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stone walkway

Natural stone walkways look gorgeous with an old world and organic feel. These simple instructions can help you create your own stone walkway using natural stone pavers.

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A meandering stone walkway brings to mind quaint homes in the English countryside, a classic look that often leads to well-kept cottages. Though you might not have the cottage on a green hillside, you can still have the feeling of impeccable beauty that comes from a stone walkway leading right up to your door.

If you live in an area where the conditions are all too often overcast and rainy, you just might see moss growing between natural stones without any help from you. But for most homes, it takes a little work to create this natural beauty. Here’s what you need to know to make it happen in your own backyard.

Creating the perfect walkway

The idea behind the perfect stone walkway is the ‘getting back to nature’ feel that it gives the entire landscape. Moss is neat and lovely, perfect to create a carpet of green between natural stones. Go with natural stone pavers in a variety of sizes. You want the stones to look as though they were laid casually along the walkway. If you can configure the walkway to the lay of the land, that’s even better. Keep in mind that a moss walkway needs to be in an area that gets little sunlight, so plan this for part of your property that is in almost-constant shade.

Creating the stone walkway itself is simple: Get rid of the grass and any other plant life, then dig down an inch or so into the ground, depending upon how thick your stones are. You want to lay them out in a way that makes all of them more or less even.

Cabot Travertine Pavers - Turkish Series

Cabot Travertine Pavers – Turkish Series from BuildDirect

Take your time in placing the stones, with the smaller ones taking up space between the bigger ones. No more than four inches between stones is a good rough estimate. When you have them placed, walk over them numerous times to make sure they are placed comfortably to handle a typical stride. For more detailed instructions, check out the BuildDirect Learning Center on how to install stone pavers.

Laying the moss

Now that the stones are in place, it’s time to plant the moss to get that quaint, old-world look. Remember that moss is a very finicky plant until it is firmly established, and will need a great deal of care during those first few days and weeks. Fill in the areas between the stones with a medium that moss loves, such as clay — you need a soil that isn’t very conducive to other plants. Moss tends to thrive in areas where other plants would surely die!

You can lay the moss in one of two ways. The first is with moss that was carefully grown in a nursery and is ready to be transplanted by hand. You would do this just as you might imagine: Gently push the moss roots down into the medium and water it generously as you go.

natural stone pavers and moss

An easier and perhaps cheaper method involves using your blender to make a ‘moss milkshake.’ This slurry is made of equal parts water and buttermilk (yes, buttermilk) and bits of moss that are broken up and put into the blender. The idea is to create a thin green ‘milkshake.’ You will then pour that milkshake over the areas where you want the moss to grow.

Take great care not to get the moss slurry on the stones themselves, as the moss will take hold and grow there — that’s not what you want. Pour carefully to keep the moss in between the stones, right where it should be. You might have to repeat this process several times over the next few weeks in order to get the moss growing strong and hardy.

Your low-maintenance moss and natural stone walkway

Once the moss has taken hold, keep watering it like crazy. It needs a moist environment in which to thrive. Once it is established, moss is hardy enough to last for a very long time by drawing all its water needs from the environment, but you can help it along from time to time with a good watering. If you happen to have problems with rodents digging at the new moss, temporarily cover the walkway with mesh netting designed for the purpose — you can easily find this at home improvement stores.

Once the moss is established, it will help set the stones in the walkway by growing firm and strong around them. Normal foot traffic won’t hurt it at all, but you want to avoid wearing heels or heavy work boots on the walkway if possible. The walkway should require little to no maintenance from that point on!

Your paver ideas for the coming spring season?

Moss and pavers are just one idea of a paver layout. What kinds of layouts for stone walkways have you got in mind? What kind of natural stone pavers appeal to you the most? Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.