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Stepping-stones provide an easy, attractive way to create a pathway across a lawn or through a garden. However, many people make the mistake of simply plopping down the stones, resulting in a wobbly, uneven walking surface.

To avoid this problem, lay out the stones in the desired pattern, making sure they're closely spaced so that anyone using the path can comfortably step from one to the next. Then, use a garden trowel to cut down into the sod around each stone, as illustrated. Move the stone out of the way and dig out the sod and soil to a depth equal to the thickness of the stone. Level out the ground, then flop the stone back into place. It should come to rest flush with the surrounding lawn.

If the soil is very hard or rocky, spread a couple inches of sand in the hole before setting the stone back in place. The sand bed will conform to the underside of the stone and help prevent it from wobbling.