13 Gravel Walkway Ideas to Welcome Guests Into Your Garden

dwarf arborvitae and ivy in enclosed garden
Photo: Matthew Benson

Something about the sound of crunching gravel signals that it's time to relax. Winding through your garden or around the side of your house, these non-paved pathways offer formal appeal or relaxed charm—it all depends on how you design them. Chart your own course with these gorgeous gravel sidewalk ideas.

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Show the Way

gravel path to large home
Dana Gallagher

Pea gravel paths are easier to maintain than grass, though they require regular weeding. This gravel path begins outside the natural twig fence, showing guests exactly where to enter the garden. It creates a straight breezeway to the outdoor living space, welcoming passersby beyond the gate.

02 of 13

Bring in Texture With Stone

gravel pathway garden scrubs
Laurie Black

This gravel path uses various sizes of rocks to add texture and definition. While this path is edged with planting beds, you can also use this method for a path that cuts through turfgrass. The strip of larger rocks will keep the smaller gravel out of the lawn, saving you from potential damage to your lawn mower.

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Introduce Unexpected Color

gravel path through garden with rocks
Kindra Clineff

Most gravel paths are beige or tan, but this garden embraces charcoal-colored gravel instead. The dark color stands out amongst lighter boulders and bright green plants, giving the space a sleek, clean appearance.

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Create Access Points

gravel path through garden of wild flowers
Bob Stefko

A gravel path doesn't need to be extravagant. If you have a country garden or prairie, just make the path wide enough for one person. You can reach the plants if you need to—most native prairie plants don't require much maintenance—but you aren't taking up precious planting space with walkways.

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Redirect Foot Traffic

dog on deck gravel path with stepping stones
Michael Garland

Why not create a stone path for every gate? It looks attractive—and protects your lawn. In this yard, the stone pavers are perfectly spaced for people to walk on, while the gravel makes way for four-legged friends. Pets can create patches of dead grass or mud when they run over the lawn again and again—gravel gives them a path to safely tread.

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Create a Stone Border

stone edging in garden with yellow bench
Richard Felber

Gravel pathways are big on character but low on maintenance. Here, stone edging makes them even easier to care for: The border keeps gravel out of the planting areas but doesn't detract from the informal look. Surrounded by colorful plantings, the path makes it easy to connect with nature without disturbing the scenery.

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Add Curves

gravel path curving around rock garden
Stephen Cridland

As it snakes alongside outcroppings, this winding path helps connect the rock garden to the lawn, while also acting as a buffer between them. The casual curve of the pathway brings a relaxed feeling to the landscape. Gravel is easy to install and maintain, and plastic edging, as on this walkway, is an ideal border, since it's both durable and flexible.

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Incorporate Interest Points

garden with natural shapes and greenery
Stephen Cridland

One of the great things about gravel pathways is that they don't have to follow a specific route or adhere to a certain shape. This garden encourages meandering with a gravel path that includes both wide spots and points of interest, allowing guests to choose their own route through the garden. Beautiful greenery hangs over portions of the walkway to make visitors feel as if they are right in the heart of the garden.

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Bring in River Rocks


Give your path relaxed appeal with a few informal curves and a frame made of randomly sized rocks. Here, smooth river rocks edge the path, with the different sizes and shapes enhancing the casual charm. The narrow pathway moves guests through the garden to the archway beyond.

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Go Natural


Gravel pathways can blend right in with nature, looking as much a part of the outdoors as the plants themselves. This rustic-looking path has plants growing over the edges to mimic a walk through the woods. For a more earthy appeal in your landscape, forgo the edging and make the path look as though it was always meant to be there with mature, overhanging plantings.

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Embrace Symmetry

formal garden with boxwood and gravel
Michael Jensen

Gravel may seem casual, but it can actually work well in a formal garden. Here, well-maintained boxwood hedges form the edges for the gravel path, lending grand appeal to this outdoor space, complete with straight lines and strict symmetry. The path leads visitors around the fountain and underneath the pergola, inviting them to enjoy the grounds.

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Flank the Entrance

spheres indicating entrance to garden
Helen Norman

Although this garden path is narrow, it can't be missed, thanks to two concrete spheres perched on either side of the entrance. These decorative sentinels keep the path from getting lost amidst the intentionally unkempt garden.

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Delineate Garden Beds

dwarf arborvitae and ivy in enclosed garden
Matthew Benson

Gravel walkways make it simple to delineate beds. Here, a variety of plants frame the walkway, adding texture and visual interest to the otherwise straight lines and formal edging.

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