Each backyard has a slightly different style, and you want to make sure you have the right style and materials in mind before you get started on your garden path. While cobblestones can accent any home, especially as a path across your yard or to a gate, there are so many different designs available that picking the best fit is both crucial and half the fun. Before we teach you how to make a rustic cobblestone garden path, consider these questions:
• How cold are your winters? Some stones, like granite or bluestone, can withstand a cold winter better than material like
sandstone because it’s harder and less porous.
• Do you live in a rainy region? If your backyard sees a lot of mud, you might want to choose a tightly jointed path design
instead of having lots of space between the stones so they don’t get submerged. The same is true if your backyard has an
• Is this the path leading up to your front door? Or is it leading around to the backyard or your garden? Cobblestone
paths that face a lot of foot traffic need to be tightly pieced together with mortar and gravel holding the stones together. Not
only does this make the path more visible and neat, it’s easier to walk across when you’re in a hurry in the mornings. But
backyard strolls and secondary cobblestone paths can be more relaxed, with loosely placed stones that are bordered by
grass and moss and have a more rustic look.
How to Install Your Cobblestone Path
If this is one of your first projects with cobblestone, creating a rustic backyard path is a good place to start. It’s a little easier to complete and lets you get used to the materials and requires less detail and edging. To get started, measure out the path. You can outline the area with string to give you a visual of the completed project; with tightly pieced cobblestones, using two by fours lets you lay out the path and start to prepare the ground in one move. Once you’ve decided how long and wide the path will be, measure out the square feet you need and order your cobblestones.
The next step takes your answers to those first few questions into consideration. Loose cobblestones can be laid squarely on the ground, but creating a gravel base helps both drain the area after a rainstorm and keeps the stones firmly in place. It can also be a great material for in between cobblestones if you want a more firmly visible path, after all. Before you start setting down the gravel layer or digging into the ground, lay out your stones so you can map out the path. Every section should have a mix of large and small pieces, so a good rule of thumb is to never let two large stones be right next to each other. It’s just as important to keep the spaces between each stone less than three or four inches so everyone can walk across the path comfortably.
Once your stones are laid out and you’re sure you like the way they look, carve an outline around each stone with a garden trowel. This line will show you where to dig once you’ve removed the stones again. Carefully remove the sod surrounding your stones so you can lay it back into place when you’re done, and dig four inches deep into the outlined soil where your stones will be. Each hole needs to be deep so you can lay the base layer of gravel and place the stone level with the ground. This step is important so no one trips over the path. Measure the approximate thickness of each stone and add the difference in gravel in the holes; for example, a cobblestone that’s an inch thick would need a three-inch deep base, while a three inch thick stone needs only an inch of gravel.
The next step is adding the stone: carefully lay each stone in place instead of dragging them and then tamp them securely into place with a rubber mallet. It’s also a good idea to walk across each stone to make sure they don’t wiggle and so you can secure them if they do. Once all the stones are laid, even out the soil and add a little extra to make sure the stones don’t protrude.
At this stage, there are a lot of different features you can add: you can complete the path with a border, put gravel between the cobblestones instead of adding back the sod, or just lay the sod back in place so you can enjoy your rustic path. While the grass may take a few days to recover and grab onto the new dirt, you can use your path immediately. Go to Gavin’s Historical Bricks to get started on finding what cobblestone is best for your backyard.