8 Flagstone, Slate, and Other Stone Walkway Ideas

Japanese garden with stone walkways.

Victor Cardoner / Getty Images

Stone pathways are what you build as an alternative to concrete. While concrete does have its advantages—completely flat, depression-less paths with few seams other than expansion joints—it also has a sterile look that many homeowners do not like. A meandering walkway path will appear more natural than a straight path.

Here are eight types of walkways to inspire you.

  • 01 of 08

    Smooth Flagstone Walkway

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

    Smooth flagstone reduces the chances of tripping and can be power-washed with ease. 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 to allow for water to move off of the pathway for safety.

    Flagstone colors range from gray to light green to iron-oxide red.

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  • 02 of 08

    Elegant Mortared Stone

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

    Sometimes, real stone pathways can approach concrete's functionality. Even though ​natural stone is used here, it is laid so that the edges are parallel and smooth so that there are no jagged angles on this path. Since stone does not naturally develop straight sides, most of these have been fabricated along the edges to create those smooth lines.

    This pathway's 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.

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  • 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. This is one way to have flagstone but save on costs. 

    Install the flagstone sparsely, with large 2-inch to 4-inch joints. This uses up to 25-percent less stone than with close-fit methods. 

    Bricks can work as a border to help hold the flagstones in place and to visually define the walkway. Finally, place bark around the flagstone, then sweep it off.

    On the downside, the wide bark joints will develop more weeds than tight joints. Also, the bark tends to kick up onto the stones from normal usage.

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  • 04 of 08

    Stone Garden Pond Border

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

    Flagstone can be used as a border around a garden pond.

    Flagstone can be used to great effect alongside water feature banks because its straight edges form a nice, clean pond edge. Garden ponds often have EPDM or PVC liners overlapping the sides that need to be covered to prevent deterioration caused by ultraviolet light.

    Also, pond liners need to be held down with solid, heavy materials to prevent the liner from lapping back into the water. Dirt and loose rocks do not work well for this since wind and rain will eventually send them into the pond.

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  • 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-percent throughout, here it was done for artistic effect—not because the installers ran out of stone.

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  • 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. The 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. finally, mortar is applied to the joints.

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  • 07 of 08

    Artificial Stone Pathway

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

    This pathway over water is made of artificial stone or stamped concrete. This is a beautiful and unique arrangement since the 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

    When you want a stone pathway that looks like it came straight from the forest, do so with randomly spaced stones such as this.

    This type of pathway is better for gardens or along the side of the house than as a front pathway. While this type of stone pathway doesn't stand out as prominently as do the slate and flagstone paths, it does an adequate job of blending into the landscape.

    One benefit, too, is that no mortar or grout is used. The weight of the stones does the job. Real stone is considerably heavier than masonry such as concrete pavers or pea gravel. The weight of the stones settles them deeply into the soil.