8 Flagstone and Slate Walkway Ideas

  • 01 of 08

    Smooth, Tight Flagstone Pathway

    Polygonal Stone Walkway in Garden 1500 x 1000
    Polygonal Stone Walkway in Garden. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Mark Rosenwald

    Stone pathways are what you build when you don't want concrete.  I admit to being a great fan of the practicality of concrete pathways.  These completely flat, depression-less paths have no seams other than expansion joints, so no weeds grow through.  If anyone trips on a concrete path, it's their own fault (or an errant crack's fault).  Concrete powerwashes off with ease.

    But stone looks fantastic.  Even the best stamped concrete, in my mind, cannot duplicate the look of a natural...MORE stone walk.

    A Tight Flagstone Path

    This is flagstone from Iron Mountain Stone.  The person who posted the photo notes that the "polygonal pattern...relates to the Moses Lake basalt birdbath behind the wheelbarrow..."

    • 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 Pathway, Steps, and Columns

    Mortared Stone Pathway and Steps 1500 x 1000
    Mortared Stone Pathway and Steps. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Arnold Masonry/Landscape

    This stonework, from Arnold Masonry and Landscape, Atlanta, GA, is about as close to "concrete functionality" as stone gets.

    Unnatural Nature

    Even though natural stone is used, it is laid so that the edges are parallel and smooth; no jagged "natural" looks for this path.  Because 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...MORE 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

    Easy Flagstone Path Bordered In Brick

    Natural Flagstone Path With Brick Border 1500 x 1000
    Natural Flagstone Path With Brick Border. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Field Outdoor Spaces

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

    1. Flagstone In Center:  Want to have your flagstone don't want to go broke buying it?  Install it sparsely, with 2" to 4" joints.  I estimate that this uses 25% less stone than the close-fit method shown earlier.
    2. Brick Border:  Want some bricks?  Come to my house--I've got about five million strewn all around from the previous owner.  Chances are, you'll find someone you know who...MORE also has a much-hated brick patio or walkway.  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.  I'm not a great fan of the stuff, as it ends up all over the stone (as you can clearly see here).
    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Stone Garden Pathway Bordering Pond

    Flagstone Path Near Pond 1500 x 840
    Flagstone Path Near Pond. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Mark Rosenwald

    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 Need Stone

    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 EPDM or PVC pond liners needs to be covered to prevent UV deteriorationAnd they need to be held down with solid, heavy materials to prevent the liner...MORE from lapping back into the water.  Dirt and loose rocks won't cut it, otherwise they will end up in the pond.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Multiple Views of Flagstone Path and Patio

    Three Views of Flagstone Walk and Patio 1500 x 949
    Three Views of Flagstone Walk and Patio. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Mark Rosenwald

    A stone walkway so good I had to feature it three times over.

    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.

    I especially like the large gaps between stone in the center image.  While stone could have been installed 100% throughout, I suspect that this was done for artistic effect--not because they ran out of stone.  

    Best as I can tell, this walk was installed by Hearth & Soul Masonry of Bainbridge...MORE Island, WA, principal:  Mark Rosenwald. 

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Narrow, Mortared Stone Pathway

    Mortared Stone Pathway 1000 x 1500
    Mortared Stone Pathway. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Arnold Masonry & Landscape

    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.
    • Path is laid perfectly level, with few surface imperfections in the stone.
    • Stones are laid down in a mortar base, so that it remains level, preventing it from flexing and cracking.
    • Mortar is applied to the joints.
    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Artificial Stone Pathway With Water In-Between

    Artificial Stone Pathway Close Up 1500 x 1000
    Artificial Stone Pathway Close Up. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Blake Barrett

    I like this picture an awful lot.  I believe that this is artificial stone--stamped concrete?

    This is a beautiful arrangement, and I 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

    Natural Stone Walkway, No Border

    Very Natural Stone Pathway 1000 x 1500
    Very Natural and Wild Stone Pathway. CC-Licensed; Flickr User GollyGforce

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

    1. 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.
    2. 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. 
    3. No Border, No...MORE Mortar:  How does it stay stuck together?  Answer:  weight.  Being real stone, rather than a type of masonry (concrete pavers, for instance), these things are heavy.  While there is some gravel around the stone, mainly the weight of the stones settles them deeply into the soil.