A stone walkway is not only practical in terms of general foot traffic, but can also provide natural charm and personality from your yard to the front door.

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Q: Can someone with no prior landscaping experience build their own pathway?

A: Sure. The path to the front door requires many steps — and you can make them yourself. A stone walkway is not only practical in terms of general foot traffic, but can also provide natural charm and personality from your yard to the front door (or wherever you want it to lead).

Learn how to DIY your very own walkway this summer in a few easy steps.

Preplanning

Take a street-view look at your home and your yard, and look for any distinguishing features located within, around or on these two things. Your home’s architecture and landscaping should play a role in deciding what your future pathway is going to look like. What type of stone texture or color best incorporates the surrounding features?

Also, think about where your walkway will be placed and what it will be used for (man, machine or both?). Make sure you choose a material that doesn’t become slippery when wet, too hot in heat, or too flimsy and prone to wear and tear resulting from inclement weather or heavy use.

Clearing out, filling in  

When you’re ready to build, lay out a boundary using strings and stakes, then clear anything that will interfere with the eventual path, including vegetation, rocks and other such nuisances. Install your edging, in the form of black metal (for a clean look) or brick pavers (for rustic appeal). Depending on the stone and surface, you may also want to create 8–10 inches of trench space to work with, accounting for fill as well.

After clearing, lay down 2 inches of leveling sand, or gravel fill if you prefer. You can even the sand out by dragging a 2-by-4 or an upside-down rake across the entirety of the new path area.

Laying down and leveling

Set down your stones 6–8 inches apart from one another, ensuring that each is level with its neighbor. If you’re going with a more random configuration with jagged stones, fit each portion closely together like jigsaw pieces until the desired look is achieved.

A width of at least 36 inches is advised to give feet a comfy walking area, or more if you plan on wheeling bigger things down the path.

After completing the walkway and letting each stone settle in a bit, take a level and measure each stone’s surface. This may seem meticulous — and it is — but you want as close to perfection as possible when dealing with a walking surface. Walking steps located closer to your home can include a slight slope toward the home to allow excess water to slide away from it.

Securing the stones

Twist the stones securely into place and tap with a rubber mallet for good measure. You can now either fill in the area surrounding your stones with sand or rock dust or, if you have raised steps, pebbles or gravel. Just make sure the fill surface is lower than that of your steps.

HomeWork is written by Cameron Poague and contributing member professionals of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.