DIYing A Slate Path That Leads To Our Front Door

It’s been so long that I betcha forgot about our front walkway project, didn’t you? You can get a full refresher here, but the gist is that we ripped up our shoddy old path and used leftover slate to piece together a bigger and better walkway to our front door. It was a weekend full of work and we left off with the simple task of digging all the slate into the ground. Here’s a pic to jog your memory (before the big dig):

That simple task of digging in 48 pieces of stone turned into a four-day back-breaking adventure, all in hopes of engineering a wobble-free perfectly-graded welcoming walkway to our house. Which is why my follow-up post is coming so late. But in the end, victory was ours.

Why did it take so long? Let’s just say there was a lot of trial-and-error involved in digging perfectly shaped holes for each piece of slate. Some people use a bed of sand to make this process easier, but we feared that it might jeopardize our chances of getting grass to sprout in between the slabs of slate, so we did it the hard way. No guts no glory, right? Making sure the stones didn’t rock when we walked across them ended up being more art than science, and it typically took 4 or 5 tries to get it just right. Not to mention keeping all the pieces level with the slope of the yard.

But it’s done and you can now walk to our front door without twisting an ankle. And as of last night we laid grass seed along the seams and are now just waiting for some green to show. So there’s one more “after” photo still to come… just don’t hold your breath.


  1. MaryB in Richmond says

    Firstly: OUCH.

    Secondly: It looks LOVELY! I love the graceful curve it makes; fabulous.

    Thirdly, a question: What made you decide you wanted grass to grow up around the slates? I’ve always thought the goal was to prevent any vegetation growing up around, so what am I missing? I feel quite clueless! *grin*

    Thanks for all the great inspiration, as well as the “you can do it” mentality I could use more of…

  2. says

    It looks amazing! Very nice job. I have a typical poured walkway (a bit more difficult to remove) but would love something like this. I’d probably keep it grass free. The grass could be another tripping hazard.

  3. Sherry says

    Hey guys,

    Sorry not to be fully explanatory about the grass. See we wanted something organic and less harsh than a very hard, straight concrete seamed path and were inspired by images like this:

    We think it’ll be low maintenance because we’ll be able to mow right over the stones (as opposed to weeding between them to keep them clear of vegetation) and we’ll keep the grass nice and low like in the above photo (so it hopefully poses less of a tripping hazard).

    In about two weeks we’ll see how it turns out. And if we hate the grass I guess we’ll just have to dig it up and brainstorm some new ideas.

    Thanks so much for reading!


  4. says

    The path looks really great, and it’ll probably look freaking adorable once it’s got some grass growing between those stones.

    I don’t think it’ll make a tripping hazard, especially if the grass is kept short. I mean, I don’t trip while walking in my grass covered yard unless there’s a rake or something I failed to notice.

  5. Kelli says

    Oooh, that will look so good once the grass grows in! It’ll be a quaint little entrance to your lovely home. I’ve also loved the idea of lining them with thyme so it smells good when people walk on it.

  6. says


    Very inspiring. I try to use your house as motivation for my own. Anyone can tackle home repair… right?

    Ha, some days it doesn’t feel like I’m cut out for it, even though I love to see progress. I can thank my husband for that!!

  7. Beth says

    Adorable. Sorry I stalk your blog… I just can’t help myself. ;) You guys really did a fantastic job on the walkway!

  8. John says

    Thank you all for appreciating the fruits of our labor. We plan to keep the grass short (and rake free, Lisa) to minimize any potential tripping hazard. But once it’s all grown in you guys are welcome to come over and test it out.

    Kelli, I like your thyme idea. There’s something in our backyard that always smells good when I mow. Maybe that’s what it is… you may have solved my mystery.

    And Beth, we love stalkers. Wait, revise that, we love blog-stalkers. The kind that peep in windows not so much.


  9. EastEnd says

    It looks great! Love the idea of thyme between the slate. Though it might make for a problem shoveling snow in the winter. Assuming of course that we will eventually get a decent snowfall here in Richmond!

  10. snail says

    looks good, Moss would look good too. We have something similar at our house but it was done all wrong. It dosnen’t help that my mother-in-law drove her gigantic truck over it either.
    I hope ours looks like that one day. Maybe we can redux it with your helpful tips.

  11. says

    Wouldn’t moss be too slippery? I love the idea of grass, in a few months that walkway will look like it’s always been there.
    You did a wonderful job!

  12. Tommy says

    My mom has the same type of path at her house and she planted Thyme in the cracks. Its AMAZING and it smells lovely too. Thyme is very hardy (much more so than grass, really) and can take being walked on and getting heated and cooled by the proximity of the non-heat-conductive stone. It takes a while to get established but after a while (about a summer and a half in our case) it fills in the cracks much better than grass ever did.

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