How To Install A Slate Tiled Pathway Through Your Garden

Building a slate tile pathway through your outdoor garden can add a sense of elegance to the atmosphere. The pathway also serves as a practical way to make sure guests don't go traipsing through your plants and vegetables. Putting down a slate tile pathway requires a bit of physical work, but if you are in good shape, you should be able to do it on your own even if you've never done it before. If you are thinking of sprucing up your garden with a slate tile pathway, but you don't have any experience working with slate tiles, here is how you can do it.

You Will Need:

  • Slate Tiles
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Spade Shovel
  • String
  • Stakes
  • Straight Edge
  • Dirt
  • Small Stones

Layout Path

If the garden has been planted and is growing, it is best to put slate on top of the current dirt pathway through the garden. However, if you haven't planted the garden yet, you can design the pathway to meander through your garden any way you want. In both cases, mark the sides of the path with string. Take some stakes and put them in the ground where you want the pathway to go. Tie string from one stake to another to mark each side of the pathway. You are now ready to dig the foundation for the pathway.

Dig Out the Pathway

You will only be digging down about 3 or 4 inches to create the space you'll need for the foundation and slate tiles. The best thing to use is a spade garden shovel. The spade shovel has a wide flathead that will lift more dirt and grass at a time from the foundation you are digging. Take the shovel and stick it straight down into the ground along the line of the string. This will mark both edges of the pathway. Dig all the dirt out between the edges until you are down about 3 or 4 inches. The slice you put into the ground to mark the edges will be your guide to stop digging sideways.

Add Tiles

Cover the bottom of the foundation with a layer of sand a couple of inches thick. Stamp the sand down with a handheld tamper until the sand base is firm. A tamper has a long handle and a flat heavy end that you can use to pound the sand flat. You should be able to rent a tamper at a local hardware store if you don't have one.

Place one tile in the sand and adjust it so it is level with the surface of the ground. You may have to add or subtract sand to adjust the level. Add enough tiles to form the first row and then take the straight edge and lay it across the tiles to make sure the top surfaces of all the tiles touch the straight edge. A straight edge can be a perfectly flat 2"x4", a carpenter's level, or metal yardstick - the important thing is that it is straight, flat, and long enough to stretch across the pathway.

Repeat this process until the pathway is filled with slate tiles.

Add Dirt

The tiles will normally be jagged or odd-shaped and they won't fit together perfectly. You want to fill the spaces between the tiles with dirt or small pieces of stone. This will keep the tiles from moving, which could cause the pathway to break apart. You are ready to open the pathway once the dirt or stone has been added. Contact a company like All Season Landscaping to learn more.