqQuestion16

The easy way is to simply set them on top of your grass. It won't be as durable, it won't look as tidy, and a few may rock... but it should last a season or two. This is perfect if you're renting as the only damage is some dead grass.

Sorry, I lost my password and was inactive on this site for a few months. Thanks for both of your input. This helps, see the problem is that the soil where I live is clay, so stepping stones will eventually sink deeper and deeper. Also, they are often wobbly, and after it rains stepping on them can shoot muddy water out from under. I will probably end up putting paver sand over the clay and then put the stones on top of that. Thanks again.

"stepping stones" means "over water" to me, is this what you want to do, or are you making a path? L

In North America it's not as clear a definition... It varies from place to place and not often means "over water." In my area, it means a loose path of stones that are spaced just close enough to step from one to the next.

Yes, 'over' grass, I've seen that too. I was kind of hoping for a water crossing, but it probably is just a path... Thanks L

Well, personally I think a water-crossing step-stone path is easier to make. Much harder to make safe, but easier to make. We measure the depth of the water by standing in it, then mark where the water reaches on your leg with a rubber band. Then we go find a stone that reaches it, plus a few inches. We also gather up a pile of gravel and several half-size-but-heavy stones. We lay a pile of gravel on the stream-bed. We lay the large stone on top of that, flatest-side down. We then put the heavy, but smaller stones around it for support and pile more gravel and wet sand around it. Eventually, you get a stone that won't move and you start all over with the next one. Alternatively, those of us with ATVs or heavy machinery just find big boulders and drop them in.

Interesting, I wouldn't have thought of it so methodically (trial & error sort of person for that sort of thing) - good instructions. L