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Walkways, Garden Pathways and Design

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The perspective of the garden lies on the walkways and garden pathways. The garden pathways or alleys are usually pictured for organizational goals, for getting from one point to another in the easiest potential way. In this post you will see how gorgeous pathways can be more than just functional and then read the guide to designing your own walkway and pathways. They can absolutely turn around the aesthetic value of a garden or outdoors. Let the creativity lead the way you choose yourselves, if you are planning to build your own pathway for your garden, and just forget the rules and do not be limited in the choices. To turn the garden into an original one, you can have any materials you like, from big rocks to bricks and wood planks. You can get an inspiration from the photos below. Whether you enjoy a mosaic-tiled design or a simple stone and a grass mix, there are several pattern ideas to start with. Remember that the design of the pathways and fresh colors of the flowers arrangements can enhance the beauty of the garden. Walkways and garden pathways are a key part of almost any landscape.

Landscape with Walkways

Landscape with Walkways

Design Walkway or Garden Path

Walkways and paths do not always get the attention they deserve, even if they are a part of almost any landscape. You must understand your options when designing a walkway or a path, since the way you design them can have a major impact on the landscape. Let us start v=by having a look at what walkways are all about.

What Are walkways? What Are They for?

The primary purpose of walkways is to give a sturdy surface to high traffic areas.  Without a walkway surface, foot traffic would erode the ground and eventually leave a path of dirt. Certainly, nobody likes a muddy path, but there are many other reasons to install a walkway.

Here are a few:

  • Define a border
  • Direct foot traffic in a preferred direction
  • Add visual interest to the landscape
  • Draw people into a garden or landscape

Materials to Design

There are several different materials to choose from when designing a walkway or path.  For main entrance and very high traffic walkways, use firm, subtle materials.  Materials like loose gravel and whimsical designs work well for garden paths, but do not usually work for main entranceways.

Please see some of the basic materials to choose from, but you can use almost any hardscape material to make a walkway.

Pea Stone and Other Aggregate Stone Materials

pea Stone Walkway

Pea Stone Walkway

Crushed stone, pea stone or similar aggregate stone materials are probably the cheapest way to get a landscaping surface into your yard.  The installation is easy, even for an inexperienced homeowner and the materials are inexpensive. It gives a very rustic look that fits well into casual designs.  To install it, you just need to remove five or more inches of dirt from the area, lay down landscape fabric and then back fill it with the stone. The benefits of this material are in the rustic feel of the stone, the ease of installation and the low cost of the materials.

Pavers

Pavers

Pavers

Pavers are a great all around patio surface for walkways (and patios too).  They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  Pavers are more expensive than pea stone, but they last longer and give a more formal appearance.  Pavers are difficult to install if you are inexperienced, but with some training, it is possible for a homeowner to install pavers successfully. The major benefit of pavers is the fine, smooth, finished look they give.  The major drawbacks are the high cost and the possibility of weeds growing in gaps.  Some homeowners also feel that pavers give an artificial look to outdoor surfaces.  This really depends on the design and mood you are trying to create.  Each year, better and more natural looking pavers are being created, so make sure you take a good look around before you make a decision.   If you are installing pavers, we suggest using polymeric sand to fill in the spaces between pavers.  Polymeric sand forms a tight bond when water is added that helps block weed growth.

Stamped Concrete

Stamped Concrete Walkway

Stamped Concrete Walkway

Stamped concrete can give the look of natural stone, but is much faster to install and does not leave room for weeds to grow between stones.  It is about the same price per square foot as pavers, but it is much more flexible.  You can create very natural looking or more formal looking designs by simply using different patterns. Professionals with the proper equipment can only do installation.   The major benefits are the flexibility of the style, the speed of install and the cost compared to natural stone.  The only real drawbacks are the cost when compared to gravel or pea stone and the possibility of cracking over time.

Natural stone

Natual Stone Pathway

Natural Stone Pathway

Natural stone is usually considered the most desirable of all landscape surfaces.  It is hard to beat the beauty of natural stone.  You can find stone to match almost any mood you are trying to create.  If you want your walkway or garden path to feel like its part of the landscape, then natural stone is your best choice.  Unfortunately, it is one of the most expensive surfaces to install.  The major benefits of natural stone are its beauty and natural look.  The drawbacks are primarily the high cost, weeds that may grow between stones and the shifting of stones that can happen over time creating uneven surfaces. Like pavers, natural stone is not easy to install if you have no experience, but with a little training (and a lot of sweat), it can be done by homeowners willing to put in the effort.  If you are installing a natural stone walkway, we suggest using polymeric sand to fill in the spaces between stones.  As with pavers, this will help keep down weeds.

Brick

Brick Walkway

Brick Walkway

Brick is another relatively inexpensive material for walkways and paths.  Depending on the pattern, bricks can create anything from a formal look to the most whimsical.  Do not feel restricted to the typical boring bricklaying patterns.  They are a little easier to install than pavers because of their size, and usually less expensive. Bricks share all of the other benefits and drawbacks as pavers, including weeds growing in the joints.  As with pavers, polymeric sand will help reduce weed growth.

Some Final Tips

Once you have chosen your material and pattern, you are ready to install.  Take time to decide on your material pattern, it will make a big difference in the look of your walkway.  Another trick to designing pathways is to use the edges of your surface to make a statement.  If you want to create a formal look, give your walkway crisp edges and leave the edges exposed.  If you want to create a lush, more romantic look, plant along your path and let the plants cover the edges of your walkway.  This gives the impression of the walkway “floating” through the landscape.

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