Solid Footing Without Spending A Fortune -- 6 Steps To Building A Flagstone Path

If you're looking for an inexpensive and easy-to-maintain walking path for your yard, flagstones can be the perfect solution. So, how can you add your own DIY stone walkway in your own yard? Here are 6 easy steps.

Plan the Path. Using a garden hose or stakes with twine, mark the boundaries of your new path. These temporary markers are the easiest way to make sure your design works with the existing landscape and the size is right for the space and usage. A well-used path should be wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side and for all garden equipment to be moved safely.

Clear and Level. Once you have the path designed and you're sure of the layout, it's time to begin putting shovel to dirt. Clear all vegetation from the path using either a weed killer or by pulling or digging it out by hand. Remove rocks and till the dirt underneath to get it mostly clean and soft. Then, level the path using a carpenter's level or a taut line of twine wrapped around stakes. Test the path by walking on it to see if it's reasonably level.

Add Sand. Add a 2- or 3-inch layer of sand to provide a solid, level base for your stones. You can level the sand easily using a 2x4 piece of wood. If you need to add some drainage, you can leave a very slight slope toward the sides of the path to allow water to run off the hardscaping.

Lay Out the Stones. It's time to begin adding your pre-purchased stones. Flagstones are generally placed in a seemingly random design, so you can lay the stones out in whatever design appeals to you. Lay the flagstones well above the surface of the sand and make sure they are level with one another (using the carpenter's level or the 2x4).

Place a Weed Barrier. Once the stones are in the design you want, lay down a layer of landscape cloth or other solid weed barrier. Cut holes for the stone, leaving the cloth as close to the stones' edges as possible.

Fill the Void. You can now finish off your path by filling in the spaces between the flagstones. If you want a hardscape base, pea gravel or complementary colored pebbles are a good choice. If you want to add some ground cover between the stones, place a small layer of quality soil over the cloth. You can add a small, colorful ground cover such as Creeping Thyme, Golden Marjoram or Green Carpet Herniaria.

Clearing, leveling and filling your flagstone walkway may call for as little as a weekend's worth of work. If you have a large area you want to fill with flagstones or your path is more uneven than normal, it may be wise to work with a qualified landscaping service. Either way, the end result will be a beautiful and functional addition to any yard.

If you don't feel you can do this yourself, talk with local landscaping companies and designers.