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Follow A New Path

One way to spruce up the exterior of your home is to build a stone walkway.

The Carey Brothers demonstrate how for CBS News Saturday Morning.

Silver mica stone, which costs about $6 per square foot, is sold in pieces averaging 2 feet long and 2 inches thick, making it easy to work with.
  • Start with flour to mark the edge of where the new walkway will be placed. You could use an electric cord, a garden hose or a string. But flour is really easy to use. If you make a mistake, just brush it away.
  • Dig a pit in between the flour lines for the foundation. The pit should be 6 inches to 8 inches deep.
  • Begin laying the foundation by spreading 4 to 6 inches of 3/4-inch gravel evenly across the bottom of the pit. Then thoroughly wet down the gravel with a garden hose to help compact it.
  • When it is good and wet, use a tamper to compact the base rock so the sand can be applied. Find a tamper at a tool rental store. (Buying one could be pretty expensive.)
  • If the gravel base is not compacted well, the walkway will become uneven over time. So use those muscles!
  • On top of the compacted gravel, spread a 2 inch to 3 inch layer of fine, sea sand. Using the garden hose again, wet down the sand layer.
  • Tamp the sand to the point that when you walk on it, no footprints are left.
  • Select the first piece of stone. Use one with a nice straight edge that corresponds to the edge on the existing walkway. Save the rough edge of the stone for the underside.
  • Sprinkle some dry sand where the stone will be placed and lay the stone down. Knock the stone into place with a rubber mallet. The loose, dry sand underneath creates a cushion for the stone to settle into.
  • Use a level to make sure the pathway is flat.
  • Proceed with your next stone. Remember to stagger the seams of the stones to get a more random and natural look. It doesn't matter how irregular the spacing between the stones is because this is a natural material. And the irregular effect looks great!
  • As you go along, not every piece of stone will fit perfectly into place. That's when you have to use a mason's hammer to chip at the edge of stone to make it fit. And don't be afraid to bang it a little bit too hard. If you break one, use the smaller pieces later.
  • Avoid placing smaller pieces along the edges; they can become loose more easily than larger stones. Continue to lay stones adjacent to one another until the foundation is covered.

The final step is the installation of a light layer of sand to fill in all the joints around the stone.

The result is virtually maintenance-free. Sweep some fresh sand into the joints once a year and your new stone path will last a lifetime.

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