A garden path is an important element in your landscape design. As you travel back and forth to your garden, you'll eventually wear a path into the grass. This can be unattractive, not to mention muddy after rainfalls. But the problem is easily corrected with a garden path. Such pathways will also add texture and color to your current landscape and can be built so they extend into your garden, lending a sense of continuity throughout your property.
A path made up of small, colorful rocks can give your garden path a casual appeal. Gravel brings texture to your landscape and is one of the less expensive materials available for garden paths. A gravel path is also low maintenance; you need only rake it smooth on occasion.
To add further visual interest, add curves or angles to the path. Add a border of larger rocks or metal edging. Line the path with flowerbeds for a cottage look.
The disadvantage to this type of pathway is that the gravel tends to get picked up in the soles of shoes and brought into the house. You may also need to replenish the path every few years.
A garden path of flagstone or stepping-stones can be added to your landscape for a more formal look. Space the stones so that grass can continue to grow between them, approximately 2 feet between each stone. The path, then, is seamlessly integrated into the surrounding landscape.
You can also create a stone pathway that utilizes herbs and stepping-stones. Turn the ground of your intended path and add compost. Set the stones 2 to 3 inches apart and insert small plantings of thyme or chamomile between them. Add edging to create a border and contain the plantings. Soon you'll have a garden path that releases fragrance whenever you walk on it.
An integrated path requires the stone be set into the ground, and the upfront cost may be higher. However, once completed, the path requires no further maintenance other than clipping the herbs or cutting the grass.
A garden path constructed of brick adds a stately look to your landscape. Lay this type of path in much the same way as a stone path--that is, set into the ground. However, with a brick path, the bricks are laid end to end in a pattern.
Use a herringbone pattern for a formal look. A running bond pattern, in which the seams are staggered, is less formal and has a clean, modern appeal.
A red brick garden path also lends a historical feel to your landscape and pairs well with colonial or federal-style homes.
The disadvantage to such a path is the cost may be higher and you may need to replace bricks from time to time as they chip or crack.