Creating a walkway or path out of natural stone or flagstone is a popular choice for many homeowners. With the unique natural material and the limitless design options, no two features ever look the exact same.
Here are some things to think through as you consider different natural stone walkway ideas.
The first question is: what kind of walkway will this be? Is it a casual garden path, a wide, formal entrance or something in between? This will help you decide the size and shape of stone and how it is installed.
A formal walkway tend to work better within a modern/contemporary landscape design, while an informal or organic style is more suited to a French or cottage style space.
For a formal walkway, you may want to consider flagstone with sawn edges. Rectangular stones will fit together nicely and can be set in a variety of regular or random patterns. The space between individual stones can be minimized when they all have straight edges.
Stones that are 1.5 – 2 inches thick can be dry laid.
Dry laid square cut options can have a simple but elegant appearance when stones are butted up against each other with no gap between. When they are laid with spaces between, the gaps are filled by sweeping in masonry sand or polymer sand.
Pieces that are less than an inch in thickness are better laid in mortar on a concrete base. Though this adds expense to the project, long term maintenance will be less.
Rectangular or irregular flagstone can also be used for an informal path or walk. Sometimes these are installed in a “stepping-stone” style, giving a very organic look with grass or moss growing in between the surfaces.
For outdoor use, it is best to use flagstone with a somewhat textured finish. There are a variety of options depending on the type of stone and the supplier. Remember that a completely smooth surface may be slippery after rain.
Generally speaking, the more your path will be used, the closer together the stones should be. Anywhere from one to three inches is a reasonable distance, though a meandering stepping stone path could have flagstone pieces six or more inches apart.
You will need a minimum of 3-4 inches between stones to successfully establish grass or moss in between. If you already have an established lawn, it may be best to cut out the sod for each stone, leaving the existing grass in place between pavers.
Though it can be hard to establish new plants in narrow spaces between stones, there are some species, such as creeping thyme and scotch moss that work reasonably well. The moss will need frequent watering and extra attention to get established in the shade. The Thyme requires less attention, as it does well in a dry, hot and sandy location.
Small gravel or decorative rock can also be used between pavers. Gravel with an angular shape will compact more easily than round stones and is more likely to stay in place. An aggregate called high performance bedding, or HPB, is an excellent choice.
Evaluating different walkway ideas can be a lot of fun as you begin the design process. Whatever your final decisions, you will find that a natural walkway is a functional &attractive addition to your home landscape.
Grand River Natural Stone has many varieties to offer, from exotic to neutral and everything in-between. We have local limestone and Muskoka granite, slate from Pennsylvania and many colours of sandstone from India. We are sure to have something to compliment your architecture & landscape design.
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