How to Make a Mossy Stone Pathway
Making a mossy stone pathway requires a few key materials. Here are the main things you’ll need:
Moss – Obviously moss is essential for a mossy pathway. Look for cushy carpet moss, mood moss or sheet moss. You can often find these growing naturally in shady, wooded areas.
Stones – Collect a variety of stones in different shapes and sizes. Look for interesting textures and colors. Flat-ish stones are easiest to work with. Avoid very round stones.
Soil – You’ll need soil to pack between the stones and help the moss establish. A mix of topsoil and compost works well.
Sand – Adding a bit of sand to your soil mix improves drainage. This is important for moss, which prefers moist (but not soggy) conditions.
Gravel – Small pea gravel helps lock the stones in place and gives the pathway a polished look.
Water – Have a watering can or hose ready. Water is vital for settling materials and keeping the moss alive.
Preparing the Pathway Site
Choose a shady spot for your mossy pathway to give the moss the cool, damp conditions it requires. Make sure the area has decent drainage – moss hates soggy soil.
Remove any grass, plants or large roots. Use a flat shovel or rake to smooth and level the ground.
Define the shape and boundaries of your path using a hose or garden line. Curving lines look more natural. Allow 12-18 inches for the width.
If the native soil is dense clay or sand, enrich it by digging in 2-4 inches of compost. This will improve moisture retention and nutrition for the moss.
Setting and Filling the Stones
Start by laying your largest, flattest stones along the edges of the path. This helps contain the inner fill materials. Leave about 1 inch between stones for soil and moss.
Fill the spaces between the edge stones with your soil mix. Pack it down firmly with a tamper. Mist with water as you go to help settle the soil.
Lay a single layer of inner pathway stones 2-3 inches apart atop the soil base. Place them in an irregular pattern for a natural look.
Fill the gaps between inner stones with your soil mix. Pack it down, moisten, and make sure stones remain level and stable.
Top with a thin 1/2 inch layer of pea gravel. This helps lock stones and provides good drainage when you water.
Adding the Moss
Now you’re ready for the mossy magic! Carefully pick or cut patches of moss in your desired color(s).
Gently press moss pieces into the soil between the stones. Patchwork pieces together like a living jigsaw puzzle.
Use a flat object like a paint scraper to ensure moss makes tight contact with the soil. This encourages it to root and spread.
Mist generously with water. The moss needs constant moisture until established. Aim for damp soil without pooling water.
Give the moss 2-3 weeks to root and attach before walking on the path. Then enjoy your verdant, living stone path! Mist and prune as needed.
Moss dying or browning? Ensure ample shade and moisture. Stop foot traffic until moss is established.
Moss drying out too quickly? Add another layer of pea gravel to retain moisture. Or use drip irrigation.
Weeds invading? Gently hand pull intruders so they don’t outcompete moss.
Stones shifting? Pack soil tighter between stones. Or use gravel adhesive on stubborn stones.
Soil too soggy? Improve drainage by mixing in more sand. Or elevate path and add gravel subsurface.
Moss not spreading? Loosen up the soil surface occasionally with a chopstick or skewer. This helps it spread its rhizoids.
With a bit of trial and error, you can craft a gorgeous mossy stone pathway for your garden. This living green carpet will provide a soft, whimsical feel wherever it winds.