BBM Editor

0 posts  19906 Followers  0 Following

Take A Walk Up a Wonderful Garden Path

Garden paths are the backbone of landscape and provide a sense of structure and order. Be they straight or curvaceous, paved or pebbled, a pathway adds appeal and interest.

World-renowned landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy believes paths not only “choreograph the journey,” but are mandatory to create a sense of flow. Messervy, the author of Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love, writes: “Without flow, a property is made up of a series of unrelated spaces.” If one gets the right flow, it creates “a sense of space and harmony”.


How does one go about getting the flow? Experiment. Walk around your yard, garden or property, trying different routes. You’ll soon realise what works best for you and under what circumstances.

Pathway or walkway? The difference is simple – pathways meander and are mostly used in natural settings; walkways are kind of permanent and created for a purpose. So a pathway (usually 2-3-feet wide) might gently lead to an arbor while a walkway (4-6-feet-wide) will take you to a kitchen door. As the function varies, so does the choice of building material. Natural materials are more commonly used to create pathways while materials like concrete or stone are ideal for walkways.


What kind of design? The landscape outside a home should be consistent with the design inside it. Formal homes do well with symmetric lines while flagstones laid out informally are ideal for shabby chic homes. Those with huge gardens can consider a circulation hierarchy of three types of pathways (primary, secondary and tertiary) to make the landscape interesting and easier to navigate. Keep in mind weather conditions, potential uses and likely traffic when designing the landscape. Good landscape design dictates that once a visitor is inside the garden, he or she can easily navigate the space and savour the beauty of the plant and flower arrangements.


Places to pause. A walkway might lead from Point A to B and may be the quickest way to get there, but a meandering pathway with places to pause – be it a dell, a piece of statuary or a comfortable chair – creates a restful feeling. You can decide on the kind of pathway/walkway you want depending on space and budget – (easy to navigate but little visual interest), curved (provides breathing room and interest), or meandering (mysterious and inviting).


Which material? The many varieties of stone and the visual appeal it lends make it the most popular material. Experiment with cut stones, differently sized stones, intersecting stones, circular stones or checkerboard pavers to add a twist. Concrete is also scoring – it’s stable, can be laid out in any design, and is low maintenance. It can also be stained or treated with colour to create visual interest. Asphalt also works well for primary or secondary pathways. Fine crushed stone is a common choice but ensure that a coarse layer of gravel is installed underneath to obtain a smooth and flat surface. The surface becomes more compact and harder with use. Fine stone often needs an edging to establish and maintain a distinct pathway. Explore pebbles, stones, rocks, logs, stumps, bricks or paver stones. Consider poured-in-place rubber surfacing that is installed over concrete. It’s expensive but the results are worth the money spent.


Juxtapose different kinds of materials with flowers, plants and shrubs to create a pleasing and harmonious blend. And then, sit back and enjoy the spoils!

Photos courtesy: ////, ////, ////,, ////,