image by murrayneill
What makes a stepping stone path in your garden successful?
We have all experienced ones that are less than great – but perhaps never thought about why.
Stepping stone paths in gardens can be tricky and here is what I think makes them work.
1) The stepping-stones should be dramatically different from the surrounding materials.
Think stone and water, or stone and moss, or big stones and little stones. It also would work just as well if you had, say, purple stones and white stones or some other interesting contrast, but contrast is key.
2) Make sure the stones are comfortably walkable. Easy distances take away the anxiety about falling off.
Of course the anxiety is less if there is no water, but when faced with a stepping stone path, no matter how un-dangerous it is to step off (imagine surrounded by grass) – no one wants to miss a step or fall off the path.
So if you are designing a stepping stone path, make sure you consider the distance between the stones and aim to keep the excitement high but the fear low.
3) Make sure your stepping-stones are big enough.
Do you want room for one person or more? Make sure they are flat, step-able and big enough to stand on comfortably.
4) Consider mixing stepping stone material.
An example – A path that goes from stone to wooden mat and back to stone again adds interest. It provides a breather. Consider a variety of materials.
5) If your stepping stone path is long, create a spot to take a break.
You and your garden guests will appreciate the opportunity to pass others who are along the path, or to be able stop. A bigger stone, or a spot to step away can create a good break.
I love the stepping stone path, and when done well, it is so completely inspiring and inviting. Have you built one? Share the pictures if you have, and let us know the lessons you learned.
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