I was compensated by Worx Tools for this post. All opinions are my own.
Stepping stones are great for many reasons, both practical and aesthetic. In areas of high traffic, it’s a challenge to grow beautiful lush grass. Adding stepping stones makes it easy to know where to step and you don’t have to worry about killing the grass. Below is a tutorial I’ve put together on how I’ve made my own DIY stepping stone pathway that works well with my robotic lawnmower.
Knowing that the grass needs to be mowed regularly around the stones, I wanted to make sure these stones will not interfere with the robotic lawnmower that I just received. Having them low in the ground make the mowing seamless.
Benefits of Using a Robotic Lawnmower
- Robotic lawnmower saves you lots of time, especially if you have a big backyard with trees and different obstructions that you have to workaround.
- Robotic lawnmower helps to fertilize your lawn which makes it look vibrant and green. The blades on the robotic lawnmower mulch the grass into fine clippings and scattered on the lawn so that the nutrients are returned to the soil.
- No need to fill up the mower with fuel or check the oil. You don’t even have to charge the battery. The robotic lawnmower will return to the charging dock and charge the battery by itself.
- The grass will not grow tall and will always be cut daily or every other day, depending on how you set it up.
- Your robotic lawn mower could be set up to cut the grass during the night freeing up the lawn in the day for other uses. You could hardly hear the robotic lawnmower working with ultra-silent wheel motors.
Using Robotic Mower Around Stepping Stones
When placing the stepping stone in the ground examine each stone closely to check that they are flush with the ground. If stepping stones are at ground level, the chance of tripping is reduced, as is the likelihood of the mower blade hitting them. If the stones are higher then the ground, consider lifting them, digging out some dirt, and resetting them again. The stones that are flush with the ground pose no danger to your robotic mower. If you’re still concerned about blades hitting the stones, use higher blade settings on your lawnmower.
Why Make Stepping Stones on Your Lawn
Stepping stone will protect the lawn area from extra wear and tear. Also, in a rainy season, you won’t need to try hard to avoid muddy patches of grass. Stepping stones are often better than a pathway since it would not detract from the surrounding greenery.
When using concrete for these steps you have the flexibility to form whatever shape you fancy. You can tweak the look of these stones by adding a design with additional rocks as well. Also, concrete is a sturdy and durable material which is a big plus.
You also might be interested in my other outdoor projects that I’ve done like, DIY planter container with corrugated steel.
Time to Complete
- 12″ Concrete Tube Form
- Concrete Mix
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Make Mold from Concrete Form Tube
There are many different ways to make a stepping stone mold. For this project, I made the stone mold using a concrete form tube that is cut into 3″ sections. The mold holds the concrete until it dries and then the mold is removed.
To simplify the 3″ measurement mark, I clamped a pencil 3″ high from the workbench and rotated the tube pressing on the pencil. By rotating the tube I got a pencil mark all the way around exactly at 3″.
Using a skill saw cut the tube following the pencil line. Again measure and mark 3″ from the end and cut off another 3″. Repeat the step until you cut the entire 4-foot long tube into 3″ pieces. You should have a total of 15 pieces that are 3″ tall. The last peace will be smaller than 3″ so that could be thrown away. These 3″ tall tubes will be used as a mold for making stepping stones.
Step 2 – Arrange the Molds on a Sheet of Plywood
Find a flat surface to place the molds for pouring concrete. Make sure the surface is leveled. Arrange the molds close to each other so that you could easily reach them when pouring concrete.
I had an old sheet of plywood that I was going to throw away, but it still had a good flat surface to make these stepping stones on. If you don’t have a sheet of plywood, placing them on the ground will work as well.
Step 3 – Mix Concrete
Take one bag of concrete, slice it open with a knife, and dump the mixture into a bucket or a large container. I had an old cooler that I used for mixing the concrete. Then add water into the bucket and mix the concrete. If you never mixed concrete before, add water to a container with a measuring mark. Then pour a measured amount of water (amount varies depending on the bag size) into the mix from a bucket, rather than squirting it in with a hose. Have extra concrete mix available just in case you added too much water, you could always add more concrete. One of the most common mistakes beginners make is to add too much water and end up with concrete that’s thin and soupy.
Step 4 – Pour Concrete into the Molds
After mixing the concrete, fill in the molds with concrete using a trowel. Use the backside of a trowel to smooth out the top surface of stepping stone. The top surface could be left flat or could be filled with pebbles or small round stones for a design.
Step 5 – Remove Grass and Dirt for the Stepping Stones
I wanted to place the stepping stones in our backyard across the lawn from our patio to the vegetable garden. These stepping stones needed to be placed inside the ground so that the top of the stone is at the same elevation as the ground. Having them inside the ground prevents people from tripping over them. Also, my Worx robotic lawnmower will not get stuck crossing the stones.
Having the robotic lawnmower saves me a lot of time mowing the lawn every week. The Worx robotic lawn mower could be set up to run during the time when kids are at school or even at night because it so quite.
Determine where to place the first stepping stone. Then place a rock or a trowel in the middle of the stepping stone location. Take a shovel and start digging out the ground around the rock. The rock is there to be as a guide. If the ground is too hard, then water it very well to make it softer. Measure 24″ from the center of the first step to the center of the second step. Repeat the process by digging out the holes. The holes need to be 3″ deep and 12″ round in diameter.
Step 6 – Remove the Mold From the Stepping Stone
After the concrete dries, remove the mold from the stepping stone. You could just cut it with the knife. Then place the stepping stone inside the hole you dug in the ground. Once you place the concrete piece inside the hole, fill in the gaps with dirt. My kids helped with digging and filling in the gaps with dirt. You are done with DIY Stepping Stone Pathway. Enjoy.