Garden Walkabout: Designing the Perfect Garden Path

Garden Path

Strolling along a beautiful garden path is one of life’s greatest pleasures. With so many options for garden pathways, it’s worthwhile to explore a few ideas in order to arrive at one that best suits your style. With spring just around the corner, now is the ideal time to design your own perfect garden path.
 
Choose Curved, Geometric or Free-form Pathways
 
The first step (so to speak!) is to decide whether you prefer a graceful curved pathway, modern geometric lines or a natural, irregular-style path. A slightly meandering walkway can be more inviting than a straight path because it lends the feeling of traveling through a large landscape. If space will allow, make room for a friend by constructing your path wide enough for two people to walk side by side. In general, straight, linear paths are a good fit if your garden has a more formal or stark, modern design. Irregular or staggered pathways work well for a rustic or cottage look. And curved paths can look lovely with just about any style home or garden layout.
 
Keep It Simple and Easy, or Go More Elaborate
 
Stepping stones are one of the fastest, easiest materials with which to build a path. It’s ideal to live in an area with naturally occurring stone outcroppings. Once the stones are laid out, soak the soil so it’s easier to cut around them. Then spread a one-inch-thick layer of sand under each stone, to make leveling a snap. Explore using concrete patio blocks, pavers, flagstone or even recycled bricks. Gravel is another pathway option that is often less expensive than granite or flagstone. A layer of landscape fabric under the gravel not only blocks weeds, but helps prevent soil erosion. With a gravel path, it’s important to use a base layer of sand, firmly tamped, for a stable foundation. If you’re inclined toward a more elaborate walkway, a stone and gravel combo provides contrast and adds loads of visual interest to your garden. Or, why not go wild with a design that includes a circular or interlocking pattern?
 
Plantings Along the Way
 
Your master plan wouldn’t be complete without considering an array of wonderful plantings along your path. If you have a corridor-type garden, choose fragrant plants that release their scent as you pass by. Fill in between stepping stones with aromatic creeping thyme, Utah sedum or flowering pink dianthus. Gray-green grasses tucked in here and there yield a delightful contrast of texture, alongside banks of native wildflowers for a burst of color.
 
With spring right around the corner, Millcreek Gardens of Salt Lake City can offer both inspiration and advice on how to design your garden path. Whether your garden path is simple or elaborate, their helpful staff can recommend the ideal plants and products for you.