The white line(s) are the chalk that will wash away eventually
I have wanted a labyrinth in my yard for several years but was always reluctant to put one in because I thought it would be expensive, difficult to mow around, and negatively impact resale value if and when I want to sell my house. It may be that not everyone would appreciate the opportunity for meditative walks.
Then at a retreat early in 2020 I met Paula Peace (peacescapes.net) who does labyrinths for people as part of her landscaping business. She locates the best sites for installations by dowsing, and helped me tune into my intuition to locate the ideal site on my property.
There are several references on Google to labyrinths as well, and I found a design there in the shape of a hexagon. I also found another story by someone who had done one for their mother using synthetic manilla rope and heavy duty wire staples they bent to specification themselves.
Now the project felt a lot more doable! Here’s step by step how I did it.
1. Using the hexagon pattern as a reference I drew 7 concentric circles representing diameters of 4’, 6’, 8’, 10’, 12’, 14’, and 16’. This gave me a path 2’ wide. Then I added the gaps and bars which define the path and its turns.
2. There are easy online ways to determine the circumference of a circle from its diameter. Figuring circumference for all 7 circles and adding them together gave me linear feet of rope I would need for the entire project. It worked out to 443’ for my 32’ diameter labyrinth. The rope came in 100’ lengths, so I bought 5 of them.
3. I studied the diagram and highlighted each separate run of rope, then numbered them, starting with the longest length. That helped later when I had to decide which stretch to do first. My theory was to work longest to shortest, though it didn’t actually work out that way.
4. I found a box of 200 sod staples online, enough to tack down the rope every 2 ½’ or so.
5. Using my intuition, I determined which direction the opening to the labyrinth should face. I live on a lake and the direction I set is toward my dock, or NW.
6. Borrowing my dog’s screw-in pivoting tie out stake, I tied a string to it and marked the diameters at the appropriate length from center.
7. I had planned on using marking chalk to lay out the design, and I did successfully mark 2 straight lines bisecting the circles vertically lined up with the center of the opening and horizontally at right angles to the first line. But the chalk ran out before I finished walking the circumference of the outer circle. Rather than buying a whole bunch more chalk I bought a 10 lb bag of flour and used that. It worked well, even if the dog tried his best to eat it before I moved him out of range. I walked each of the 7 circles drawing out the lines at 2’ intervals.
8. Using a whisk broom, I cleared the flour from the designated gaps, and added more flour where the bars were to be placed.
9. Now for the rope. First a note on cutting: I used Gorilla tape, but electrical tape would work as well. I wrapped the rope with enough tape to keep the ends from fraying while I was cutting, then made the cut through the tape using a reciprocating saw. Some people use loppers with success, but that didn’t work for me. After cutting I used a lighter to melt the ends as an additional precaution to prevent unraveling.
10. I first cut 5 lengths of 4’ each for the bars and tacked them in place. Then I tacked down the longest of the remaining lengths, which turned out to be 139’, the only one where I had to use more than one piece of rope. Then I did the center piece, followed by filling in with the rest.
Here is the material list and the tools I used:
· 1 ½” thick ProManilla rope, 5 bundles @ 100 feet & $250 + tax through Amazon - I used this thickness because my mower blade is set to 2 3/4", so theoretically I can mow right over it.
· Sod staples, one pack of 200 $55 + tax through Amazon
· Gorilla tape
Tools & Supplies:
· Tape measure
· Sharpie pen
· Reciprocating saw
· BBQ Lighter
· Whisk broom
This project was not that difficult, though as I write this, having completed it yesterday, my body is feeling the effects of all the up and down work that goes with stapling several hundred feet of rope and making the cuts. I love the finished project and look forward to many meditative walks, as well as sharing it with the neighborhood and guests.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. If I can help you figure out your own project I will be happy to.
View from the center