Style, Function, and Low Maintenance: The Perks to Paths and Walkways

A garden is not complete without paths and walkways. These decorative areas offer a beautiful focal point, while also saving wear and tear on your garden! When properly planned and installed, pathways are affordable and full of benefits.

paths and walkways

A Crushed Stone Garden Path
Photo by daphneann

Have you ever been in someone’s yard and wondered how to get from where you currently stand, to another location without stomping over any bushes or getting your sneakers muddied up in the wet grass? Without paths and walkways, a garden is incomplete—leaving visitors unsure how to get around. While this is bad news for your plants and grasses that are sure to get stepped on, this also means that your yard is lacking that extra pop of style that a pathway will add.

Reasons to use Garden Walkways

Although commonly forgotten, there are a number of reasons to use paths and walkwaysthroughout your landscaping. For starters, if garden visitors have no place to walk, they will tromp over your flowers, and stomp through your bushes. On the other hand, with a walkway conveniently accessible, your plants receive less unnecessary strain. Another reason to create a pathway is to add an air of mystique. Pathways lead somewhere, and invite the visitor to explore. Opportune indeed, walkways are also an easy way to add detail and style to your garden. Unlike plants or grass, many paths require little to no maintenance on your part—you don’t have to water or fertilize concrete! To some the thought of pouring concrete is enough to forget the idea of a pathway altogether, but there are many other ways to create walkways, most of which can be done with your own hands, based off of your own creativity, and at extremely affordable prices.

Picking the Right Pathway

Garden Paths and Walkway

A Simple Walkway Using Stepping Stones
Photo by LenaCorazon

There are a number of things to take into consideration when planning any garden paths. For starters, not all paths are going to take the same amount of wear and tear. Some will be destroyed easily, and others could outlive you! Although as expected, durability, among other factors, contributes to the cost, but it is not universal by any means.  In order to get the most out of your money and your pathway, estimate how often a certain path will be used. For more popular terrains, pick a durable, long lasting ground covering such as concrete, or for less money, try gravel. The Family Handy Man suggests that you, “…choose crushed stone rather than smooth pebbles. The jagged edges of crushed stone lock together to form a firm surface. Crushed stone is also less likely to get kicked out into the yard.” If your pathways are regularly frequented, bark or other materials that easily get knocked out of place can create more work for you. For more tips on how to create affordable paths using your own two hands, check out The Handy Man’s rather detailed blog on the matter.

For the paths less traveled, materials that are not as durable will do. Still, even wild life scampering across can create quite a mess when your pebbles spray out everywhere at the slightest bit of movement. By building a border around your walkway, you can prevent some of the smaller stones from escaping. Use bricks or other materials that have some height as a fence of sorts to keep your pathway from entering the garden.

Function Over Preference

So you might have your heart set on a certain pathway, but make sure that this wish is as practical as it is attractive.  Paths in the garden must work in a functional manner, getting you and your guests from point A to point B, without any added thought process or footsteps! You can create all of the connective paths you wish from the swimming pool to the rose garden and back to the swinging hammock, but if you have to go on a hunt to find the walkway, it’s not going to get used as frequently as you had in mind. Sure, maybe you will walk the extra steps to get there in the beginning, but after a while even you will burn out on using a particular path if it’s not convenient. Just like building a home, you can’t start with one room and then pan out—plan the entire space first to incur the greatest results.

Walkways create style. Depending on how you set them up they can bring a whole new look to your yard. HGTV even goes as far as to say, any garden can be made into a masculine space with the proper installation of paths and walkways! Look at images online or drive through neighborhoods that inspire you. Do whatever you need to get the ideas churning—next thing you know you’ll feel like you have a whole new garden to awe over—simply by adding a few key paths!

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