When planning paths in your landscape it’s important to consider where they are, the reason you’re creating them, and the maintenance they’ll require. These, along with the look you desire, will determine what materials you choose. Here are some guidelines for designing a path or walkway.
Is the path going to lead to a door to your house? If so, you’ll probably want it to be at least 4 feet wide. Paths that lead to entryways are often made of smoother, hard materials so that they are easy to shovel when it snows, and so that less dirt, much or other natural debris comes in when people walk into the house.
Paths that lead to the main entries to your house should either be gently curved or straight. A curvy walkway that takes people longer to travel from the driveway or street to the door is unnecessary and annoying…save the winding paths for the garden or woods.
How much weeding do you want to do in your paths? Some require constant attention to keep the weeds down, while others require no weeding at all. See photos below.
Will you be using the path to maintain gardens? If so, it’s important to make it wide enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow or garden cart. A very narrow path might be fine for walking, but less useful when mulching or weeding needs to be done.
If people will be walking barefoot on a path, you’ll want to avoid gravel or large mulch chips. Flat surfaces are more comfortable for bare feet, but remember that dark asphalt absorbs heat in the summer.
Once you’ve decided how you want a path to function, then it’s time to consider how the path will look and what materials you’ll use to create the walkway. Here are a few suggestions.