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· The path should be constructed to be at the same level as the soil to allow easy mowing.
· Flagstone can be used as stepping stones for a path, but the other materials work best if edged and contained with treated wood or edging.
· Outline the path with treated wood or edging. Two by fours work best for straight edges and edging works better for curves. The edging, whether wood or other material contains the sand and makes the surface material easier to level. Use a carpenter’s level or a straight 2 by 4 inch board to level and slope the edging.
· Decomposed granite is the easiest material to level and flagstone is the hardest. Lay a straight 2 by 4 board from edge to edge to check the surface level. You can add or remove sand to level individual bricks or flagstones. Scrape down the mulch or decomposed granite to level.
· Brick without mortar makes a very attractive patio or path. It can be laid in patterns and has a more formal look than the other materials. To use bricks, make paths that allow full bricks to be used. That means the path width will be in multiples of the brick width plus any spacing between bricks. Spaces filled with sand between the bricks up to ˝ inch will eventually fill in with zoysia grass, but spaces 1/8 inch or less are easier to maintain and make a better surface for toys, skates or bikes.
· Hardscape paths are especially attractive and useful in groundcovers and perennial borders. Curve them through the plantings to allow easy traverse deep into the gardens.
· One of the best things about hardscape without mortar is its portability. It provides good surfaces for activities, but is relatively easy to alter or move.
· For more information, seek out one of the many publications on hardscape that exist at area bookstores and nurseries or visit www.plantanswers.com.