Garden paths can create a whole new experience in your garden. Whether the path is functional or ornamental, it can add character and charm to your garden. From simple to elaborate designs with brick or stepping stones that wind or go in a straight line, designing a garden path can be both fun and inspiring.
Determine the path's function. Do you intend the garden path to simply get a person from one place to another? Or, is the path designed for enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of your garden? If the path is more functional in nature, keep it as straight as possible and use smooth materials. If the path is more about the journey than the destination, a curvy path with uneven surfaces may be more appropriate.
Consider the scale of your garden and its plants and flowers. The width of your path and the size of the materials should match the scale of your garden. If your garden has large hedges, trees and other shrubbery, design a slightly wider path. However, if your garden consists of mostly low-lying flowers and plants that won't hang over the path, design a narrow path.
Lay out garden hoses to design your path's route. Outline your path's route with the garden hoses, then walk the route during different times of the day. Notice how the light changes and what garden features are visible along the route.
Make sure your path leads somewhere, even if it's purely ornamental. If your garden path is intended for simple enjoyment, consider what you will see when you walk it. If you have certain plants, flowers or trees that are especially beautiful, be sure to lay the path so you encounter them on the route. If you have a bench, bird bath or fountain in your garden, make sure your path passes by the special feature. These types of garden features would also make a nice destination for your path.
Consider inclines in the path and plan for steps and possibly hand railings. If the path's route includes steeper inclines that require steps, it may affect the materials you choose to construct the path. Use stone or brick steps, or opt for railroad ties or reinforcing logs for slighter inclines.