If you're looking for a way to spice up your landscape, adding pathways can help make that happen. Paths add a brand new dimension to your garden and open up new creative possibilities to make your yard truly unique. In this post we're going to look at landscape pathway creation and discuss some of the options you have when planning a new path in your yard. We'll also look at some of the creative possibilities that pathways open the door to and how they can liven up a dull landscape.
How to Create Pathways in Your Landscape
There's a good bit that goes into planning a landscape pathway. In the video below, Terry McNair, owner of Real Turf Solutions, provides more information about landscape pathways.
Planning Landscape Pathways
Before you can build a new path, you have to come up with a plan and design. What goes into planning and designing a new pathway? Here are some of the main factors to keep in mind.
Selecting Surface Material
You need to decide what kind of material you want to use for your pathway. There are several options you can choose from.
First, look at your landscape's current design or theme. You want to select a material that will match the feel and look of your existing landscape and your home's exterior design. If you're relandscaping your entire yard, you'll want to select something that matches the rest of your landscape plan. Your landscape designer can help you find an option that works good for your landscape and budget.
Let's look at some common materials you can create a landscape pathway with.
Concrete pavers are a common material for creating hardscape pathways. They come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. You can find a style of paver to match most any landscape aesthetic.
Pavers create a very defined, permanent structure for your pathway. A paver pathway will last a very long time if well maintained. They are very customizable, as mentioned above. Patterns can range from very simple to complex. Many paver styles have multiple pattern options to pick from. Paver pathways can also connect seamlessly to other hardscape features, such as a paver patio.
Pavers can be a rather pricey option, especially for creating longer pathways and/or using high-quality pavers. They also require regular maintenance and cleaning to keep them looking good. Keep these factors in mind if you're working with a limited budget or looking for something you don't have to maintain much.
Flagstone is a great option for creating pathways with a natural or rustic look. Like concrete pavers, flagstone is another option for creating a hardscape pathway. If you have a cabin out in a wooded area, flagstone will look great without being a distraction from the beauty of nature. This is due to the fact that flagstone is a natural stone. The only "processing" flagstone goes through is the process of quarrying it.
If you want to use flagstone, you should be prepared for the large pricetag that comes with it. The stone, and the process of laying it isn't cheap. The results are well worth the price though.
Egg Rock / River Rock
Egg rock paths can be a bit less expensive option for creating pathways. It's also a less permanent option as well and easier to make changes to later down the road. You'll want to add some type of edging to keep the rocks from being scattered around. Metal edging, as seen above, is usually the best option. Just make sure to use small egg rocks. If you use large stones, they can be hard to walk on.
Stepping stone paths can be designed in several different ways. You can go with a minimal stepping stone path which has a reduced footprint in the landscape. You can also create a more defined stepping stone path, such as the one pictured above. You can select a number of different options for stepping stones. There are purpose-made stepping stones which you can find at most garden centers. You can also use other stone material, such as flagstone.
Obviously, choosing to go with a plain dirt path has a significant cost advantage up front. Generally, the material for your path, dirt, is already there. The only thing you need to do is clear out the path itself. It's best to also go over the soil with a weighted roller. This will pack the soil down and help keep your path defined. It can also reduce the speed at which foliage takes over again.
Maintaining a dirt path usually requires frequent maintenance though. You will need to continuously clear it of foliage trying to grow back over the path. Spraying herbicides can help with this, just be careful if the path is frequently used by pets and/or children. You may also face erosion issues depending on the amount of rain you get in your area.
Creative Path Design
There are many ways to be creative with your landscape pathways. Pathways can be used to guide people through your landscape. This allows you to highlight key features that you consider to be centerpieces of your yard. It also gives you the opportunity to create entirely new centerpiece features in your landscape. For example, you could create a path which provides access to a previously unused area of the yard that didn't have convenient access, such as a spot in a natural area or at the bottom of a slope. New landscape features could then be added for you to enjoy in these newly accessible areas of the yard.
You can have a pathway open up into a hardscape patio in a clearing to create the perfect backyard hangout spot. Pathways can lead visitors through flowerbeds and garden areas to showcase your gardening skills. There are tons of imaginative ways to be creative with your landscape path design.
Additional Features for Landscape Paths
You can plan extra features to have built in with the design of your pathways. Landscape lights go great with paths. Pathway light fixtures can be installed along your path to provide elegant and practical illumination. Hardscape pathways can even have fixtures built into the structure of the path itself, especially if it includes steps or retaining walls.
Edging can also be installed along your path to keep it well defined. This is especially useful for dirt, gravel, and egg rock based pathways. It can also help keep hardscape paths cleaner by reducing the amount of dirt, grass, and bed material, such as straw or mulch, that gets scattered onto the path. If you decide to add edging to your path, we recommend using metal edging instead of plastic. Metal edging is more durable and will last longer than plastic edging.
There are many choices and options to consider when planning a new pathway in your landscape. If you need some help determining what's best for your yard, reach out to our landscape design team. They will be happy to help plan and design your new pathway!
By: William Adams
In 09/2018 William started at Real Turf working in the field having never done manual labor before. He wasn't expected to last the first day. Terry recognized ways William could benefit the company more, and after 5 months of working full-time on lawn service and enhancement crews, William was given a position doing digital marketing, IT, & quality control work.