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How to Create an Inexpensive Stone & Mulch WalkwayHow to Create an Inexpensive Mulch and Stone Walkway

Spring is on its way and that means more rain. It’s also the time of year when the grass has been dormant and there is more exposed dirt and mud in your yard. Let’s be honest, everyone tends to have problem spots in their landscaping that end up looking like a mud pit. And if you have kids or pets running around, it won’t be long before that mud comes walking into your home.

mud

For those of us that live in the south, mud is not just wet dirt. It’s usually red clay! And unfortunately, it will stain everything you own and make housekeeping a nightmare. Time to come up with a fast and inexpensive solution to the mud problem.

landscaped backyard with mulch pathway

While searching Lowe’s for some ideas, I stumbled across this no-dig landscape edging. I was very excited to see that I wouldn’t have to dig a trench to bury half of it! Instead, it comes with pegs to nail into the ground. Suh-weet!

flexible edging material

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Gather all your materials near the path site. Layout your stones and walk on them to make sure they are spaced for a comfortable gait. (Do you see that stick in the above picture? That is my path width guide.)

stepping stone spacing

Use your path width template (aka stick) to keep your edging equal distance apart the entire length of your path. (You may need to put a weight on your edging or set a peg in halfway to hold the edging in place.)

set standard width

After the path and edging are laid out, step back and take a look. Make any tweaks to your pathway now.

set stones inside edging

To set the path, start from one end and insert a peg into one end of the edging.

Hold peg

Then hammer the peg into the ground…

hammer stakes into edging

…until it is flush with the earth.

peg set in edging

Continue setting a peg every 4-6 feet (and especially at the peak of any curves.)

one side path set

Repeat for the other side of your path.

layout stones inside edging

Open a bag of mulch and spread to the top of your stones and the edging. Use the back side of your garden rake to smooth the mulch and eliminate any high or low spots.

stones sitting in mulch

Repeat until you have filled your entire path. Then spread the second color mulch on the outside of your path.

beautiful two color mulch pathway

Don’t you just love the contrast between these two? The lighter colored mulch is cypress and the darker is hardwood mulch. Walk on your stones and put some dirt or sand underneath any that wobble. Now stand back and admire your finished path! I think my favorite stepping stone is the broken heart stone I made with two rocks.

Stone and mulch pathway

The entire path took me just over two hours. Not bad, and the bonus is that I didn’t need to go to the gym to workout that day!

Want to improve your curb appeal? Here are some tips and tricks to improve your landscaping in no time!

Landscaping 101: Tools, Planting, and Adding Color to your Landscaping | Pretty Handy Girl

53 replies
  1. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I am with Becky, So Cal gal too. But what a great solution you did. It looks great, and I can't believe you did it in two hours!

    Reply
  2. Baye
    Baye says:

    I've done the edging that needs digging in. What a pain! On top of the digging needed,it tends to sink down pretty quickly. with the flat section, this looks as though it would eliminate that second problem as well. The two colors of mulch really make this stand out!

    I'm going to have to steal this idea for an area we walk on too much to get grass growing.

    Thanks for another great idea.

    Reply
    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      Weeds will grow through the mulch to a point. Especially dandelions and Thistles. When I did this even in my raised flower and shrub beds I put down a weed barrier cloth and cut out where the plants were. This has eliminated most of the weeds. However, I still get the odd one coming up around the plants or at the edge of the raised brick work.

      Reply
  3. Kim @ Savvy Southern Style
    Kim @ Savvy Southern Style says:

    That path is great. Lots of hard work went into that. I know because I do most of our yard work. Thanks so much for joining the party. I ask that you add my link in your blog. People do not know to go to the side and click on the linky parties nor do they know what party you are linked to without posting it. It just helps others to find the party. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  4. Meg
    Meg says:

    Wow, what a great solution! I love it. It looks nice and neat as well. I'm all about the thrifty, low-time answers. Thanks for linking up!

    Reply
  5. Pam @ diy Design Fanatic
    Pam @ diy Design Fanatic says:

    Your yard looks great! I love the flagstone. We really need a path that goes around the house up to the driveway. I like the edging you used. I am constantly raking the edge of our cypress chip path!

