Stepping stones are useful enhancements that can make nearly any landscape more enjoyable. They can be formally arranged to create orderly paths or casually placed here or there to connect one area to another.
Stepping stones are most often used in naturalistic settings and are an effective means of reducing the normal wear and tear of high-traffic areas around your yard. They can also be an excellent way to express your individual style with which to add that personal touch to gardens or walkways.
Stepping stones are quite simple to make and require little time or effort. They can usually be made relatively cheaper than buying those in preformed kits as well. The basic materials consist of water, ready-mixed concrete (Quickcrete), window screening, aluminum pans, and a wheelbarrow or bucket. You should read carefully and follow the instructions on the bag for proper mixing and consistency of the concrete.
Pour about one inch of concrete into an aluminum pan or pre-cast form made from wood or sheet metal. The size and shape of the pans you choose is entirely up to you. You could just as well pour the concrete directly into freshly dug out forms in the ground. Add some screening for reinforcement followed by about another one-half inch of concrete. If you prefer, you can also add some decorative accents such as sand, rocks, pebbles, shells, ceramic tiles, gems, etc.
In addition, you could even slip in some hand or footprints into your stepping stones. Then again, you may want simply to leave them as they are. At any rate, it is your choice as to how you want your design. Allow the stepping stones to set for at least twenty-four hours or longer for better results.
Once all of the stepping stones are finished setting, you can begin to lay them in place on compacted soil, gravel, or sand. Make sure to place each stone so that it is level with the surface of the ground and at least six inches apart. Depending on the type of landscape you have and your specific design preference, the stepping stones can be placed in a straight or curved line.
Put a group of stones down the center of a path and allow grass or creeping herbs to blend in around them. For high-traffic areas, you might wish to use larger stones or simply lay them closer together. On a sloped landscape, you can make stepping stone stairs that are at right angles to the slope rather than straight up and down.
To do this, create a level surface and place each stone slightly over the one directly below. Leave enough room, approximately ten to twelve inches, for foot placement. Your stepping stones can also be used to give prominence to your garden and other areas of the landscape.
Some people choose to give them to others as unique gifts that can be treasured and enjoyed for years to come. The creative possibilities used in designing your own stepping stones are endless. Involve the entire family and have fun.