DIY a Charming Stone and Moss Walkway

Moss-laden walkways are simply enchanting, and they're relatively easy for any DIYer to create in the right conditions. Moss loves to grow where grass does not, so this feature is an ideal landscaping option for areas of the yard where grass refuses to grow and where it can get muddy and unsightly. Some careful planning and TLC when you build the walkway assures that it's something you'll enjoy for years to come, with little in the way of maintenance.

Plan Carefully

The walkway needs to be in an area where moss likes to grow, and it needs to be laid out properly so that it's convenient and safe to walk on. Find a place that's shielded from the sun, preferably somewhere that stays moist. For an organic look, configure your walkway to the lay of the land as much as possible. A meandering path can be achieved with random placement of stones. A straight path looks great with a geometric pattern.

 

Choose your moss. If your local garden center doesn't carry it, find a nearby stream or creek and you'll likely discover indigenous moss there. Remove it from its natural environment carefully.

Choose your stones. You'll want to get something durable, such as granite, quartzite, or bluestone, which will withstand constant freezing, thawing and moisture. Sandstone and limestone tend to crack if they get wet or freeze, so they aren't ideal since you will need to water your moss a lot initially after you plant it, and periodically once it's established. Pick a color of stone that looks good with the surrounding area and choose a style that suits the surrounding architecture.

Construct the Walkway

Measure the path you'd like to lay out, and order enough stones to create the walkway, plus several extras so that you can mix and match the sizes to achieve the look you want. You can follow a geometric layout or go for something more random. Ideally, in a grouping you will pair one large stone with two smaller stones. Lay them out and adjust until you get the appearance you want. Walk across them to be sure they're a comfortable stride apart and your natural steps do not leave you walking on the space between the stones. For that reason, leave no more than four inches between the stones.

Dig out the area to lay the stones. Dig a couple of inches deeper than the width of the stones, to allow room for a layer of loose gravel. Once you remove the grass and dirt for your pathway, lay a thin layer of gravel. Then place your stones on top of the gravel. Use the give in the gravel to level the stones for your walkway.

Plant the Moss

When the stones are in place, fill in around them with the dirt you want to plant your moss in. Clay is perfect because it retains moisture. Moss loves poor, wet soil that tends to rot the roots of most other plants.

Now it's time to prepare your moss for planting. Essentially, you're going to make a moss "slushy." Mix the moss with an equal part of skim or buttermilk. Use a blender or food processor to break up the moss into fine bits, but be careful not to liquefy it. Transfer the mixture into a pitcher that's easy to pour from.

Carefully pour the moss mixture into the prepared soil (clay) you placed around the stones. Try not to get any on the stones because the moss will grow there, but it will make the stones slippery and dangerous to walk on.

Care and Maintenance

It will probably take several applications of the moss "slushy" to get the entire walkway lush with moss growth. Water your moss every day for the first two weeks until it gets started well.

Once the moss gets growing, there will be next to no maintenance necessary. Just keep your stones clean so that they don't become slippery, and add new moss mixture if bear spots start to appear. Since moss loves moist conditions, it doesn't hurt to hose the area down every now and then, but if planted in the right conditions the moss will thrive on its own.

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