Planning A Garden Path

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Garden paths are a great strategy when you’re trying to create zones and efficient traffic flow an outdoor space just as you would in an interior. A garden path can also help you to direct foot traffic around your property in general. The elements that are included when planning a garden path complement the visual effects of your home, helping to tie the design elements, and colors that you love together.  Including the materials that are long lasting, and have a fresh look for your springtime goals all year around is the best approach. And it’s easy to accomplish!

Garden path elements to consider

Here’s a list of features you may want to include when you’re thinking about garden paths, and about your outdoor living space in general.

Pavers that provide foot traffic flow with style

Quality garden pavers come in many different types of shapes, colors and sizes. The beauty of creating a garden path is that many of these materials can be combined to create a unique walking surface. The nice thing about combining elements is that the “imperfect” nature that garden paths can take adds character and charm. This can include tumbled or brushed paver surfaces that suggest a well-worn, lived in appearance.

Borders for garden beds

Tasteful borders along your garden path make a decorative means of separating garden beds from established walkways. It also makes trimming and landscaping easier with the elimination of an edger, and use of a weed whacker instead. Borders create a nice buffer between hard-scape and soft-scape surface, which is a great way to have a diverse collection of plants, stones, and other accessorizing elements.

Colorful floral species to flank your path

The right choices in local flora will create the kind of contrast between all of the surfaces in your outdoor living space that bring visual variety; the lush greenery against the tasteful stonework of your path, in turn in contrast to, say, a wood deck or interlocked deck tiles. Make sure to look at the level of sun that the plants need, so that you can place them in a good spot along your path.

Grasses between the garden path stones

Planting short grasses in between stones can also be a nice touch. Adding grasses to your path can always provide a nice and soft touch that contrasts the harder surfaces of stonework. Think back to castles and old pathways that offer a romantic and lively touch. Grasses such as perennial fountain grass provides a large fluffy and billowy look that needs very little maintenance.

Garden art & water features

This is a tasteful element that you can add to your path by having nice little touches throughout the walk. Examples of garden art can include fountains and other water features like aquatic plant water features in urns, concrete sculptures, flags, bird baths, and decorative seating areas like stone or wood benches, depending on the size of your path.

Garden furniture & structures

Sometimes, the most important thing a garden path can do is provide a little journey to a comfortable destination on your property for your and for your visitors. Creating a sheltered area for garden furniture, perhaps including a smaller scale patio away from a main deck and connected by your garden path can add character and continuity to your outdoor living space.

Sheltering structures like pergolas, complete with creeping vines for natural canopies can allow you to enjoy sitting in a sheltered patio with that book, or with that glass of wine, whether when enjoying those May flowers, or feeling cosy in those April showers.

Garden path lighting

When entertaining at night,  you can dress up your path will lights that will help to set a mood that is ideal for guests and springtime evening gatherings.

Getting your garden path plan together

Garden path plans come in a variety of forms, like that of an English garden type of look that tend to have curves, cutouts and sometimes stairs. Other plans include more 90° angles. It depends on your taste, and of course the shape of the outdoor space you’re working with.

Begin the measuring process of the whole space with your trusty tape measure, and decide which areas will be taken up by the path, and by where the path will direct foot traffic. Determine which elements of your space is immovable, and how the course of your path will be in relation to them.  This will help you to determine how much square footage you’ll need to cover with paving stones or pea gravel, as well as considerations like how wide you want your garden path to be.

Garden path materials options

Next, you need to pick out your materials. You can obtain free samples from retailers such as BuildDirect to help make your decision. This is the fun part, and you are able to pick and choose all of the supplies that you will use during this project. Keeping in line with the springtime theme, you can choose natural stone, which comes in natural colors including slate, reds and earthy browns. There are also many different types of stone that can used including:

  • Mulch
  • Cobblestone
  • Flat stone pavers
  • Slump stone
  • Loose stone such as gravel, or pea stone
  • Veneer-covered concrete

The nice part with the stone choices is that they can be mixed and matched for visual pop, and the border pieces available can either match or contrast the flat piece choices.

Garden paths define your property

Garden paths are intended to create a focal point when it comes to foot traffic in your yard that also provides a welcoming atmosphere for you and your visitors. Installing a hard-scape surface in your can be a great way to connect your interior to the outdoors, and in turn from your main deck to other areas of your outdoor space.

There are practical considerations here in terms of keeping visiting children out of sensitive areas of your property, like garden beds and seeded grass areas for instance. But, a great advantage of a well-planned garden path is about visual continuity. When a design element covers both the practical and the aesthetic, you know it’s a great investment, and a great way to raise the value of a property in all kinds of ways.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.