Leaf Stepping-Stones

Use real leaves to shape these easy pour-in-place concrete stepping-stones.

Hi, I'm Kelly Rawlings, editor of Do-It-Yourself Magazine. I've got a great outdoor project to share with you. Join me in the garden and let's get started. Today, let's see how to make naturally beautiful stepping stones. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to create these leaf-shaped stepping stones. We use rhubarb leaves which are easy to find at a farmer's market, or you can use large hosta leaves. Best of all, this is a project anybody can do in a single afternoon. Plan the path. Mark the placement of each stepping stone using a leaf as a guide. Place the stones about one stride apart onto your flat ground, or closer together on rough terrain. Dig the hole. Use a trowel to cut around the outline of the leaf in the soil. Dig the hole about 4 inches deep. Use your hands to press and shape the edges of the hole. Tamp down the dirt. Flatten the dirt to form a level surface for the stone. Pour gravel in the hole. The gravel should be about one inch deep. Pour sand in the hole. The sand should be about one inch deep. Use your hands to tamp down the sand. Mix the concrete. One 50-pound bag of cement mix makes about two stepping stones. Pour half the bag in the wheelbarrow and mix with water. Use the shovel to scoop and turn the mixture until it's evenly moist, firm but still workable. Shovel the concrete into the hole. Work quickly to fill the hole evenly with concrete. Shape the stone. Press and mold the wet concrete following the contour of the hole. Press and push the edges as needed to make it look more like a leaf. Add the detail. Place the leaf, vein side down on the concrete and press it into the surface. Let the concrete cure. Cover the leaf and concrete with burlap or plastic wrap, and allow the concrete to dry overnight. Remove the leaf after the concrete has dried. Use water to rip away the leaf, or just let it happen naturally. And there you have it. Beautiful stepping stones that you've made yourself.