The plants are obviously the stars of any garden, but easy access to them is also essential. Larger spaces need walkways so you can pick vegetables and enjoy the flowers. Paths, while serving this basic function, also heighten the sensory experience by drawing visitors into each garden’s distinctive heart and providing sanctuary. Stone is a natural material that fits into such spaces, and there are different kinds available.
Gravel is crushed stone that has an angular shape. It is frequently used as a driveway surface, but can also be spread through a garden to create a path. Gravel allows water to easily drain through it, keeping the surface dry. Gravel also helps control weeds.
Unlike gravel, pebbles are used in their natural form. Most are culled from rivers that have tumbled them over time. Their smoothness, rounded shape and wide color variety makes them an attractive garden path material. Pebbles lend a rustic, or even a medieval feel, making them suitable for use in cottage, rose and other gardens with flowing lines that are less formal or modern.
These wide, flat stone slabs work well for gardeners who want their paths to blend into the surroundings as naturally as possible. Because of their size, they allow for less soil compaction as they are trod upon, and will keep a visitor’s feet dry. Flagstone is cut from rock such as sandstone and limestone. It comes in varying thicknesses and geometric shapes, and you can easily nestle flagstones so they're level with the soil.
Cobblestones have been used for centuries, before brick and concrete were available and affordable, and some from that time are still there today. Builders used these rounded, irregularly shaped stones dug up from the soil to construct homes. They also became a durable street material alternative to the dirt and mud that prevailed during ancient times in cities, allowing horses to get a better grip as they trotted. Using cobblestones to make a garden path contributes to an old-world atmosphere.
Mosaics were first created about 4,000 years ago, with the Ancient Greeks perfecting design. They are now trendy landscaping additions that add a touch of class to a garden. Mosaic stepping stones can be purchased from one of thousands of businesses that offer these products, or you can create them yourself using either a larger, flat stone as the base and securing colorful material to it, or using stones themselves to create the design. Mosaics are often created using colored glass or tiles, or stepping stone kits purchased at craft stores. Some artists purchase glazed pottery or dishes at flea markets and garage sales to break and use. Pebbles are also used. Designs are usually inspired by the garden itself and by other outdoor scenes.