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An inviting pathway that leads from one place to the next around a corner or simply to another part of the garden creates immediate interest making visitors want to see what’s on the other side along the way. Garden design is not complete without including pathways and this is evident mostly in formally designed gardens where in order to admire the beautifully formed geometric shapes there has to be some sort of access walkway.
All pathways must be inviting. In informal design curving paths meander around a garden from one garden room to the next, but they must have a decent curve not a wavy erratic line. Pathways should never also go nowhere. If there is no choice in the matter, make sure the end of the pathway like that against a wall or boundary has something of benefit like a bench, water feature, beautiful container, bird bath or statue – something to admire or to sit on and look back upon the garden.
Choosing the right path materials
There are several different materials that can be used to make a pathway – the only important thing to remember is that people are most likely going to walk on it so it should be wide enough and stable enough to do that. A pathway that has an equal width all the length of it will seem more natural than one that shifts in and out all the time. Informal garden pathways are the easiest as they can be as simple as a cleared area through shrubs and trees covered in leaves. Straw or hay is another inexpensive way to line pathways and it will keep the mud off your feet. Stones and gravel are good for pathways, but not so good on bare feet. These are especially not good for children to get to their play areas. Falling leaves may make keeping stones clear a nightmare, but they are perfect around the house as the noise they make is a great deterrent to burglars. In sunny areas, lovely grassy pathways are ideal, soft on your feet and easy to maintain with the rest of the lawn. This idea needs to be avoided though if there is plenty of foot traffic along the pathway as the tiny grass plants will not be able to keep up with constant abuse. Bark mulch is another great natural product, easy on the eye and creating an inviting pathway.
Hard landscaping materials like paving, bricks and cement are semi permanent features that need careful planning before installing as it would be costly and hard work to change the pathway once its been laid. Plants are an important addition to this feature and will make it appear more natural.