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Spring has sprung! Are you ready to tackle your yard? If you’re like most of the midwest you’re probably waiting until it’s less of a mud pit. <yuck> But it’s never too soon to start planning! I actually installed this flagstone path last year, but I am just getting around to writing a blog post about it.
I put this path in because of the mud. It runs from our walkout basement doors to the little dog run behind our shed. (We are always doing outdoor projects!) Prior to installing this flagstone path this area was 100% mud- I couldn’t even get grass to grow because of the dog traffic. It was such a mess! Every time let the dogs out they would track mud into the house. It was driving me nuts & I knew we had to do something.
DIY Flagstone Garden Path
I knew I wanted the path to cover the area my dogs used to get from the house to their little dog run because I was so over the mud. Lucky for me this area was pretty well defined by the lack of grass. If you currently have a mud pit you’re in luck your boundary has been decided for you! If you don’t have a mud pit you’ll want to mark your path area. I think using spray paint is easiest- you’ll dig up the grass with the paint on it anyway, so it’s not a mess.
Let’s talk about how to make a flagstone path. (This is also the same way to make a flagstone patio, too!) Once you’ve marked your area it’s time to remove the grass and flatten the dirt. What little grass I removed was used to cover bare spots in the lawn, and the dirt I removed to make the path surface as level as possible was used to fill in holes and low areas throughout my yard. If you don’t have a use for the grass & dirt you remove you may need to rent a yard waste dumpster. Or, you could use the dirt to build a flower/landscaping berm (below) or in a raised garden bed for flowers or veggies.
After my area was defined, I used a garden spade with a flat edge like this one for digging up any grass and for trenching the area. You can see in the bottom left corner of the photo how I went along the edge to trench out the path boundary. I told you it was a mud pit!
This rock was almost the death of me! Did I mention I did this on a weekday while my husband was out of town & none of my neighbors were around? This rock had to weigh 100 pounds.
In the end I was able to wrap rope around it & drag it out with my truck to where it sat until my husband got here to move it. <heh heh> It’s actually living in my neighbor’s yard now as part of their retention wall.
Here is the area once the dirt has been leveled.
I have no idea why my photos looks like they were taken with the very first cellphone camera ever, but it’s super annoying.
Anyway- once the area is cleared of debris, rock & grass, make sure the surface is relatively level and cover the area with 2-3″ of sand.
You’ll want the sand to be somewhat deep because your flagstone will probably be all different thicknesses. This way you can kind of snuggle it into the sand to make the top of each rock level with the next. I don’t have a photo, but as I unloaded the flagstone from my truck I separated it into categories by size. This made it a lot easier to piece the path together because I knew exactly how many huge & large sizes I had & I was able to spread them out over the entire path.
It’s really hard to tell from this photo, but the final step is to add pea gravel to the top to fill in the spaces between the flagstone. The pea gravel really makes the area look complete and it’s easy to spread using a push broom.
I will have to update this post in the summer when the grass looks good – as I write this post we’re in the middle of a blizzard, so I can’t update it just yet!
The whole process took about 8 hours- not bad at all! Aside from the enormous rock I had to dig out this was a really easy project and definitely a one-woman-job. If you’re looking for a great way to eliminate muddy areas from your yard, especially in areas with a lot of dog traffic, a DIY flagstone garden path is a simple solution to reduce mud. I love working with flagstone because each project is like a puzzle where you are trying to figure out the best way to arrange each piece so it fits nicely with the pieces around it. I was lucky to have about 20 pieces left over that I was able to use as a border around my little vegetable garden!
I am looking forward to this year’s DIY projects!
Looking for some more backyard fun? Then check out these posts!
Be sure to take a look through out Pinterest board, Outdoor Spaces, for hundreds of ideas to turn your yard into an extension of your living space!