Garden paths can lead visitors though your garden and, if planned well, they accentuate and help frame views, whether within the garden or in the distance. In the woodland garden, informal, meandering paths are appropriate. Formal designs may be called for, however, around architecture or in the rose garden.
Paths can be created from a wide variety of materials. Stone works well, is long lasting and is ideal for high traffic areas. Brick and bluestone can be used for formal areas of the garden while fieldstone and peastone work well in informal settings. Other material, such as wooden boards, mulch, simple stepping stones and grass are economical and are suited to low traffic areas.
If you’re using stone to create your walkways, consider using stone found locally in your area to tie the design to the surrounding landscape. If there is ledge exposed on your property try to incorporate its color into your garden design. Architecture can also guide your decision. Brick houses, for example, may lead you to include brick in the landscape. Basically, if there are existing conditions which can inform your stone choices, your garden design will seem as if belongs to the site rather than imposed upon it.
Grass paths are only suitable for areas where there is little traffic but are effective, especially adjacent to perennial or annuals beds. Mulch paths are great for the shade or woodland garden. In wet areas, raised paths made from wooden boards are ideal.
Whatever your choice of material and design, be sure to provide for adequate drainage. Careful planning and well thought out construction are the keys to all successful garden projects.