This month’s edition of The Garden Designers Roundtable is focusing on “getting from here to there”– or, for me, that means pathways and walkways! Unless you have a tiny garden, it’s really important to spend some time thinking about how you will get from one part of your garden to another. If you simply omit one and walk across your lawn or through your garden, you’ll beat down a pathway in time. Better to make it look intentional, right? What ever the style of your garden, or whatever design challenges your garden has, there is a perfect pathway for you! See if any of these strike your fancy:
What if you have a sloped lot? Take advantage of what could be a liability and turn it into a design feature! These oversized, limestone-edged landings are a creative way to traverse down to the lower part of your garden or property. Make sure the rock is mortared for safety–you don’t want them shifting on a slope and becoming unstable!
Gardeners with more contemporary spaces will want to consider a pathway made from formed concrete pavers. Oversized rectangles, perfectly aligned, create a clean, sophisticated entry for guests. Concrete can also be tinted to blend with the surrounding environment–I have a client who has dark slate grey pavers that look incredible.
If you’re looking for a more naturalistic approach, this could be a great option for you. Organically shaped flagstone set right into the ground, complemented by soft plantings like Berkeley sedge (Carex tumulicola) and topped off with decomposed granite. Make sure the flagstone pieces are 2″ thick for stability, and at least 18″ across to accommodate feet.
Environmentally-aware gardeners have a great option with pavers made from recycled tires! I haven’t yet used this product in a garden, but saw it at a flower and garden show. It was comfortable to stand and walk on, and felt stable underfoot.
Take advantage of long pathways by framing a view–this paver path leads up to and just around a planted birdbath, giving your eye something ornamental to rest upon.
If you have some space, create an island in the middle of a pathway–it’s a stunning focal point and really makes walking through your garden a lovely journey. Why not take advantage of every opportunity you have to create a view?
Got a long, narrow space? Use enlongated cut pavers nestled into gravel or small river rock. Admittedly, this is a bit more decorative than it is functional–after all, you can certainly walk well enough on simple gravel paths. I just like the textural variation here.
If you’re looking for a more industrial look, try using long diamond plate rectangles–this material is often used in the automotive industry, but also in other industries where traction is needed underfoot.
There are so many kinds of materials, styles, and construction ideas for pathways–first take into account your garden’s style and the look you’re going for, then choose your materials and keep safety in mind. Do you have a unique pathway that’s transformed your garden? I’d love it if you’d share it on my Facebook page!
Take a look at my colleagues’ posts on “getting from here to there”–I can’t wait to read them myself! A special welcome to our guest posters this month, Debra Prinzing and David Perry.