Glorious Garden Paths
Go for the Classic Look
Brick is the perfect material for creating a timeless look that matches just about any style.
Here's a hint: Look for old, worn bricks if you're going for a country or cottage look. Newer bricks are often better suited for contemporary or formal landscapes.
Run bricks, pavers, or other materials in a wavy pattern to create interest and give your pathway a sense of movement as you walk through the landscape.
Go with Gravel
Gravel can be a great material for a garden path, especially for gardeners who live in warm-weather climates so don't need to worry about shoveling snow. It drains quickly to keep your feet clean and dry. And gravel gives your garden a warm, natural look.
Match Your Architecture
A patchwork stone path perfectly complements the precise lines of this Craftsman-style house. Including subtle curves in the path ensures that visitors encounter a few little surprises as they wend their way to the door.
Keep Your Feet Dry
A path of simple flagstones through the garden not only adds style, but it also keeps your feet dry and reduces soil compaction as you walk through your landscape.
Be Environmentally Conscious
Traditional sidewalks can create issues with rain runoff -- the moisture can't penetrate the concrete so flows off. Allow water to seep into the ground by leaving space between your pavers for lawn or groundcovers.
Make your pathway a delight by tucking in a few fragrant plants around it. Be sure to include plants with fragrant foliage (such as lavender), which will release their aroma as you brush by them.
Keep It Safe
Soften the Edges
Ground-hugging plants soften the sharp edges of the stone pavers in this garden. Chartreuse-colored thyme between the stones contrasts with the blues of fescue and lavender spilling from the edge of the walkways.
Keep It Simple
Who says pathways have to be made from stone, brick, or other hard surfaces? The easiest pathway is a simple swath of grass.
Make It Look Natural
Add a few smooth rocks to a flagstone path to create a more natural look. The change in material also creates visual interest.
Try a Cover-Up
Large, rectangular pavers are set into river rock, concealing a French drain. (A French drain is a shallow trench that collects surface water and directs it away from an area such as home's foundation. The trench usually has loose materials and/or drainage pipe at the bottom to facilitate water flow.)
Curving lines please the eye more than straight lines. They also help an area, such as a narrow side yard, feel larger.
Get a grander look by playing tricks on the eye. For example, widen a path as it rounds a corner to make your yard feel bigger. Or if you have a long, straight path, design it to narrow slightly at the far end.
There's no rule that says your path has to be made from a single material. Give a walkway a sense of age by using old, broken bricks to close gaps between flagstones, for example. Or indicate a transition from one area to another by changing from bricks to pavers.
When using loose materials, such as gravel or mulch, for your paths, an edging keeps your path from spilling into your beds and borders, lawn, or driveway. Here, stones do the job nicely.
If you love the look of flagstone but find it's out of your budget, consider cement. Molds are available in a variety of irregular stonelike patterns. Mix in a little concrete dye and you can make it look like natural stone.
Garden paths don't have to be solid. Try using a series of stepping-stones that run through the lawn for a natural, informal look.
Test Garden Tip: Make mowing easy by sinking the top of your stepping-stones to soil level. That way you eliminate the need for edging.