As we continue on with our “Home Garden Design in 14 Days” series it’s time to look at the humble garden path. This seemingly overlooked jewel of gardening design is a very important piece of infrastructure yet often it can be an afterthought.

The garden path is the vehicle for moving around your garden, so where it starts from and where it ends, what materials it’s constructed from and how it ties in with the rest of your garden are all important considerations. The path needs to be durable and constructed well in order to withstand years of heavy wheelbarrows, children’s bikes and the plethora of garden admirers who journey down them.

So that they’re not an afterthought, it’s best to consider them in your plan before you commence any construction. Here’s some tips to make the paths work in your garden…

The first consideration is where will the path start and end. In other words, what is it’s purpose? There are several possibilities. Here are some options;

  1. Leading from Point A to Point B – this is the obvious reason a path exists. Moving around your garden in the most efficient manner is through a pathway or series of paths.
  2. Labyrinth – this may depend on the size of your garden. A labyrinth takes a person from a starting point into the middle of a narrowing circle. The idea when planning one of these is to encourage visitors to “stop and smell the roses” on their journey.
  3. Creating some “Explore Lust” – this pathway may not have any practical purpose other than to draw your eye off into the distance or around a corner. In most cases, paths that try to achieve explore-lust are mainly practical and achieve both this purpose and #1.
  4. Create a boundary – borders for garden rooms or sections can sometimes be created by pathways.They delineate boundaries making a natural cut-off point.

So now you have an idea where you may place some pathways and the reasons for it, but what materials will you use for your paths? Check out a few here,

  • Bricks, pavers, slate, stones or pebbles
  • Organic material such as woodchips, pine bark and mulches
  • Concrete, roadbase or gravel
  • Synthetic materials like artificial turf or recycled rubbers
  • Stepping-stones
  • Polished broken glass
  • Wood sleepers
  • Lawns and their substitutes

Remember that pathways are another form of infrastructure and therefore can’t easily be changed. Therefore it pays to plan these into your design in the early stages rather than try and incorporate them afterwards.