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Gardens come in many shapes and styles. Every country and culture has a garden style tradition very much its own; from zen Japanese arrangements to harmonious Chinese gardens; from formal French gardens to the cultivated wildness of English grounds. But whatever your preference, all these gardens have one thing in common: pathways to guide visitors through.

Why add paths?

Obviously, the gardens at Versailles or a large park around an English manor will require paths to let people walk through them. But I doubt your backyard has the size of these gardens, so why add a path to even a regular-sized backyard?

Adding a path has several uses. The first is to keep your feet clean as you walk around the garden. It’s not something that bothers everyone, but for some people it makes a huge difference between not going outside at all and enjoying the outdoors more, even if it’s just behind the house.

A path also serves as an internal boundary to break up big sections of garden into smaller ones. This way, your garden doesn’t look like a big blob of green but rather an organized and thoughtful whole.

Paths can add to the beauty and organization of your garden if they are planned as part of the garden design. In the Feng Shui tradition, a well-planned garden path serves to channel good chi from nature and to bring it into your home. Let’s have a look at some enchanting examples of wooden garden pathways.

Beautiful wooden pathways

Wooden pathways are used on beaches, where they guide bathers to the sand. This beach-style garden uses this idea beautifully.

The gentle curve reminds you of the ocean, while you’re surrounded by beachside plants. The dark color contrasts with the pale sand, giving the whole a sense of peace.

The path in this example provides structure to what would otherwise seem like untamed backyard wildness. The steps take you from the patio to different areas of the garden. It’s a clever way to deal with different elevations in your backyard.

This peaceful bamboo garden features a path made of wood kept in its natural shade. I love the addition of the flower bed on the patio space at the bottom. The large old tree makes a striking contrast to the thin bamboo. This seems like the perfect low-maintenance garden!

Speaking of Japanese gardens, here’s an example of one in a small urban space. It features the traditional water well and a smart wooden path used on the diagonal to make better use of the space. This is a modest yet inspiring garden.

Here’s an interesting take on the wooden pathway: the wooden harbor. This winter photo makes it seem a bit bleak, but imagine it in summer with the climbing plants in bloom and green forest all around. You can hang flower pots to the side and walk under the shade of vines. How romantic!

For a more creative take on the garden pathway, why not join wood with a mosaic? It breaks the monotony of a single type of path and lets you enjoy some unexpected twists and turns. I love how the wood seems to lead in a shadier, more lush area while the mosaic is featured in a more open space.

Feeling more rustic? Take a look at this tree trunk and old wood plank pathway. There’s a feeling a path treaded by hundreds of feet, and yet the impression that you will take a new journey each time you walk up these trunks.

What about your garden?

Is there a path in your garden or do you keep a lawn all over? What ideas here appeal to you?

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.