    Reply
  6. Breea
    Breea says:

    So glad I stumbled onto your side when I googled the Garden Plus no dig edging. I just purchased some and was considering taking it back because I’m just not sure, but now I’m going to try it. I need to go back and get some extra stakes. How difficult was it to uncoil it when you took it out of the box? Did you have to cut any? I am going to have to cut it, but it says a hack saw will work?

    Reply
    • Nell
      Nell says:

      With plastic edging I open the package and lay it out in the sun for a while. It softens and is much easier to bend this way. A hack saw will cut it easily.

      Reply
  7. David Getsy
    David Getsy says:

    Bought 6 boxes of this edging the 20 foot with stakes.Found out on the outside of the box it states to have (1) 8 inch connector to join them together. Well they are not supplied why state this if not true.

    Reply
  8. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Great solution. I’m curious though – Do you find that the mulch drifts out of the edging when it rains? I’m just wondering if it is tall enough to keep the good stuff in…

    Reply
    • Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl)
      Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl) says:

      The section that is flat doesn’t wash out too much, however there is a drain pipe that empties into the path which does carry some mulch away when it rains. If your pathway is on a slope, be prepared to refill the mulch yearly. I hope that helps ;-).

      Reply
  9. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Bookmarking this project – thanks for the inspiration! I have to remove grass, but I want to make a little path from front door to the back gate (a short distace) but instead of mulch around the stepping stones I wan to use that terra cotta colored rock fill that you see on park paths (not sure what it’s called – not pea gravel). so excited I won’t have to dig trenches!!

    Reply
    • Pennie
      Pennie says:

      I think you are probably referring to crushed granite. I am also curious how fast the weeds start growing. I would have thought you would need to put a weed barrier down with a couple of inches of sand before laying the stones and the mulch. Anybody know for sure? I’d hate to do this project and then have the weds start growing through.

      Reply
  10. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Gorgeous! I have been really thinking about doing this in my yard, and now I am convinced!! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  11. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Try Sheet Mulching 3 months before to kill of weeds! Lay on wet soil layers of cardboard or newspaper (8 sheets of newspaper) layered with compost, straw, mulched leaves or mulch and let mother nature kill grass/weeds…then before laying stones (instead of weed barrier) add a few more layers of newspaper, then mulch or use pebble stones (that don’t need to be replenished)…not only will you enrich the soil, you will have a cheap weed barrier that will low maintenance!!

    Reply
  12. J
    J says:

    Looks fantastic! My husband and I are about to start this project, ourselves. Did you need to dig a hole for the stones so they are secure in the ground?

    Reply
  13. Ivory
    Ivory says:

    Toward tge end of last summer, I did a pathway using pea gravel, this was the north side of our shady area, and I love it. On the south side of the house, we laid flagstones, love it to. Your pathway is fabulous, as always. Thanks for saring.

    Reply
  14. Steve Huzar
    Steve Huzar says:

    Can you drive a handicapped scooter over the mulch pathway without sinking in or ruining the mulch ?

    Reply
  15. Ellen Liang
    Ellen Liang says:

    I’d like to try that, but what about weeds and grass? Should I lay down cardboard or weed blocker? Also, I made a stone pathway with pea gravel last year but the gravel gets scattered over the stones and to the side (even with edging). Is there any way to prevent that, i.e. set the gravel? Thanks!

    Ellen

    Reply
  16. Joe MacKrell
    Joe MacKrell says:

    Hi- Where did you get your edging? It looks a bit heavier-duty than the stuff I see on Amazon and Lowes, I especially like the cross-shaped spikes.

    Reply
  17. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    Love your path! My husband and I are going to tackle a path this coming weekend. Do you not need a gravel or sand base? Most tutorials include those but I would love to skip that step if possible. lol
    How has this path held up?

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Gravel will help water drain away easier and a base will help level the stones easier. Although helpful, it’s not 100% necessary. Our path held up for years, we wold have to replace the layer of mulch every year as it broke down. But, we eventually replaced the path with pavers from a leftover project.

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] not to dig a trench?  An alternative landscape edging would be this nail in version Brittany installed.  Follow her step by step instructions to create a beautiful divided border between lawn and […]

  2. […] 8. Making a garden path is a great way to use a bun of leftover mulch. […]

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