Gardeners use pathways and walkways in the garden to create space, define boundaries and lead viewers from one area to another.
How gardeners use their pathways will impact what types of materials they want to use, and how to design their garden paths. Here are some garden walkway materials and the pros and cons of each.
Wood Mulch for Garden Pathways
Wood mulch is a popular choice for an informal garden walkway material because it is inexpensive, easy to find and defines the borders of the garden areas very loosely. Wood mulch is a popular choice for cottage gardens precisely for this informal and natural appearance. Wood is also soft to walk on, and quiet when used.
Wood chip paths, like wood mulch in garden planters, will need to be replaced or replenished every year. Depending on the size of the shredded bark, the pathway may be too difficult for a wheelbarrow to go down so gardeners who need help with garden chores should keep that in mind.
Stone Flagstone or Pavers for Garden Walkway
Stone has been a popular garden path choice for a myriad of reasons. Various color options allow gardeners to select the colors they think will best fit their garden landscape. There are some considerations that gardeners should keep in mind when choosing stone for a garden pathway.
- Size of Stones – You can use small, pea gravel or larger quarter size gravel that will create a weed-resistant garden path. With this option a wheelbarrow or wheeled cart would be very difficult roll. Larger stones could be fit together to create a smoother surface for the path of a walkway and create footstep size spaces to walk on.
- Spacing of Stones – Gardeners can create a formal pathway by placing stones right beside eachother and paving in between any cracks. Then you can create an informal pathways by spacing the stones apart from each other as step-stones.
Less Common Garden Pathway Materials
There are several other options of garden pathway materials you can use in your garden. Wooden timbers, boards or repurposed railroad ties are another option many gardeners choose to keep a more natural feel.
Bricks are another timeless option, but unless a gardener has access to some old bricks, perhaps from a building being torn down, this can be an expensive option.
Grass, thyme or other foot-traffic resistant ground covers can keep a garden pathway fresh and green, but have to be maintained more than a wood, stone or mulched pathway. The trade-off is the beautiful blending that can be achieved with a healthy ground-cover for a garden walkway that coordinates with the nearby flower beds.