A garden path does not only serve us by giving us something to walk on. The design and feel of a path set the mood of the environment, affecting how we experience our surroundings. It can be used to lead the eyes to the focal point of a landscape or utilised to create a break in an otherwise monotonous lawn.
For a truly beautiful garden, not just any path will do. The design must complement the greenery and suit your home’s architecture. Find the best design for your garden with these path ideas:
A soft-silhouetted path makes a space flow smoothly. This style is very gentle on the eyes as its edges do not have a rigid or abrupt end and it gradually feathers onto your grass or flower beds.
To create this look, sand and mulch are ideal materials.
Sand is prevalent in Japanese gardens as it represents running water in lieu of a creek. The gratifying aspects of using sand in a Japanese garden are that creating the intricate patterns imparts a meditative and somewhat therapeutic experience. You can, of course, change the pattern as often as you want to.
The white or pale grey sand is also very becoming in a structured modern garden or a Mediterranean garden as they soften the former’s definitive silhouettes and the latter’s towering cypresses and imposing columns.
Mulch, on the other hand, is ideal for English cottage gardens as their softness complements the romantic charm quintessential to this style. Common types of mulch suitable for paths are cocoa beans, cypress barks or wood chips. With the calming scent of mulch and the soft crunch it produces when you step on it, a soothing sensory experience can be had.
You’d think that the sternness of wood would limit you, but it can beckon your creativity to think out of the box. The simple elegance of a deck-like pathway is, without a doubt, a timeless style but if you want to play with lines and textures, you can do just that with wood.
Slightly alter the deck-like pathway, for example, by using wood boards with uneven length or by arranging wooden boards with even lengths in a zigzag pattern. You can also use wood as bricks by having them cut short and arrange them in a basket weave or a herringbone pattern.
For modern gardens, widely spaced wooden planks, with white sand or smooth gravel in between creates a beautiful natural design.
If you’ve had your trees trimmed or pruned recently, you can have the branches sliced and treated to use as material for your path.
Using pale-coloured cylindrical wood also makes attractive path linings, or they can be used entirely by themselves creating an unconventional but nonetheless picturesque path.
With the extensive options for paving materials, you can create paved paths of any size, shape, texture or colour that will specifically suit your garden.
Traditional gardens and stately manor gardens, for example, will benefit from the solid look of a paved garden path. Cobblestones, stone pavers and slate paths work best for the colonial landscape; marble, porcelain tiles, brickwork or decomposed granite are the top choices for French gardens, while limestone, travertine or Saltillo tiles suit Spanish-styled estates.
For modern landscapes, limestone, smooth gravel and irregularly-shaped flat stones, create the minimalist naturalistic look characteristic of the modern design.
Using pebbles as pavers gives you an opportunity to be creative with your path design. Consider using different colours and sizes to create visually stunning patterns. An advantage of setting them in concrete is that they do not move under your feet, providing for a more pleasant strolling experience.
With the timeless beauty and durability of paved paths, almost any plant can be grown beside them, and they last for years with minimal maintenance.
Using different materials for garden paths creates a beautiful mixture of colours and textures.
A combination of white bricks and white gravel makes for a lovely contemporary garden path. This pairing provides for a stimulating stroll in the garden as you hear the gravel’s clinking and feel the stones move under your feet.
You can also consider matching hard and soft textures. Using a brick-lined path filled with sand or mulch combines the comforting softness of the fillers with the clean, sturdy lines of the bricks.
Another interesting combination is wood and stones. The piquing grain, rectangular shape and matt texture of wooden bricks go very well with polished, circular and glossy garden pebbles.
For a vibrant garden path, a tasteful combination of mosaic tiles and gravel suit Moroccan gardens. You can also make your own mosaic with varying coloured limestone or different-sized and coloured gravel. You can even create a vibrant yet sophisticatedly cohesive look with a mosaic that has a monochromatic colour scheme.
Combining live plants and pavers create a very refreshing path. Consider concrete pavers with honey-combed cavities or widely spaced slates and grow low maintenance plants in the gaps such as clovers, oregano grass and blue star creepers. The blue star creepers, in particular, create a faerie-like atmosphere when in bloom, making them ideal for informal gardens.
The aesthetics of garden paths is as important as its function. With the symbolism attached to paths, the right one can make a lovely garden wonderful. As you walk on it, with your feet feeling its hardness (or delicateness) and your eyes taking in the textures and colours in the garden, you can ponder upon whatever you like or simply think of nothing and just enjoy the experience.
If you want to add a path that does justice to your garden, Oakleigh Manor can help. We’ve been creating stunning landscapes since 1996, working with homeowners, independent designers and the public sector.
Elegant gardens are the hallmark of our work. Contact us today for a garden transformation.
This article was written by Josh