Chances are you make one path in your garden lifetime: and it better be right or you?ll regret it forever.? It?s a conundrum.? Squiggly or straight? Wide or narrow??? I was incapable of committing myself to anything for years.
The decision was resolved by hiring a landscape architect to do some garden renovations. He installed the perfect path?limestone squares moving gracefully through the garden.? Why didn?t I think of that? Fear was my enemy: one mistake and you?re stuck with it.
Paths give solid form to any garden adding texture, colour and shape. It?s sets the tone, how you move through the garden and how easily you can work in the borders around.
Paths should have a purpose. I like walkways between street and house to be straight. Squiggly paths look awkward unless they are going around something important?a tree, a berm or a focal point?or waft off in a gentle swerve to slow down the visitor to a woodland area.
But a path can also be decorative: let a path disappear behind a shrub even if it goes nowhere. It gives the illusion that the area is much larger especially if the path gets narrower the further away it goes.
Decide on the style and check out lots of books and magazines. The materials available are wonderful and varied enough to suit any budget. But no matter how cheap, it?s still an expensive proposition, which can vary from $3 to $30 a metre. A formal house really demands a formal path: straight lines with large pieces of stone; a little cottage won?t be so demanding and you can get away with gravel and stepping stones or bricks, even concrete pavers.
Raised wooden paths are looking very much of the moment and are practical especially in country gardens and where the terrain is difficult. Caution though?they can be slippery when wet.
Mixing up stones, adding areas of design with contrasting bricks (old) or inlays of pebbles in cement. There are almost no rules here except don?t get over-exuberant, restraint is a key.
The best type of material is one that?s quarried locally. Price and haulage costs go hand in hand.
Be cautious when it comes to making paths. They can be full of stumbling blocks and it?s one area where you don?t want to make a mistake.