Getting to the Basics: Remodeling Projects

The Practical Side Of Garden Path Materials: Stepping Stones Vs. Paved Paths Vs. Gravel

by Jill Jenkins

If you're rearranging your garden and want to install a path, think about the materials you want to use very carefully. Common materials include paved concrete paths, concrete stepping stones, and gravel. The material you use can have some profound effects on how easy it is for you to access the garden, as well as how easy it is for you to fix anything that goes wrong. Here's a look at which of those three options might be best for you.


Stepping stones may be among your cheapest options, depending on how many you need and whether you install them yourself. You can pick up some inexpensive DIY mosaic stepping-stone kits at craft stores, for example. Gravel is relatively cheap, too. A paved concrete pathway will likely be the most expensive because you'll have professionals installing it.


Gravel should be tamped down well, but it can still be relatively unstable compared to a paved concrete path. Stepping stones can easily become uneven if stepped on while the supporting ground is soggy to the point of being saturated. While concrete paths are still subject to frost heave, they are still going to be more stable than the other two choices.


A paved concrete path is best if you or someone else in the home need access that is suitable for a wheelchair, crutches, a cane, or for any other form of mobile special needs. Smooth concrete stays stable under canes and crutches. Gravel and stepping stones would not allow anyone who had a special mobility issue to access the garden.


If drainage is a concern in your yard, a gravel or stepping-stone path would be best. Any water would drain through the surrounding mulch or between the pebbles. With a paved path, you'd need to ensure there were adequate tracks for water to run along next to or away from the path so that the path didn't flood.

Ease of Repair

Gravel wins this one; it doesn't really break. You may have to deal with gravel washing away in heavy rain or forming ruts over time as you wear a path through the gravel, but you can rearrange the gravel and easily add more. Stepping stones can be replaced easily as well. Paved pathways can crack and may not be as easy to replace or fix unless the path is divided into sections.

If you want to find out how much having a concrete path put in would cost, or if you have other questions about these three options, talk to concrete contractors. Find out what problems they've seen with issues like flooding and frost heave to help you decide on the material you'll use in your garden. Visit for more information.