Claire JonesHow to layout, cut & install a paved labyrinth

After designing the paved labyrinth, the next step is to prepare a level area and then there is the all important very accurate cutting of the stones and correctly laying out the pattern. After locating all utilities and getting necessary covenant permission, we were ready to go. First up was removing all plant material and grading of the site with heavy equipment. It was necessary to level a space large enough for the labyrinth to be placed and a retaining wall to be built into the hillside.

The cut labyrinth paving stones laid out

The cut labyrinth paving stones laid out

 

Once the soil was graded, you could clearly see where the wall was going to be built of boulders. Measuring 45 feet long and 2 feet thick (13.7m x 600mm), varying from 2 to 2.5 feet high (500-750mm) along its length, we used large boulders of Pennsylvania Field Stone.

Grading the site

Grading the site

 

I designed the curve to embrace the area of the labyrinth, so you felt that you were in a special enclosed space. Using dry laid technique, the wall was completed in 4 to 5 days. Then we were ready to start on the flat work of the labyrinth.

Stone mason taking a breather

Stone mason taking a breather

Trenching for the electrical conduit

Trenching for the electrical conduit

 

Once the wall was finished and before we started the labyrinth itself, it was time to stub out the electrical in conduit. For the Heart Space of the labyrinth, we needed electricity for the pump to run for the boulder fountain.

Marking out the labyrinth perimeter on the black landscape cloth

Marking out the labyrinth perimeter on the black landscape cloth

 

Preparing the Flat Area

Once the wall was completed, the flat area was graded level with a slight slope towards the lane for drainage. It was power tamped with gravel laid on top. The next layer was the black landscape fabric pinned in place. Topping it all off was the white template pinned to the ground.

The white fabric with drawn template showing placement for every stone

The white fabric with drawn template showing placement for every stone

 

The most important part of the job was getting the base properly prepared and power tamped so that the stones would not shift. The base was composed of tamped soil, tamped gravel, black landscape cloth, and topped off with the template for placement of the stones.

Cut stone labyrinth turns placed over the drawn template layout

Cut stone labyrinth turns placed over the drawn template layout

The stone mason's template for cutting the turn

The stone mason’s template for cutting the turn

 

Hard Work – Cutting

The hard work of cutting and fitting the bluestone began. My stone mason made numbered templates of all the curves in the labyrinth so that he could cut the stone precisely. Every piece of stone that was used had to be hand cut with a diamond tipped stone saw blade which was a very time consuming task.

0581

 

Putting it all together

Every stone was cut to size and placed on the template in position. Once each stone was fitted together, stone dust had to be placed under each piece and tamped. Because bluestone is a natural stone, each piece of stone varied in thickness, and each piece had to be individually placed and leveled.

005-3

Laying out the cut stones over the design template

The cut labyrinth paving stones laid out

The cut labyrinth paving stones laid out

 

Filler

To make the lines stand out against the blue-grey color of the bluestone, a dark charcoal grey gravel was placed in between the stones. A metal edge that would not rust was inserted around the perimeter of the labyrinth, and staked to keep everything stable.

Metal edging holds in the contrasting dark gravel infill

Metal edging holds in the contrasting dark gravel infill

 

Attributes

This 24 foot (7.3m) diameter labyrinth can give a walker a long and comfortable journey. The total distance for walking is 439 foot (134m) which is phenomenal considering the total space we had to work with. The width of the walking path is 20 inches (500mm) which is plenty wide for a single walker. This design can also accommodate multiple walkers if need be.

 

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Claire Jones

About Claire Jones

I am a 'down to earth' gardener in Maryland, with perpetually dirty fingernails. I own a whole wardrobe of well worn and comfortable gardening duds and I am a sucker for gardening gadgets galore! I love to blog about the gardening world, its fads and trends and have personally killed most plants at least once. I am a garden designer by profession (see Claire Jones Landscapes) but there is no rhyme or reason to my own garden. If I want a plant, I buy and stick it somewhere just because I 'need' it! Gardening is my passion and I find it leads you to other interests, such as cooking, entertaining, decorating, and flower arranging. You can also follow my blog at The Garden Diaries.

One thought on “How to layout, cut & install a paved labyrinth

  1. steven on said:

    Thanks Claire. I really enjoyed reading your articles about your designing and construction journey with the labyrinth. I was recently involved in a labyrinth project undertaken by a very talented and patient designer/stonemason/artisan. It was quite amazing for me to watch it all come together and then to see it being used, so I can imagine the enjoyment you must have felt during such a special project. Once again, thanks for sharing your experiences.
    Cheers, Steven

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