7 Landscaping Materials to Create Beautiful Walkways in Your Yard
Is there anything quite as enchanting as a pathway through a garden? There’s no better junction of function and aesthetic if you ask us! But of course, while the destination for your path is important–will it lead to your favorite outdoor bench, or do a circle around a showstopping water feature?--what’s equally important is the material you use to make your path.
When creating a path for your yard, you should consider the look, cost, and function of your pathway materials. The last part is especially important. Consider whether it’d be easier to move equipment over concrete or wood chips, for instance, or whether there would be enough foot traffic to your front door to risk a twisted ankle with a stepping stone path.
Let’s take a look at a variety of pathway materials so you can find the perfect one for your walkway ideas:
Pavers, whether concrete or brick, are by far one of the most popular options for pathways, and they’re likely what first came to mind when you considered creating a path in your yard. Pavers offer a flat, even service with a wide variety of designs, meaning you can customize it to fit your yard’s aesthetic without sacrificing function and mobility.
However, pavers do tend to be on the pricier side of walkway options, especially if you have someone else installing them. You can reduce costs by installing concrete pavers or bricks yourself, but it’s tedious, hard work–and nothing’s worse than a half-finished pathway.
If you’re looking at an area with a lot of foot traffic, or an area that may require vehicle access of some kind–ie, bikes or a mobility scooter–then poured concrete may be your best option. Concrete offers flat, even terrain, durability, and low maintenance care, which can be a relief if the rest of your landscape is relatively high maintenance. You can even add designs and pigments to give it a unique look that matches your yard.
However, like pavers, concrete can start to become pricey when it’s installed by others. And, if you live somewhere that gets snowy in the winter, you may want to look at other options: concrete is prone to cracking during the freeze/thaw cycle, and it’s difficult for repairs to blend in without redoing the whole thing.
Mulch & Woodchips
Mulch and woodchips can be an excellent natural option for those looking to DIY their garden path ideas. You likely already have mulch on hand if you’re an avid gardener, and if you don’t, both mulch and woodchips are easily accessible, lightweight options that emphasize the natural approach to creating a garden path.
Be warned, though–both mulch and woodchips are designed to be biodegradable, which means frequent replacements throughout the year. It can also be difficult to walk on, particularly if barefoot.
Gravel, whether it’s crushed stone, smooth pea gravel, or even volcanic rock and quartz, offer the same DIY friendliness as mulch without the downside of having to regularly be replaced. Gravel paths are common and can be very aesthetically pleasing, and there are options that can be barefoot friendly.
However, the cheaper options are not feet-friendly, and it can be a struggle for those who have issues with their mobility. Plus, loose gravel can scatter into grass and quickly become a hazard if it comes in contact with your lawn mower.
There’s nothing quite as whimsical as a path of stepping stones leading to the focal point of your yard. They’re fun to step on, and you don’t need to sacrifice your grass if you’d prefer not to. Natural stone paths draw the eye to them, and their asymmetrical look gives plenty of character to a yard. Plus you have plenty of choices from type of stones to include, from river stone to granite to slate.
On the other hand, though, stepping stones can be expensive–while the individual price-per-stone may not seem like much, it certainly adds up by the time you get enough for a dedicated path. They’re also uneven by nature, which can be difficult for those with mobility concerns. The area surrounding the stepping stones need to be considered as well–many paths set their stepping stones among other materials like gravel or mulch, which have the same downsides mentioned above.
Wooden planks can offer a range of looks to your garden–from polished and sleek to rustic and homey. This makes them an excellent choice for a pathway in your yard. There’s a variety of styles, stains, and types of wood to consider, and their highly versatile nature means the sky’s the limit in terms of customization. You can adjust wooden planks to easily fit them to the path size you want, and you can create a cohesive look by using the same wooden planks in a matching porch and stairway.
Cost can be a little prohibitive, depending on the wood and treatment used. Often, they’ll need to be replaced with some regularity, and cheaper options, such as repurposing wood pallets, can have the risk of splinters.
Last but not least, there’s the time-honored dirt path. A truly classic option, dirt paths work beautifully in any garden. They can be tamped smooth for ease of mobility, and there’s little risk of harm while walking barefoot. Best of all, there’s no extra materials involved–you simply have to pull up the grass in your desired pathway and you’re set.
A dirt path will last indefinitely, but there is still some maintenance that needs to be considered. You will likely have to regularly treat the area for weeds and, as we all know, dirt turns into mud when it gets wet. It also may lead to a more unfinished feel to your yard, which may not work with the rest of your outdoor space.
Choosing the right materials for your garden path is something that requires no small amount of consideration, and it’s important to consider who it is that will be using your pathway–children running to the pool and grandparents with mobility aids have very different needs, after all. Enlisting a landscape designer may be just what you need to come up with garden path ideas that fit your needs, your budget, and your aesthetic.
Granite Landscape Centers are more than ready to help you bring your garden path to life. Our team of experienced contractors are here to add landscaping, hardscaping, and any other elements you need to make your yard a dream come true. Contact us today, and let’s transform your yard into something beautiful.