Garden Walkways


Walkways of varying materials can be incorporated into your garden.  Of course we all need a way to get from our driveway to our front door, and the answer for that is to build a walkway.  This walkway, though fundamental and functional, can contribute nicely to a landscaped front yard.  But there are other walkways that can be added to the landscape for the sole purpose of enhancing the garden setting with a impactful contribution of charm and beauty.


Walkways can be included in the landscape as a means of getting from one point to another in the garden, thus becoming a part of the garden itself adding to its aesthetics and lending itself to creative flare.  Because this pathway too, needs to be practical in the sense that it must accommodate walkers, some basic rules apply regarding surface materials and their placement.


For instance, the surface must be safe to walk on with paving material lying flat and secure, and although pathways may meander through an overhead canopy of branches and are subject to outward spreading plantings lining either side, they should be kept clear of intruding branches and other debris.


There are many paving materials to choose from when installing a garden walkway including cut stone, crushed stone, brick, wood, wood chips, gravel, mulch, and grass.  And these, leading through a garden, can be surrounded by various mediums as well, such as mulch, stone, and rocks, which all work together to create a spectacular garden scene and experience.


If you cannot afford cut stone, settle for interlocking brick, or on an even stricter budget and for a more casual walkway, consider a less expensive and labour-intensive gravel, organic wood chip, or mulch pathway. Not only are these materials more cost effective, but you can save by constructing your walkway yourself and with the added benefit of a lot less restriction in its design.


Begin your pathway by staking out its borders.  Use a garden hose to mark them out, flexing it till you get the curves and angles you want.  Remove the sod and dirt to a depth of three inches and cover with 6mm. clear plastic to assure that no weed can put down roots.  If going with pea gravel, use 3/8 inch stone and keep it, mulch, or wood chips contained by edging your pathway with plastic or metal in-ground border or go for a decorative brick, stone, or treated wood border.  Not only will it keep your pathway neat, it will add to its design.


An additional option for a cost-effective, do-it-yourself version is a loose fitting stepping-stone flagstone garden walkway.  This pathway can be constructed in the same manner as the gravel pathway with flagstones laid in amongst the gravel.  Alternately, stones can be placed directly within the grass for an even more informal look.  Still another option is to forego the plastic underlay, prep with a two inch layer of sand, place stones, fill spaces between stones with soil, and plant ground cover.  Good choices are those that do well underfoot such as Brass Buttons, Creeping Thyme, Sedum, Blue Star Creeper, and Creeping Mazus.


If you like the look of a stepping-stone pathway, but prefer something more refined, incorporate round or square colored and textured pre-cast concrete patio stones into your design. You are not limited.  You can put your creative thinking to the test to develop a pathway through your garden that suits your style.


Once your walkway is in, add plantings along its length to soften the edges and enhance the beauty of your meandering path.  Whether it leads through an open and vast myriad of trees, shrubs, and perennial gardens, or is restricted to a smaller private setting, it is sure to beckon its viewers to come stroll it, and to more fully appreciate and enjoy its lovely surroundings.




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