Continue on by filling your wheelbarrow with material for the borders, and dump it near the site. I collected bricks that had accumulated around the house and the lawn over the years for different borders, and biggish round river stones from a failed herb garden. (Bricks and stone are heavy and can be expensive, so the lazy way is to re-use them wherever possible.)

Also have ready a roll of weed blocker fabric (alas, petroleum-based) and a bag or two of fabric pegs. (These pegs are petroleum-based, too, but unlike wood pegs or metal staples, they will not rot or rust.) You will also need something sharp to cut the fabric, a trowel, a shovel, a push broom, and ideally an old stubby kitchen broom.

Now lay a double layer of weed-blocker along the compressed soil of the path, pegged down as needed. Although we are cutting and pinning fabric, we aren’t talking couture, here; the goal is to cover the soil completely with the least expense in materials and time. Although this path will be curved, the fabric beneath can be laid straight; the curve will be added when the borders are laid down; cutting plastic fabric into curves with the cheap scissors I have is work, so I avoid it. (A longer curved path would be approximated with short straight segments of fabric.)

Next put down a pleasing arrangement of bricks or stones along the edges of the path. Use your garden trowel to dig the earth level if need be. Make sure the bricks touch end-to-end, and jam them into the soil, keep the whole line more or less at a level. Precision is not important, perhaps not even desirable — the eye delights in mild irregularity — but any huge changes in grade mean the path needs to be rethought (and you should have noticed the problem while laying down the fabric).

[It looks like I misnumbered the illustrations in Skitch. Well, I’m too lazy to redo them now!]

Now for the stone dust! Having gotten a wheelbarrow full of it (not shown), begin by handling the border. The goal of the fabric is to prevent the intrusion of plant life from beneath the path. Here, our goal is to prevent plant life from infiltrating from the beds beyond the borders, or from setting seed in cracks between the bricks. To do this, we take advantage of stone dust’s character as a liquid: Pour it, and it will fill any crack. Better, stone dust seems to compress or cake after being moistened, sealing between the bricks, but also between the bricks and the beds. So, first slop stone dust generously along the borders, filling all the cracks, and making sure all the fabric on the bed side of the border is covered.

Now use your wheelbarrow to dump several piles of stone dust onto the path proper. I was about to move the dust shovel by shovel into the path, as if I were mulching, but that was too much like work. So I dumped piles, and then leveled the piles out with the push broom (not shown).

Here is the beta version of the path, with the stone dust laid and leveled between the borders. First, level the stone dust with the push broom. Then, brush off the tops of the bricks with the stubby broom (not shown). Then, level the path again with the push broom. It’s rather like house-painting: Don’t leave brush marks. (Where possible, I stood on the bricks, not the beds. (Compressing the soil of a bed is bad.)

Finally, spray the path lightly with water. That will compact and cake the dust. Also, sweep the sidewalk if need be.

Tomorrow, we’ll clean up the path and maybe add some decorative features (unless it rains).

Total time: Three hours, including collecting the bricks and the rocks.