If you take frequent walks in your garden I’m sure you know the struggle of getting sucked into the mud, getting your boots all dirty, and even spreading traces of mud all over the place. If you set up a path walk even with not full paving slabs but with just a fair number of stepping stones, you can enjoy your tread in the garden without having the need to deal with the dirt.
Before purchasing pre-fabricated stones to pave a path walk just to get it over and done with, you might want to consider the cost of stones. So building your own stepping stone is not really a bad idea for a lot of reasons.
Advantages of D.I.Y. stepping stones
You can actually make your own, customised garden stepping stone to match your garden’s theme and ambiance. You will get a product design as you prefer it – given you have become good in this project. D.I.Y. also gives you a lot of raw material options for personalised touch.
Boosts your Creativity
As you start this project, you will be itching your brain for a garden concept including your stepping stones. You can mix and match the raw materials to embellish the stone you will be building. Natural rocks and manufactured stones limit artistic touches to your stepping stones.
Easy to do
If you have a knack for mixing concrete and following instructions, then making your own garden stepping stones is no sweat. Even your kids can join you in this D.I.Y. project as a fun bonding home activity. There are also available kits to make it easier to make patterns.
You may also add: 11 Best Artificial Grass – 2021 Guide
The Materials for your D.I.Y. Garden Stepping Stones
The materials, especially the embellishments would really vary on your preferred design. But the following are the basic materials that you need to make your own:
There are available pre-mixed concrete in the market and concrete specifically for stepping stones. Remember, it is important to have strong stepping stones to carry the weight when you step into it. Make sure you get enough amount of concrete to create enough stepping stones. Consider the size of each stone so you can calculate how much you would need for each. For big stones, it is recommended to get quick-setting concrete but for smaller ones, you can stick with the “stepping stone concrete”.
You can find plastic molds in arts and crafts stores but of course, you can always make your own to your desired shape and size. To help you with the molding process, chicken wire fencing, vaseline, and cooking oil can be used.
Concrete Mixing Tools
You can use a wheelbarrow or a tub where you can mix your concrete with water. Use a small shovel to mix and transfer the concrete to the mold.
To make sure you achieve the garden stepping stone design you are aiming for, pick the elements of choice to decorate your stones. Aside from molding patterns, you can use paint for colour, little stones, old tiny toys, bottle caps, letter tiles and etc.
How to Make Your Own Garden Stepping Stones
You can always have it your way on how you will design and build your stepping stones but here are some pointers if you’re new at this or if you wish to simplify the way to do it. There are different stepping stone categories with a range of sizes to choose from. So, before you begin, careful planning must be done to prevent wasting good materials or getting disappointed with the outcome.
- Decide on a mold you will use. There are commercial kinds that are available but you can use improvised ones.
- Grease the inner part of the mold using cooking spray or petroleum jelly which allows effortless removal of the concrete when it dries.
- Prepare the tub or wheelbarrow and pour the concrete mixture. Add water gradually while you distribute the liquid by thrusting the shovel underneath the concrete then fold it over until the consistency is even. Make sure that the mixture is not too dry or too wet. The consequence for poor consistency is a defective stepping tone because the concrete did not set correctly.
- Once the consistency has been established, pour the concrete mixture into your chosen mold or molds. Patter the concrete down to remove air bubbles to build solid garden stepping stones.
- With the chicken wire fencing, screen the excess concrete on top to even out the surface.
- In 45 minutes, you can add the embellishments of your choice. It can be stones, marbles, or other small objects. You can also add handprints or any patterns you wish to make and let it set.
It will take at least 3 days before you can remove your stepping stone from the mold. To do this, you just simply have to turn it upside down, tap lightly on the sides and let the garden stone slide down or lift the mold to separate it from the stone. Let the concrete “cure” for the next few weeks by watering and stepping on the stones.
You can lay the stepping stones to build a path in your garden. You can directly lay it on soil but over time you must know that it may sink little by little into the ground. In laying your garden stepping stones you can make a patterned design, but to maximize the path its function, strategically place each stone to the ground with ample gaps from each other.
Tips and Tricks
Expect it to get dusty when you’re working with concrete mix. Therefore, it is recommended to use goggles, face masks, and gloves when making stepping stones. It can also irritate your skin so wash up after work.
Keep your posture in check when lifting the bag of concrete and laying down the stones. As you remove the stepping stones from the mold, keep your fingers out of the way to prevent hurting yourself should there be an accidental drop.
If you are planning to make lots of stepping stones, get enough molds to save time. Since it will take few days to set the concrete on molds, the production of the stones for your garden will take time to finish.