How Can You Safely Prevent Slips On Your Backyard Stone Pathway This Winter?

Posted on: 28 October 2015


Backyard stone pathways can get very slippery in winter, partly because the surface is uneven and that can make them difficult to shovel. Unfortunately, having a slippery pathway can make you liable for any injuries that occur from slips and falls. If you're hoping to use your backyard stone pathway this winter and want to ensure that it's safe for you, your visitors and loved ones, these tips will help.


Many homeowners turn to salt to melt ice and prevent walkways from becoming too slippery. The reason that some types of salt won't work for your backyard is because salt can be damaging to plants and landscapes. If you choose to use deicing salt in your backyard, be careful to pick the right product. The following two types of deicing salts are safe for use around vegetation:

  • Potassium chloride. Potassium chloride will melt ice down to temperatures of 15 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that this is not a good product to use if your winters typically get very cold.
  • Magnesium chloride. Magnesium chloride will melt ice down to temperatures of negative 13 degrees Fahrenheit.


Ashes can help melt the ice on your backyard pathway. Unlike salt, ashes won't dissolve or break down, they help add traction to slippery surfaces, and are available for free if you have a fireplace. Ashes are also entirely natural and will not harm vegetation.


Although it doesn't melt ice at all, sand provides excellent traction on ice and it's entirely natural. This means that you won't need to worry about it poisoning your vegetation. Spread sand on your icy pathway when weather outside is too cold for salt to melt the snow. Just be sure to keep spreading it as ice builds up on top of old layers of sand, otherwise your walkways will still be slippery, and that presents a danger to others.


Of course shoveling is one of the best ways to keep any walkway clear and safe, but shoveling your backyard stone pathway can be a little different from shoveling your front sidewalk. It can be tough to shovel snow on an uneven surface like stone pavers. Use a lightweight plastic shovel to make the job more manageable. Avoid using a shovel that's wider than the pathway stones because the edges of the shovel can become caught on the grass between the pavers. If you're worried about accidentally digging up an adjacent flower bed (which can be a problem in the backyard), stick stakes or flags at the edge of the stone walkway so you'll be able to see where the walkway ends.

Putting forward your best effort to keep your backyard pathway shoveled helps protect you from lawsuits. However, accidents happen all the time. If an accident occurs on your property, it's important to have access to a legal professional who understands your case and how to protect you. Call a reputable slip and fall attorney like Putnam Lieb for more information.