9 July 2021
How to Design and Lay a Garden Path
If you’re redesigning your garden, or simply tidying up and refreshing the space you have, have you considered creating a walkway or path? A beautiful path can create a social point that will draw the eye through your garden and can also introduce a zen quality.
A well-designed path will always be welcome and is more than just a functional feature to keep your feet dry from dew-damp grass. It can show you where to walk and guide your eyes and imagination throughout the garden. When planning your path, consider the reasons for creating it and who will use it.
Choose a Garden Path Design
A wide path offers accessibility which may be necessary for prams and wheelchairs. While more narrow paths or stepping stones can act as a walkway between crops in a kitchen garden or a cut through to a different part of the garden.
Winding paths through the garden are ideal for an added element of zen, taking a leisurely stroll through your garden offers multiple opportunities for mindfulness, surround the path with great smelling flowers and herbs and include plants and trees of different heights colours and texture to add to the sensory experience. Simple straight paths offer more direct and practical options, taking you from your back door directly to the vegetable garden, shed or seating area for a more functional walkway.
A good path should be between half a metre and a metre and half wide. An orderly garden will benefit from square or rectangular paving stones placed close together, but a more informal garden will appreciate more irregular stones for a more natural look.
How to lay a path
1. First, mark the sides of the path by dropping two lines of crushed white stone on the ground. For a straight path, guide yourself with sticks. You can get nice smooth rounded edges using two garden hoses as a guide.
2. Next, dig down about 10 centimetres in the soil where the path will be. Use the extra soil elsewhere in the garden, such as your vegetable plot or flower beds.
3. Put drainage material such as sand or rock dust in the path area. Push down on it and smooth it as you work. This material provides a solid base beneath the surface and prevents water from collecting there, freezing and pushing up the stones. Add enough material so that when stones or bricks are in place, their topsides are a little above ground level.
4. Make the surface slope to one side of the path is narrow or have the slope move to the sides from the centre if the path is wide.
5. Put each stone or brick in place tightly against each other. Or, if you want plants to grow up in between each stone or brick, leave some space between them. Creeping thyme or chamomile look and smell nice as path plants.
6. Once your paving is in place, put more stone dust or sand on top of the path, then sweep the material to fill the empty spaces. Add some water to further settle the material. Sweep and water a few days later again, after everything has settled.