Creating a Stone Mosaic Front Garden Path

Kendall K.
by Kendall K.
8 Materials
7 Days

The Mission: Replacing an ugly concrete pathway with a unique and intricate stone mosaic pathway. (Yes I have the Mission Impossible theme in my head)

A lot of hard work but well worth the effort!

⚠️Please research if this will work in your area before attempting this project. I’m in the Pacific Northwest and have mild winters.

It served its purpose but time to go!

Our front path was originally ugly grey concrete (With a huge crack you can’t see in the pic) that I water stained brown 3 years ago to make it bearable and so it would go with our new siding. Finally it’s time to put in the pathway I’ve dreamt about!

Goodbye old ugly pathway!!

First...I had help removing the old pathway. It was jackhammered, dug down, framed and tamped in 4 inches of gravel for a solid frost friendly base. What a nice clean palette to play with!

So exciting!

Over the past several months, I’d gone to Home Depot and a few different landscape suppliers to gradually build up my stone collection for this project.

I ended up with quite the stockpile of stones in a variety in sizes, shapes and colors. I also started buying 80lb bags of Type S mortar 2 at a time.

A rainbow of stones!

I used larger flatter stones as stepping stones and lots of smaller stones for the detail work.

First, I had to separate all the smaller stones into color groups. Then I laid out the larger stones for placement and get a sense of how much detail work I was looking at, which was a lot!

This is only some of the stones

laying it out first really helped with the planning!

It’s starting to come together!

Mixing the mortar was my least favorite part. I was so nervous that I’d mix it too thin! I just had to be patient and add the water gradually and it all worked out.

Not my picture but wanted to show the texture

Each little stone needed to be set by hand so I worked with one bag at a time. I had to work fairly quickly to get them in before the mortar set too much. I lengthened the dry time by working early in the morning before the sun worked it’s way around.

It looked like an unholy mess while I was setting them but I kept reminding myself it would be fine :)

It was scary not know how it really looked!

As each section dried, I would gently scrub away the excess mortar with a wire brush and rag. I had to be quite gentle because I did not want to dislodge any stones.

Doing it this way made it possible for me to see what I’d done in the previous section and helped deciding stone placement for the next section.

The vision is coming to life!

In total for a 12’ x 4’ path, I used a 400-500lbs of stones and eight 80lb bags of mortar (phew!). The final steps are letting it cure for a week and spraying it down multiple times a day so it doesn’t dry too quickly and crack.

This part I still need to do..scrub it with muriatic acid to remove any mortar residue rinse really really well. The final step is to use a stone enhancer and sealer. This will make it absolutely pop and look exactly as it does when it wet!

What it looks like now before the acid

Wait for it.....BLAM!!icon

What it looks like wet & look like sealed.

I am so happy with the results! icon

I keep getting asked how long it took and it’s so hard to pin down with the hours of hand sorting the stones, placing them, letting each section dry and cleaning it before starting the next one, and the controlled curing. I would have to guesstimate not counting the sorting and curing, about 4 hours per bag of mortar.

Love it!! 💕

For the left side of the path, I’m planning to get some large stones and put some purple phlox or creeping rock cress flowers. I’ll add the picture when that part is all done! icon

After the acid clean and wood frame removal.

icon UPDATE: Today the wood framing was removed and the muriatic acid wash was done! Now it really pops!

I will be applying the stone enhance/sealer next week!

icon NOTE: The suggested materials after this post are not the products I actually used. They were added by Hometalk, not me. I used:

  • Sakrete Type S Mortar (grey)
  • Miracle Sealants Stone Enhancer and Sealer.
One year later

A year later the garden around it has filled in nicely and it has survived a winter with ice and snow!

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3 of 126 questions
  • Lois Lois on Apr 23, 2023

    How to keep it level so no triping over high parts

  • Jacquie Trundy Jacquie Trundy on May 24, 2023

    That turned out beautifully. What about the stairs. Would it be too much to do the stairs the same way? I think it would be outstanding! You are so talented.

  • Donna Donna on May 24, 2023

    OUTSTANDING! Do you make house calls?????

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2 of 1280 comments
  • Nandini Nandini on Sep 03, 2023

    So beautiful. I was also admiring your window box as well as the decorative grill on your deck

  • Cindy Jernee Cindy Jernee on Oct 24, 2023

    Gorgeous! I just bought a fixer upper. I guess I know what I'm going to do next summer!!