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Begin by thoroughly planning out your path. Avoid running your walkway around large trees. Their root structures may not be conducive to hardscapes. Over time, large roots can disrupt the surface of your walkway. Damage to trees is also possible if their roots are close to the surface.
Use stakes and string to mark out a straight walkway. Do one side first, and then measure an equal distance across from each stake. For curves, lay out the route with a garden hose. Step back and look over the entire length. Make adjustments to the hose until you achieve a uniform look. When finished, use a spade to mark off the area to be excavated.
A good rule of thumb is to make the walkway wide enough so two people can walk side by side. Think about the type of walkway you want. Use standard stones for a more uniform look (Image 1), or choose ones that resemble natural stone (Image 2). These have several installation advantages. Tools like a calculator chart will help you determine how much product you'll need (Image 3).
Before laying stones, experiment with different patterns on the side. Once you've prepped the area, you're ready to install. If your stone walkway runs next to your lawn, dig deep enough so that the surface of the walkway will end up even with the grass. This will make it easier when it's time to mow.
Sweep sand between the stones. The sand underlayment acts as a cushion to ensure stability and a solid fit. Keep the surface even by removing or adding sand as needed. Add landscaping, and your stepping stone walkway is complete.