How to Create a Curved Stepping Stone Path

This week I finished installing a stepping stone path.

This stepping stone path is unique for a couple of reasons.

First, it provides a much-needed way to move through the garden.  There’s no way to cross the garden without it.

Second, the stepping stone path gently curves to add interest.  The path curves left to make room for a future PG Hydrangea on the right.

I’m looking forward to filming the garden when completed.

How to create a Curved Stepping Stone Path

Landscape Before work Begins
When I started there was no way to get through the bed.  The plants were randomly planted with no sense of purpose.
Laying out the Stepping Stone Path
The white line is where the stepping stone path will be.
Stepping Stone Path Completed
It took me a day to select, deliver and roughly place the stepping stones.  It took a day and a half to install them. The work usually goes faster.  I chose some odd-shaped and large stones. I’m very pleased with the results.
Laying out Stepping Stone Path
Placing the stones is a two-step process.  First I roughly place the stones.  Next I put an X in the middle with a grease crayon and space them 26.5″ on center. The first and last stone go 13.25″ from the edge of the bed. The beginning and end never work out perfectly. I spread the difference between the last few.
Completed Stepping Stone Path
Set stepping stones 2-3″ high so they aren’t covered by mulch.  Nothing is more annoying than covering your freshly placed stepping stones.
View of the Lake and Stepping Stone Path
I’ve been working on a lake the last couple weeks and enjoying some incredible views.  The mulch in this bed is pure Hemlock Bark.  My favorite.

A while back I filmed how I install stepping stones.  While I’ve gotten better at producing videos the way I lay stepping stones hasn’t changed a bit.

Tips for Getting Work Done

After three days of hard work I’m almost finished preparing a garden bed.  It was a hard-fought victory that taught me tips for getting work done.

We’ve had a mild winter and I looked forward to working with the temperature in the 50’s and 60’s.  Last week the weather changed.  It’s been in the low 40’s with overcast skies and showers.

Landscape Before work Begins - Tips for Getting Work Done
The first thing I do when I arrive at a job is formulate a plan to get the work done.

First, I removed six yards of mulch from around a Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum sp.) and the landscape fabric underneath.  There was too much mulch around the tree.

Mulch over six inches deep - Tips for Getting Work Done
There was over six inches of mulch under the Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum sp.) along with landscape fabric. The mulch and the landscape fabric had to go for the health of the tree.
Removing Mulch Under the Red Maple - Tips for Getting Work Done
Removing excess mulch around the Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum sp.).

The only place to get rid of the mulch was off the property.  That meant loading a wheelbarrow and pushing it up a 15 foot slope to my truck about 40 yards away.

Did I mention this was my first job of the season?  My body is nowhere near conditioned yet.

This afternoon as I finished for the day the sun broke through the clouds.  It was like the heavens opened up and said, “Attaboy John!”

Sun Shines on the Future Garden - Tips for Getting Work Done
In a weird twist of fate the sun broke through the clouds as I was finishing for the day. The line through the bed is a future stepping stone path.

Tips for getting work done

      1. Get started.  Even if you don’t have a plan for how to do the work.  When you start a plan will form in your mind.  I’m talking about a plan to complete the work, not a landscape design.
      2. Congratulate yourself for getting started.  If you the type of person, like me, who occasionally over thinks things don’t beat yourself up for lost time.
      3. Enjoy the work.  I enjoy good “clean” hard work.  Digging, mulching, splitting wood, etc.  I feel energized, albeit exhausted, after a days work.
      4. Break the job into manageable pieces.  I set a goal for each day.  My first day on most jobs the goal is to get to the job and get started.  Once I’m working a plan will form (See step 1).  The second day my goal was to clean up the mulch under the Japanese Maple.  The third day my goal was to finish preparing the bed.  By the third day I gained momentum and prepared another bed.
      5. Take a break if you need one.  Nothing saps productivity like rushing through a job or stressing about a deadline.  It may seem counter productive but you’ll notice big dividends from a break.
      6. Wear comfortable shoes.  A landscaper is only as good as his or her footwear.  If your shoes are heavy you’ll move slowly.  If your feet are wet your day will be miserable.  Some days I bring a couple pair of shoes and a heavy and light weight sweatshirt.  The first two days I wore heavy insulated steel toe boots.  When the sun broke I put my lightweight Muck Boots on and felt like I could fly.  I wear the lightest shoes I can.  The exception is when I need steel toes for safety.
Muck Boots vs Winter Boots - Tips for Getting Work Done
Given the choice I prefer my lighter and more comfortable muck boots.

You started the job.  You’re going to finish it.  That’s all that matters.

I hope these tips for getting work done will help you get through your next job.  Get out there and have fun!