If you’re looking for a timeless addition to your yard, consider stepping stone pathways. These add a rustic, natural element that is great for the outdoors. They’re also very versatile in style. Many stepping stone pathways are part of a zen style, as these types of yards make great use of stone elements. Stepping stones can also be set into grass for a more rustic and aged look. Or they can sit in more modern and neat gravel displays. Plus, many of these styles go well with water features. So take a look below for some inspiration for stepping stone pathways.

Zen Stepping Stones

stepping stone

As touched on above, zen styles and stepping stone pathways were made for each other. You can see in the photo above how well stepping stones work against sand or gravel designs. The stepping stones give an additional visual element among all the light gravel. Also, by choosing darker stones to sit on the light gravel, you can create some visual interest in the garden area.

Stepping stones are also a practical element, as the pathway allows you to travel across the garden without disturbing the sand or gravel patterns. Also, stepping stones with natural textures keep the space looking classic and organic.

Water and Stepping Stone Pathways

stepping stone

Stepping stones also work beautifully when used alongside a garden water feature, like a backyard pond. Stepping stones were a classic way to get across rivers, creeks and other small waterways, so this is another way to create a classic and rustic element in the backyard.

You could go a couple of different directions with this idea. You could create a more clearly defined trail with larger stepping stones, like in the photo above. It’s also common to see widely spaced stepping stones in backyard ponds. These are more for show than actual use, but they give a romantic and slightly adventurous feel.

Modern Dry Rock Gardens

Modern Japanese garden designers have studied tradition and are now also expanding on that tradition to bring in more elements of self-expression. 
This garden in Nara has added a practical element to it by using pea gravel in between the “islands.” This miniature scene is a nice addition to a front entrance and it also relieves the owner of having to be so meticulous with the raking of the gravel to create waves. Although there are also stepping stones in the back it looks like walking on the brown colored gravel is also acceptable. It is good to see gardeners adapting the garden to modern times and allowing function to play a part of the garden, rather than loosing the tradition all together. 

Nobedan Paths

Nobedan pavement or pathways do not only get someone from point A to point B but unite different areas of the garden, often in a roji tea garden. They are often done in straight rectangular patterns with the flat stone arrangements uniquely and tightly fit together. Nobedan paths may look like flagstone but they are constructed with cobbles and thicker granite slabs and sometimes long, narrow rectangular pieces. 

Nobedan pavement can also be seen at large entranceways, near gates, and also evolve into larger full patios. They can can be very symmetric, tightly shaped together, or take on an artistic blend of straight lines with circular and irregular shaped stones as well.