Building Stone Borders
& Walkways
Paradise Style
by Kit Knotts - Photos by Ben Knotts
Click images to enlarge

We use the same stone throughout the garden for walkways, pond borders (sometimes one in the same) and walls. It is called Beech Mountain Emerald Gray and comes to us from Beech Mountain, North Carolina, by way of our local stone yard, Brevard Stone. It comes in thick (good for walls) and thin (good for walkways). It is not especially brittle so can be shaped fairly easily but is not so soft that it can break down over time.

Beginning with a pond edge already firm and level (see Pond Building Paradise Style) we use sand to level the rest of the area we plan to flag. Keep in mind that we are in Florida and have no problem with freezing/thawing affecting our stone work. This is as easy as it looks and natural stone purchased by the pallet is relatively inexpensive.

We overlap the pond edge with stone by one to two inches and try to keep the edge thickness fairly consistent. This creates a shadow that hides the concrete pond side. Though we make an effort to keep stone and mortar out of the ponds, some gets in with no apparent detriment to plants. We do usually put a little vinegar in the water near the edge we are working on.

First we select stones to fit the space and shape them as needed with a brick hammer.

Because the thickness of the stones varies, we make them level with more sand.

We mix bagged mortar mix fairly "soupy", slap it into the space --

-- spread it around --

-- and replace the rocks.

We tap them into place --

-- until the mortar mix oozes up between them and then wipe out the joints.

After a few minutes to allow initial setup of the mortar, we wash the mortar off the rocks.

The result is a pretty and stable pond edge/walkway that will last forever.

Materials & Tools: Brick hammer, pointed trowel, sand for leveling, bagged mortar mix, a bucket or other mixing container, hose and nozzle, wire brush (in case we don't wash off quickly enough), rubber gloves.

Tips: Several of the keys to attractive stone work are to vary rock sizes and to avoid creating long lines that catch the eye. Don't select or set too many at a time since they don't always go back exactly they have in pre-selection. Don't let the mortar set too long without washing -- wire brushing or a mild muriatic acid wash will help if you do.

Pond Building Paradise Style

 Building Dune

 Building The Pod Pools

Stone Top and Face for a Raised Pond

Waterlilies | Lotus | Aquatic Plants | Victoria | Our Adventure With Victoria
Water Gardening | Water Gardening Friends | New This Month
Kit & Ben Knotts | Our Garden | Search The Site | Home 
Email Discussion List | Site Map
Water Gardeners International