Garden Path Design

As well as the purely practical function of providing a firm surface to walk on, paths have an aesthetic role to play. Properly designed paths and other hard surfaces like patios are an integral part of the garden landscape. Rather than dominating it, they fit into their surroundings, linking different parts of the garden together. At the same time, they should be attractive features, adding interest to the overall look of the garden.

Remember when you are planning your path that it does not have to cut straight across the middle of the lawn, dividing it neatly in two. It may be more interesting to run it down the side of the garden or to curve it round flower beds, trees or shrubs. Similarly, you may decide that a spiral path or one with zig-zag edges will create the best effect.

To provide continuity, you can use the same material for the path as is used in the house or on a patio or terrace. Where you have an informal garden you can use stepping stones or lay bricks between them to fit in with the informal setting. To match more formal surroundings you can arrange your paving materials in symmetrical patterns, perhaps with pointing in between the pavers.

The materials used can either contribute to an ordered, formal impression, or help to contrast with it. Bricks, for example, with their hard, sharply-defined edges. Are perfectly suited to geometric patterns, whereas

J_I_l_ natural stone can be effective in creating a more rustic, unsophisticated appearance.

Variation in the type of paving materials which make up the path is one way of creating interest – you can insert small panels of cobbles, granite setts or bricks to break up large areas of slabs. From a purely practical point of view, it may be easier when you are laying paving in an awkward shape to use small-scale materials rather than having to cut large slabs, which form the bulk of the path. Normally, if you are paving in mixed materials, it is best to use no more than two or you will get an overcomplicated design with a fussy appearance.

You may decide to use just one material for the whole path but to add variety by mixing different colours. Pre-cast concrete slabs, concrete blocks and bricks all come in a range of colours from which you can choose ones which either blend or contrast. Again, avoid using too many colours to prevent overkill. The colour may provide enough of a pattern in itself if you simply lay the paving units side by side in horizontal rows with the joints coinciding in different rows. Alternatively, you can arrange different coloured paving or, of course, paving of one colour only, in patterns such as stretcher bond, herringbone and other patterns based on using rectangular shapes. Specially shaped blocks and slabs will provide you with different patterns again. –> -. –: ,,.~v

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