8 Flagstone and Slate Walkway Ideas

Stone walkway
baona / Getty Images
  • 01 of 08

    Smooth Flagstone

    Stone walkway in garden
    Mark Rosenwald / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Stone pathways are what you build when you don't want concrete. These completely flat, depression-less paths have no seams other than expansion joints, so no weeds grow through. Smooth flagstone reduces the chances of tripping and can be power-washed with ease.

    Smooth Flagstone

    This is flagstone from Iron Mountain Stone:

    • This stone lays well because it has nice, crisply-defined straight lines that match well with adjoining pieces, resulting in fewer large joints that would need to be filled with mortar.
    • The installer did a nice job of laying a smooth, slightly crowned pathway.
    • Stone is shown wet. Colors range from gray to light green to iron-oxide red.
    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Elegant Mortared Stone

    House with mortared stone pathway and steps
    Arnold Masonry / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This stonework, from Arnold Masonry and Landscape, Atlanta, GA, is about as close to the functionality of concrete as stone can get.

    Unnatural Nature

    Even though the ​natural stone is used, it is laid so that the edges are parallel and smooth; no jagged "natural" looks for this path. Since stones don't naturally develop straight sides, most of these have been fabricated along the edges to create those smooth lines.

    Mortared Joints

    The stone is heavily mortared and filled in between the stones to prevent gaps that may collect water or grow weeds. The columns and decks are not built of stone, though they appear that way. Rather, veneer stone has been applied to the facades.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Flagstone With Brick Border

    Natural flagstone path with brick border
    Field Outdoor Spaces / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    One of these easiest, cheapest ways to install a flagstone walkway is like the one pictured here:

    1. Flagstone in the Center 
      Want to have your flagstone don't want to go broke buying it? Install it sparsely, with 2" to 4" joints. We estimate that this uses 25% less stone than the close-fit method shown earlier.
    2. Brick Border 
      Want some bricks? Chances are, you'll find someone you know who also has a much-hated brick walkway or patio. You're doing them a favor by taking the brick away.
    3. Bark Fill 
      Toss bark around the flagstone and sweep off. It's about the cheapest fill you can find.
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  • 04 of 08

    Stone Pond Border

    Flagstone path near pond
    Mark Rosenwald / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    This is another view of the Iron Mountain flagstone path we saw elsewhere in this article, but here it's bordering an artificial pond. 

    Pond Banks

    This photo is a great example of how flagstone can be used to great effect alongside water feature banks because its straight edges form a nice, clean pond edge. 

    The perimeter of these Ethylene Propylene Diene Monome (EPDM) or Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) pond liners needs to be covered to prevent deterioration caused by ultraviolet light. They also need to be held down with solid, heavy materials to prevent the liner from lapping back into the water. Dirt and loose rocks won't cut it since they will end up in the pond.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Flagstone Path and Patio

    Flagstone walk and patio
    Mark Rosenwald / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    This is dry-fit masonry so nicely and closely spaced that you don't have to worry much about gravel and gunk getting strewn on the stone. While stone could have been installed 100% throughout, we suspect that this was done for artistic effect—not because they ran out of stone.

    This walk appears to have been installed by Hearth & Soul Masonry of Bainbridge Island, WA, Mark Rosenwald, principal. 

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Meandering Stone Path

    Mortared stone pathway
    Arnold Masonry & Landscape / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This stone pathway combines the natural look of stone with almost as much functionality as a concrete path.

    • Flagstones are fabricated so that the perimeter of the path is straight.
    • The path is laid perfectly level, with few surface imperfections in the stone.
    • Stones are laid down in a mortar base that maintains a level surface and prevents flexing and cracking.
    • Mortar is applied to the joints.
    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Artificial Stone

    Closeup of artificial stone pathway over water
    Blake Barrett / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    This pathway over water appears to be of artificial stone or stamped concrete. This is a beautiful arrangement, and we love the way water is allowed to seep between the stones. The joints are close and run fairly parallel all throughout.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Rough Natural Stone

    Rustic natural stone pathway
    GollyGforce / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    On the natural-fake spectrum of walkway building techniques, this is about as natural as it gets:

    • Best for gardens: Not the best option for a front path, but great for side and back yards where level-ness and absolute cleanliness don't matter.
    • Deceptively attractive: This path doesn't shout out, "Here I am!" Rather, it's content to lay back and do the job of providing a fairly mud-free path for walkers. It melts into the landscape and becomes part of it. 
    • No border, no mortar: How does it stay stuck together? Answer: weight. Being real stone, rather than a type of masonry (concrete pavers, for instance), these stones are heavy. While there is some gravel around the stone, mainly the weight of the stones settles them deeply into the soil.