Step by step: take Japanese steps

Step by step: take Japanese steps

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Japan enjoys a rainy and very humid climate, for this reason water is very present in Japanese gardens. Also, the Japanese have the habit of laying stones to cross delicate passages, and when we know the beauty of their gardens, it is not surprising that this image of "Japanese steps" has come down to us. The aesthetic aspect conferred by these pretty rounded stones in a garden invites us to walk according to their rhythm. However, they should be avoided on busy roads, because of their irregular shape and their spacing which cannot be adapted to all, they do not lend themselves to this use. On the other hand, they will guide the visitor through a garden, enhance certain parts, underline and draw harmonious lines and curves, or simply improve the crossing of a wet passage. The arrangement of the stones is important, both for the visual aspect and for the functional aspect between which it is necessary to try to find a compromise. Visually, it is better to slightly shift each stone from the previous one relative to the central axis. Which is perfect, since functionally it also corresponds to our footprints - except in the models - the legs slightly apart. For the choice of stones, it is above all a matter of taste. However, they will integrate all the better in the landscape that they will be more discreet. Their shape must be practical for use. It is preferable to opt for flat stones, large enough to comfortably set foot on, non-slippery and with rounded edges. Neither should they be too bulging at the risk of unbalancing the walker, nor too hollow for the same reasons, but also to prevent them from forming pools of water in their center. As for stones that are too symmetrical, they do not have a natural look, nevertheless they can be used when looking for a particular effect, such as completely paving an alley by juxtaposing the stones like a stained glass window. For creatives, there are a multitude of forms and ways to arrange them, the only real limit will be that of your imagination, and your wallet ...
Difficulty: easy Cost : on average from 5 to 15 € per stone in garden center, even more depending on model Tools required : - a spade - a garden hose or a rope - a knife - a brush Optional : - sand

Step 1: Think about the journey

To define the ideal location for the stones, take the passage as if the stones were not there. Ignore their presence and travel normally to your destination. Perform the course several times to be sure to pass the same place each time.
Where you have walked, place a cord or a garden hose in the axis of your steps so as to materialize the path. If you only have a few stones to lay, this is not necessary, but if you want to create a long aisle and a very regular curve, you must be careful to pay close attention to this step.

Step 2: Arrange your stones

Now that you know what your path is, place the stones on the ground along the axis.
And start again by walking on it to define their spacing.
The spacing of the stones is adjusted, refine their position and take care of the aesthetics.

Step 3: Cut around the stones

Now remove the top layer of grass to bury the base of the stones. Using the spade, cut this layer by pushing the spade vertically 5 cm deep.
If your soil is very loose and without stones, you can cut it with a knife, but it is a little longer…
Once the tour is complete, remove the stone and gently remove the layer of grass by sliding the spade from below.
The layer comes more or else depending on the type of grass and / or soil.

Step 4: Place the stone

If the stone does not come in the first time, make the necessary adjustments.
The stone should protrude slightly from the ground, a few millimeters. Too deep, it will create a water reservoir, too much out, it could trip or hinder the passage of the mower.
Once the seat of the stone is well established and the height adjusted, use the knife to scratch the bottom of the site, so that the stone comes to rest on its entire surface by compacting the soil. If your soil is too stony or rocky, it is better to deposit a layer of sand a few centimeters at the bottom. In this case, it will be necessary to dig deeper and remove the rocks which could prevent the stone from resting uniformly on the ground.

Step 5: Fill in the gaps

Inevitably, the edge of the spade being straight, it will not have perfectly matched the contours of the stone.
Fill the gaps with soil and tamp down.

Step 6: Clean

Once all the stones have been placed, you can pass the brush to remove the dirt.

Step 7: Contemplate your steps, it's over

From a very subjective point of view, the greatest reward ...
… Is that impression that the stones have always been there.


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  2. Bay

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