How to Install a Decorative Rock Walkway

What You'll Need
Landscape Paint
Sod Cutter
Landscape Fabric
Crushed Limestone
Decorative Rock

Using some decorative rock in your walkway will not only provide a strong surface, but also elegant curb appeal. One of the ways to liven up your home is to move away from regular concrete walkway, and install a decorative rock walkway. A great characteristic of decorative rock is that they will hold up to a lot of different weather patterns throughout the year. Constructing a walkway out of stone is much like putting a puzzle together with the irregular shapes and sizes. Installing a decorative rock walkway is a moderate project for a DIY homeowner and does entail a lot of heavy labor.

Step 1: Mark Utility Lines

Before doing any digging in your yard you should have the underground power lines marked. Contact the local power company to mark not only the power, but gas, and water lines too.

Step 2: Locate Your Walkway

Once all of the underground obstructions are marked you can walk along the area where you want to locate your walkway and mark the outline. Use some bright landscaping paint to spray along the the sides. You can get as precise with this as you want, but the great thing of a decorative rock walkway is that you can make it unique and informal.

Step 3: Dig Away Sod

With the outline on the ground you need to prepare the ground for the stones. A sod cutter will make very short work with this step. Renting one can cost $50 to $80 a day, but is worth it in time saved. You can also use a shovel if a rental is not in your budget. Clear away the sod along the walkway and remove any rocks, roots, and other obstructions. Dig to a depth of 2 to 4 inches. Rake the ground smooth.

Step 4: Lay Down Landscape Fabric

To keep any type of weeds from growing in between your decorative rocks, lay down some landscape fabric along the bare walkway. Cut it to fit and nail to the ground with some landscape spikes.

Step 5: Pour Limestone

You can choose to have a few loads of crushed limestone delivered to your home or buy it in bags. If you have a long walkway, you are better off having it delivered and dumped onto a large tarp. From this pile you can then wheelbarrow it to your walkway. Pour it out along the entire length of the walkway and keep it to a depth of 2 inches.

Step 6: Compact Limestone

Using a power compactor (again, can be rented for about $60 to $90 a day) pack in the limestone along the entire walkway.

Step 7: Install Decorative Rock

Start at the beginning of your walkway and start to lay down the decorative rock. It is best to start in the center and then work out to the sides. Piece the different rocks together and keep about 1/8 inch space between each rock. Use a chisel to score the rock and then hit with a hammer to break pieces off if you need to cut them.

Step 8: Sweep Limestone into Cracks

Once all of the stones are lain onto the walkway, spread out more limestone and sweep it into the cracks and seams. Wash off the remaining debris and enjoy your new decorative rock walkway.