How to Update a Stone Walkway
Replacing a simple stone path with a sturdy flagstone walkway will enhance any landscape and last for years.
Determine the length and width of the stone path. Take the measurements to a stone yard and select the material for the project. This project calls for bluestone. Consider purchasing palletized stone, which is pre-sorted to include pieces of uniform size, shape and quality. Have the stone yard deliver the material to the project site.
Use a sledge hammer to break up any old stone, asphalt or concrete. Remove the debris from the project site and recycle if possible.
Find the center point of the bottom step to locate the center of the walkway. Drive a spike into the ground at this point. Tie a piece of string to the spike and pull a straight, taut line to a spike at the other end of the walkway. Use a square to make sure the line is straight. Measure out from this center line at various points to locate the edges of the path. Mark both edge lines with marker paint along the entire length of the walkway.
Excavate the area inside the edge lines to a depth of 6". Dampen the ground and compact the dirt base with a hand or power tamper. Add and tamp l" layers of gravel until there is a firm 3" thick compacted gravel base. Spread and level a 1" layer of concrete sand over the gravel base.
Before setting the bluestone, establish a guide line along one edge of the walkway. This ensures that the stone is laid in a straight line. If setting the stone in a particular pattern, have that figured out before beginning. Set stones in place starting at the base of the steps. Use a rubber mallet to tap each piece securely in the sand. Check each stone for level and maintain a consistent gap between stones for an attractive look.
Dig a 4" trench for the cobblestone border down both sides of the walkway. Prepare mortar according to manufacturer’s directions. Trowel a layer of mortar into the trench and set the cobblestones into it. Use a rubber mallet to tap them into place, keeping them right up against to the bluestone. Make sure the top of the cobblestones is flush with the bluestone.
Sweep the path clean. Dump sand onto the walkway and work it into the joints with a sweeper brush. Spray with water to settle the sand into the joints. Repeat the process until the joints are completely filled with sand.