Following The Path -- 3 Steps To Designing Great Walkways For Any Yard

Posted on: 12 April 2016

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When designing the landscape for your yard, creating a way for guests and family to enter and use it is vital. If you can't easily enter and exit the house and outbuildings or wander through the garden, its functionality will be limited. The solution to this access problem is to create good pathways throughout the space. But how do you create a good pathway that will be used and enjoyed? Here are 3 design steps to get you started. 

Functional First. It's best to start with the most necessary and functional paths needed. This includes paths to and from the house, garage and any outbuildings. Use a simple paper sketch to lay out needed paths between buildings and well-used areas like tool or garbage storage. Main paths to and from the house and garage should be wider than garden paths -- usually wide enough for two people to walk side by side comfortably. Make sure that main paths are wide enough to accommodate any garden tools and that they are sturdy and solid underneath to bear extra traffic. 

Secondary Paths. After laying out the necessary and larger paths, it's time to think about secondary walkways to less-used areas of the yard. Branch secondary paths off of established hardscaping such as main paths or patios and weave them to areas like flower beds or gardens for guests to enjoy. Secondary paths are smaller -- as little as about 30 or 36 inches -- and generally designed for fun and visual interest. They can curve randomly or meander or they can be geometric and linear, depending on your overall yard style. 

Match the Yard. Once you've laid out the approximate location and curvature of your paths, it's time to plan the materials and style. Walkway material should complement the house and the overall yard motif. Gravel or crushed stone is an informal path base and less expensive than many other materials. It contrasts nicely with greenery but may not be good for heavy traffic areas where equipment needs moved often. Brick, on the other hand, has a more formal feeling to it and works well around colorful flower beds. If you're planning multiple paths, match the materials either by using a single basic motif. If you want to mix it up, you could use similar materials in different ways -- such as lining a secondary stone path with bricks to complement a main path made entirely of bricks. 

By planning ahead with your pathways, you can create an integrated design that makes the most of your entire yard and increases both its use and its beauty. Contact a business, such as The Hilltop Landscape Architects & Contractors, for more information.