On the Job with Aaron: Stepping Stone Paths

My favorite paths are built of flagstone, and they’re usually built by this guy:

master of his craft.

Assisting recently, I was reminded of our son Alder’s vision therapy exercises with parquetry blocks. He flexed the muscle in his brain that stone masons like his dad use every day. Aaron can flip and rotate the random shapes of the flagstone in his imagination before ever picking them up. And that’s a good thing. They’re heavy!

If you want to make a path like this, you might try using some of Aaron’s tips:

+Hand select the flagstone form your supplier. We use Lane Forest Products. It’s worth the time to sort and select before your stone is on site. Look for stones that have an even thickness, are free from cracks, and that have generous and varied shapes – avoid wedges and sharp angles.

+Lay a base of decomposed granite along the course of your path. Level and tamp it. Then lay your stones using extra d.g. as needed to level and stabilize them. Most of them will already be level if you’ve done the prep work well. So much quicker than setting each individually!

+Pay attention to the edges where each stone meets its neighbors. You want that joint parallel, level, beautiful, and without pointy bits. A saw can be used when necessary. Aaron prefers his Stihl demo saw with a 14″ diamond blade for this job.

+And always, ONLY use big flagstones (approx. 24″ tall and wide) for stepping stone paths. Small stones make unstable tripping hazards. They’re junk.

Happy garden strolling. May the pace be natural and relaxed around every bend.

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