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    Create Garden Steppingstones

    Steppingstones in the garden aren't just decorative—they're functional too. If you have a large landscape bed, creating a pathway through it will help avoid walking all over the garden, which compacts the soil. You can buy garden steppingstones, but you can also make them yourself. This is a fun project for a rainy day or for families. Decorate your steppingstones with marbles, stones, shells and other found objects. You can also stamp the concrete to make patterns. Here's how to make a functional work of art for your garden.

     

    Materials

    • Fast-setting cement (concrete)
    • Clear plastic drainage trays (normally used under flower pots), or small wood-frame boxes
    • Shovel or paint stirrer for stirring
    • Gardenwel or flat-sided board
    • Gloves
    • Bucket or wheelbarrow for mixing the concrete
    • Decorations: flat-sided marbles, mosaic tile pieces, sea glass, river rocks, seashells, stamps, mosaic tile samples and other small objects

    Instructions

    1. Before mixing the fast-setting cement, plan your steppingstone design. Draw it on paper if you like. While you can pour and let your steppingstone set without decorating it, if you want to decorate, you will need to move quickly after pouring. Fast-setting cement isn't so named for nothing! Lay out your shells, marbles, sea glass or other items in the pattern you plan to use, so you will be ready.

    2. Once you've organized your design, combine the fast-setting cement with water in a large bucket or wheelbarrow, following the package directions. The mixture should be the consistency of thick brownie batter. If the cement is mixed too thin, it will take a long time to dry and be less sturdy. When the fast-setting cement has reached the right consistency, you can pour.

    3. Pour the mixture into the drainage trays or molds you've prepared, and smooth the surface with a garden trowel or flat-sided board. Pour enough cement in the mold for a 1½ to 3 in. thickness.

    1. After pouring, you can set your decorative items into the cement if you are using them. Don't push the items too far into the mixture or they'll sink and disappear into the concrete. If your items begin to sink, your mixture is too thin. You will have to start over and mix thicker concrete. If you want to use stamps to decorate, this is the time to use them. This is also the time to use foam stamps to press interesting shapes into the concrete. (If you're making a stamped concrete steppingstone, mix the fast-setting concrete slightly thicker so it will hold the stamp impression better.)

    2. After decorating, let the stones dry for two to three days.

    3. Turn the molds over and gently pop the stones out. Be careful not to break them.

    Your steppingstones are now ready to be placed in the garden. Set the stones a comfortable stride's distance apart. You'll find that these decorative and functional works of art are the perfect finishing touch for your landscape.