By: Garden Gate staff
| 1 of 4
This shady spot had a lot going for it — a gently winding path, a stone patio, a bubbling fountain and beautiful, full-grown hostas. But the overgrown area needed a makeover to really shine!
See the clump of yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon)? This ground cover got a little too vigorous, so we pulled it out and moved the chartreuse hosta that was beside it to another part of the garden. That’s when we discovered the original entry path buried under a layer of soil. Those pavers could be incorporated into some new hardscaping, so we pulled them up to use later.
Just click and drag the left side of the photo to see how this patio transformed with a little cleanup and the help of a few containers, colorful impatiens and a new step. Then keep clicking for the easy-to-follow instructions on how to lay a step in your own garden and create a well-defined entryway.
| 2 of 4
Adding a step to the patio gave it a whole new look and created an obvious entry point. Plus, it fixed a subtle level change, which had been allowing debris to wash out onto the landing.
Use a shovel to dig a hole large enough for the step you choose and deep enough for 3 inches of gravel, or whatever drainage material is economical in your area. Gravel also adds stability and makes for a strong foundation, which will keep the stone step from sinking or tipping.
Shovel the gravel in and then tamp it down so it’s compacted. That minimizes settling. Check to be sure it’s level, like we did in the photo at left, and add or subtract any gravel where needed.
| 3 of 4
With help from a few friends with strong backs, putting in a step is easier than you think. You can find big pieces of stone at landscape supply businesses. And if you’re doing it yourself, have them put it as close to its final destination as possible when they deliver it to save you some work.
Position the stone, and once the step is in place, make sure it’s level, like we did here. If not, lift it and add or pull away gravel until it is.
| 4 of 4
We put another layer of gravel down before using the original entry pavers — the ones salvaged during cleanup — for this path leading to the step.
Just arrange the pavers and fill the spaces between each one with more gravel. (You can use soil, too, if you’d like to try some low-growing paver plants.) It only takes a simple stone edging to connect the step to another part in the garden. Here, a few smaller stones to the left of the step ties it to the fountain on this patio.