As warmer weather pushes flowers out of winter dormancy, it’s always a good idea to spread a fresh layer of mulch over flowerbeds to insulate roots, retain moisture and suppress weeds. To add visual interest to mulched beds or pathways, consider adding a few stepping stones, which look particularly appealing when nestled into dark, cushy mulch.
Whether you use wood, bark or pine needle mulch, stepping stones introduce contrasting textures that delight the eye and ensure many mud-free visits to your garden year-round.
Add Stepping Stones to Mulched Beds:
- Choose stepping stones that work well with other colors in your landscape. They might match the color of nearby brick or concrete, or you can use natural rock step stones. Also consider weight. Large 16-inch wide concrete stepping stones can weigh 40 pounds, compared to bigger, more decorative ones made from recycled rubber weighing only 8 pounds.
- When planning placement, be sure to consider spots that become muddy in late winter, or places that you often visit, such as the area near your bird feeder. Place an odd number of stepping stones in small garden scenes, because odd numbers draw the eye.
- Cover soil or mulch where stones will be placed with a roll-out fabric weed barrier.
- Install a stepping stone by raking away any existing mulch and using a spade if needed to level the soil where the stepping stone will be placed. Wear gloves when handling concrete or stone pieces, which can have sharp edges. Position the stone on the soil, and jump on it a few times to settle it in place. If the stone feels wobbly underfoot, use soil or small stones to support low spots.
- Rake mulch around the new stepping stones, then sweep them clean with a broom.