Gardening Tip ~ Importance of Stepping Stones in Garden Beds

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Submitted by Lyne Webb, a member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society

While you may think that stepping stones in the garden bed make a nice decorative touch, there is a much more important reason to include stepping stones among your plants and bushes. 

We all need to get into the garden beds to plant, weed and harvest.  Walking on the soil causes it to compact, especially if the soil is composed of any amount of clay.  When compacted like this, essential oxygen and moisture are prevented from reaching and nourishing the plant roots.  The stepping stones need to be large enough for both your feet, as you will likely want to crouch down while standing on them.  They also should be set into the soil so that they lie level, providing for firm footing.  You may also need to use stepping stones as a path between a sidewalk and the lawn to avoid people trampling the garden accidentally.

Stepping stones can be fancy, but that is not necessary.  Often, after the garden grows, the stepping stones will end up covered by foliage; but you, the gardener, will know where to find them when you need a firm footing.  Of course, you can buy these at the box stores such as Lowes, but you can also find them at nurseries.  For a less expensive solution, I have used bricks, as well as broken pieces of patio stones. I’ve also made concrete stepping stones in a mold.  Other members have made paths using unused, or discarded, hardwood flooring.

Be creative. Use materials you like. Lay a path that provides you with a sure footing while weeding in the middle of your garden!