How To Make a Natural Woodland Path

Build a low maintenance, low impact, inviting path to the lake, utilizing on-site materials.

Next Project
Time

Multiple Days

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

Free

Introduction

Build a low maintenance, low impact, inviting stepping stone path, utilizing on-site materials.

Tools Required

  • broom
  • Chainsaw
  • Garden rake
  • Wood chipper

Materials Required

  • Tree branches
  • Tree trunks

If your planned Getaway is in a remote location, getting landscape supplies to your site can be a challenge. We used materials already onsite for much of our landscaping, including this path to the lake.

We cut “stepping stones” from big oak trees that we felled, and we used a wood chipper to make our own mulch. We didn’t need to haul in heavy landscape materials. And we recycled organic material back to the forest floor, keeping the natural cycle intact.

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Slice the stepping stones

  • Bust out your chain saw – with a new, sharp chain – and slice off a pile of stepping stones.

I cut these about two inches thick. Any thinner and they crack too easily. Thicker, you'll need a lot more mulch.

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Step 2

Set the stepping stones 

  • Set the stepping stones in your path, spaced at an easy walking pace.

It’ll take some shuffling to get this just right. You might need to dig out a bit of soil underneath some of the stepping stones to get them to sit level and not rock as you walk on them.

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Step 3

Let the chips fly

  • Our DR Power wood chipper is a small, homeowner-size unit, and it’s easily portable.
  • We moved the chipper down the path, filling between our stepping stones as we moved along the path.
  • We used deadfall from the woods as well as split logs from felled trees.

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Step 4

Rake out the path

  • Once you’re done chipping, rake and sweep the wood chips out to expose the stepping stones.

They'll decay naturally, and that's okay. But these stepping stones should last for years.

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