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How to Lay a Fieldstone Walkway

stone walkway image by Alexey Chesnokov from

Using fieldstones to lay a walkway is a way to bring the natural beauty of stone onto a property, without the mess associated with working with mortar. Fieldstones placed in a bed of pea stone can provide a strong, level surface, with the gaps between stones filled with gravel in order to hold the stones firmly in place. Because there's no mortar to cure, you can lay the walkway and begin using it in the same day.

Lay out the location and shape of your walkway using a pair of garden hoses. Lay the hoses onto the ground approximately 3 feet apart to create a walkway suitable for a single individual.

Create the edges of the walkway by cutting a slit in the ground at approximately a 1-inch depth along the edge of the garden hose. Remove all grass cover within the cut edges, and then dig a 4-inch-deep foundation hole. Remove the garden hoses from the edge of the hole.

Line the edges of the foundation hole with steel edging pieces running the full length of the walkway. Secure the edging pieces with steel spikes driven into the ground along the side of the edging and overlapping the top in order to hold them in place. Even out the edging with the surface of the ground to serve as a guide for placing the fieldstones. Cut the edging when necessary using tin snips.

Place a layer of landscape filter fabric along the base of the hole to prevent the growth of vegetation beneath the walkway. Cut the fabric if necessary, using a utility knife.

Layer the bottom of the foundation hole with pea stone to work both as a solid support for the fieldstones and as a drainage layer for rain. Place about a 4-inch layer of pea stone on the foundation, spreading the material evenly. Compress the stone once it's in place, using a plate compactor. The compressed layer will be about a little more than 3 inches thick, leaving enough room for the fieldstone layer to rise slightly above the surface of the ground.

Place the fieldstones on the layer of pea gravel, starting at the edge of one end of the walkway and working your way down to the other end. Use the edging on the side of the walkway as a guide in placing the stones. Place the stones as close together as possible. Create a level surface by lightly tapping the stones into the gravel with a rubber-headed mallet.

Cut partial stones as needed to fit, using a chisel and hammer. Score a line across the stone with the chisel blade where you need to make the cut. Place the chisel blade along the line and strike the head of the chisel with the hammer to cut through the stone. Work your way across the scored line until you've cut cleanly through the stone before placing it.

Spread pea gravel along the tops of the fieldstones, and then sweep the gravel between the joints of the stones with a stiff-bristle broom. Remove any excess gravel to finish the walkway.

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