GARDEN PATHS: THE ONLY RIGHT PATH TO WALK ON

Barack Obama once said “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” In the gardening world, this quote becomes handy for the beginners. It’s not necessarily about choosing a right path in life but about choosing a right path for your home garden like balcony garden , Terrace garden also.  Hence, a landscape garden design should also be about choosing the right garden path apart from choosing the right plants. A garden path that would suit your home design is important because it provides a suitable surface for walking besides being an architectural feature and a piece of beauty.

Steve Rodie, a landscape horticulture specialist says that whatever its use, a well-designed and well-built path will enhance the liveability and functionality of any home garden. Garden paths usually should run from one point to another in bold, graceful curves and should be as few as possible. It’s important that a path merges in the surroundings and is not too high or low from the adjoining ground. It can be 90 or 120 cm but never less than 60 cm. A few things that one would require for building a garden path are: gravels, bricks, crazy paving, paving stones and sometimes concrete paving.

If you feel like your home decor might not be enough to serve as an enticing invitation to visitors then your backyard with a new garden path can sure solve this problem. A garden path’s importance can also be seen in the way that it provides a convenient route for plant maintenance. For all these reasons and much more, here is a list of easy and creative garden paths that one can invest their time and energy in:

  • Gravel Path– Using small boulders topped with colourful gravels can provide a beautiful contrast with the green plants. It’s advisable to use small angular stones as they can lock together and provide a stable surface to walk on. This however is an inorganic pathway that would not improve the soil and might need to be weeded occasionally. Nevertheless, it’s an inexpensive pathway with good drainage that won’t disrupt plant’s roots and is low maintenance.
  • Stone Path– The best part about creating a stone paving is that stones can be found in varying shapes and in many natural hues that can suit your garden. Using stones and mulch together for this kind of path is also a good blend. Stones that are large in size can be set at a distance along which walking is comfortable. Even though mulch needs to be replenished every year and pavers may shift over time, a stone path still stands as a strong option for a moderate-use garden. 
  • Brick Path– This kind of path is best suited for heavy use of the garden and it always succeeds in giving a formal, classy touch to your garden. It’s considered better to join the broken bricks in an irregular way to make it look funky and attractive. One tip for creating a brick path is to surround it with a formal edge so it doesn’t shift. However, it’s a slightly expensive option and placing pavers on bare soil might lead to poor drainage. To avoid this problem, construct a solid, well-drained level base from sand or gravel.
  • Grass Path– if you’re a morning or an evening stroller then grass paths should be your match made in heaven. The most attractive and desirable grass paths can be made out of turfs. Not to deny, a grass path requires heavy maintenance and ample of sun and space but it looks great when it’s tidy. Moreover, it’s the most comfortable walking surface and once you start walking on grass barefoot, you would never want to go back to wearing footwear.
  • Wood mulch Path– this is an all easy and natural path which also reuses the wood cuttings in variety of ways. Using bark or wood chips can create a few problems; hence going for shredded mulch which stays in place is much better. Wood mulch requires regular replenishing but you can’t go wrong with this inexpensive path which rejuvenates the soil. In addition to this, 3 solid inches of mulch blocks most weeds. This path is best suited for low-traffic areas.
  • Crazy Paving– as the name suggests, this path is completely out of the world as it uses varying kinds of gardening materials in not a set pattern. This is a best DIY project for people who like blowing things out of proportion when it comes to gardening. Crazy pavings include using stones of irregular shapes and of different sizes. An unexpected material that can be used in creating a crazy paving is river stones in natural colours and shapes only if they are properly embedded in sand or soil.

Apart from these, other materials like rolled red soil, paver blocks, broken tiles etc can also help in building of your personalized garden paths. A few small landscape garden ideas that one can keep in mind while designing a garden path are:

  • To create visual interest between stones, one can opt for ground-hugging plants such as thyme or fescue.
  • Curving paths can help make a narrow area look wider.
  • Using lavender next to the path can also soften the edge of the walkway.
  • Curving paths are more eye-soothing than straight ones.
  • To add a personal touch, you can use hand-made stepping stones which would add colour and beauty to your backyard garden.
  • Trails in straight lines intersecting each other at right angles are suitable for very formal gardens only.

Landscape architects should make sure that they are not designing a garden path just for the sake of it. Since, garden paths are extremely functional, it becomes important to ensure that they are smooth to walk upon and not slippery especially during the rainy season amongst other things. A garden path balances out your aesthetic and functional needs and is hence the backbone of any garden. Creating a garden path is therefore considered as a key factor of landscaping for home gardens. To sum it up, we all have to forge our own paths, on that account let’s at least try to make our paths pretty and worth it.

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