How to lay stepping stones

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How to lay stepping stones

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Project Overview

Stepping stones can make a great design statement in your garden and are a good way to minimise wear on your lawn. They’re easy to lay yourself and we’ll show you how. In just a few steps, you’ll learn how to mix the mortar and fix the stones into place. We are making a path for a formal garden, but the same techniques also apply for other garden styles.

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Dry lay stones
2 Measure the width
3 Make a string line
4 Insert a second pole
5 Roll out the line
6 Line up the stones
7 Mark the paver positions
8 Dig the holes for the stones
9 Mix the mortar
10 Fill the holes with mortar
11 Lay the pavers in the holes
12 Level the stones
13 Backfill around the stones
  • Step 1. Dry lay stones

    Dry laying is when you place the stepping stones on the ground without actually fixing them to the surface. This helps work out how far apart each stone should be. To determine the correct distance, make the stones a stride’s length apart. 

  • Step 2. Measure the width

    To get a neat, even appearance for the path, measure an equal amount of distance either side of the stones. 

  • Step 3. Make a string line

    At one end of the path, line up a post with the outside edge of the last stone. Hammer it into the ground with your mallet.

  • Step 4. Insert a second pole

    At the other end of the path, insert another pole into the ground, on the same line as the first pole.

  • Step 5. Roll out the line

    Now tie your string to one post and roll it out to the other pole. Tie your string to that pole, making sure there is some tension in the string.

  • Step 6. Line up the stones

    One by one, press all of your stones up against the string so that they’re aligned.
  • Step 7. Mark the paver positions

    Mark the positions of your stones by spray painting the ground around the corners of each stone. Make sure you don’t spray the top of the stone.
  • Step 8. Dig the holes for the stones

    Once you’ve completed marking the ground, remove all of your stones and start digging holes between those marks. The holes should be a bit deeper than the height of your stones. 
  • Step 9. Mix the mortar

    Put on your safety gear and mix up the mortar in a wheelbarrow with your spade. You should use 5-parts sand to 1-part cement. Use enough water so that the mortar sticks to the spade. 
  • Step 10. Fill the holes with mortar

    Using your spade, fill the holes with mortar. Make sure there’s enough mortar so that the stones will be level with the ground.

  • Step 11. Lay the pavers in the holes

    Now, take each stone and put them back into the holes to set in the mortar. Make sure they’re level with the surface of the ground and lined up with the string line. 
  • Step 12. Level the stones

    Use your spirit-level to check and tap the stones into place. Check levels in both directions. 
  • Step 13. Backfill around the stones

    Back fill around all of the stones. Then leave to dry for 24 hours before you walk on them.
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