Stepping stones provide a way or a path to link different spaces within a garden design. These stepping stones help create a beautiful environment and provide a path to allow footfall over decorative gravel or across a lawned area. Directly laying these stepping stones on gravel might look like an easy and quick way to create a beautiful pathway. But as time passes by, stepping stones become loose and start shifting.
So, you would want to create a pathway that is firmer & durable and, at the same time, increases the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space. Don’t worry. We’ll help you create a strong and durable walkway. In this article, you’ll find the step-by-step process on how to lay stepping stones in gravel.
But before checking the complete process, consider exploring the list of all the tools and materials you’ll need while laying the stepping stones.
Tools and Materials Required
To lay stepping stones on gravel perfectly, you should use appropriate tools and materials. Here is the list of all the equipment:
- Builders sand or grit sand
- Rubber Mallet
- Strong string or builder’s line
- Rubber hammer or wood-handled hammer
- Line pins (for fastening string)
- Shovel or spade
- Measuring Tape
- Portland cement
- Stepping stones of your choice
- Spirit-level or straight-edged timber
- Cement Mixer
How to Lay Stepping Stones on Gravel?
Here is the step-by-step process of laying a stepping stone path with gravel. With this, you can quickly transform a garden on a budget.
Step 1 – Layout the Stepping Stones
The first and foremost step while laying stepping stones on gravel is to lay out the path and decide on the pattern you want to create. It’s good to dry lay the stepping stones first and see how they will look in your garden. Also, remember to have a gap of around 400-500mm between the stones. You can also incorporate different garden path ideas using different shapes and sizes of stepping stones to improve the ambience of your outdoor space.
Step 2 – Clear the Surface
Once you are done with the measurements and finalised the pattern, it’s time to clear the surface and remove gravel from the area where you want to lay your stepping stones. The area needs to be compacted since it will provide a stable base for your paving and prevent the ground from sinking. To firm it down, use a metal tamper, a piece of wood, or other tools.
Step 3 – Lay the Mortar Mix
You need to spread a shovelful of mortar mix onto the cleared area after removing the gravel and firming up the surface.
Use a wet mortar mixture of 1 part cement and 5 parts building sand. You can also use grit or sharp sand, for example. A post-mix concrete mixture could be used. Specifically, a ready-mixed bag of cement and sand. This is the best option if you’re unclear about how to combine cement and sand. Now, level out the mixture using a cement trowel. Once it’s done, place the first stone slab onto the surface and tap down the stepping stone.
Avoid tapping on the edges of the stepping stones. You can use a rubber mallet to tap down the slabs. Always tap towards the centre to level it up.
Step 4 – Point the Mortar
It’s time to build up the mortar mixture against the sides of the slabs to help lock it in place after you’ve filled in the gaps underneath the stepping stones. To form a modest buttress and prevent the slab from sliding off the mortar, add mortar no higher than three-quarters of the way up the edge of the slab. Reposition the slab’s level to ensure you don’t need to tap it a bit more after that.
Step 5 – Place the String Line Pins
After properly laying your first two slabs, you need to fix the string line between them. This will allow you to lay the rest of the slabs perfectly in a straight line. Make sure the pin is properly fixed so it won’t move while you lay the rest of the stepping stones.
Step 6 – Start Laying the Rest of the Stepping Stones
Once you make sure the string is fixed in its place, start laying the rest of the stepping stones on gravel. Follow the same laying method as mentioned above. To ensure the level of the slabs is equal, use a spirit level for measurement. However, don’t worry if the stepping stones aren’t laid completely level, as you would expect a bit of slope.
Step 7 – Finishing Touches
After you have appropriately laid all the gravel stepping stones, it’s time to remove the string lines and place the gravel around the slabs. Be careful while doing this, as stepping stones need 24 to 48 hours to dry completely. So, laying stepping stones is not as hard as laying sandstone steps and other paving stones. You just have to follow these simple steps.
In these seven easy steps, you will be able to lay stepping stones on gravel and create a beautiful pathway into your garden. Make sure to discuss with the professionals first, as they will guide you properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the frequently asked questions that will help you learn about how to lay stepping stones in gravel in a better way.
Q1. Can you lay stepping stones on gravel?
You can lay stepping stones on gravel, but make sure you don’t directly lay them. This will make the slabs lose and will start shifting from their place.
Q2. What is best to put under stepping stones?
You should lay the stepping stones on compacted soil, cushioning sand and a fine aggregate like decomposed granite.
Q3. How do you lay stepping stones on gravel with sand?
To level the stone on sharp sand, apply a 1.5 cm thick layer and pound it with a rubber mallet. This will provide the stones with a stable bed if they are placed on hard ground. The use of a cement bed is essential when working with softer soil to prevent the sinking of the stepping stones.