The function of a garden pathway is to lead you from one point to another – without stepping on lawn or plants. However, making it a focal point of your garden adds interest and encourages exploration of your garden.
Garden pathways should never look too neat, but you should tidy and prune your pathway plants regularly keep it in shape. Choose the right plants to compliment your pathway – depending on whether you are going for a formal or informal design.
Garden pathway design:
- Draw it out first and plan what plants you are going to put there. Imagine how they will have grown in a minimum of two seasons.
- Plan to make the hard element area (pavers, sleepers, gravel and pebbles) larger at the outset – adding a couple of inches of on each side. This is so that the ‘stepping-stones’ don’t get too small and crowded when your plants start to grow.
- Think about the growth pattern of your plants and grasses when deciding on how much bigger to make the hard elements. You don’t want to have to keep cutting your plants back.
- Choose the right plants. While much of this depends on the effect you wish to create, ideally you want to feature each plant. Think about planting distance, growth height and compatibility.
Laying down your garden path:
- Start your pathways by laying down the hard elements, then ‘making them bigger’ as planned.
- Plant your plants, leaving space for them to grow with extra soil border around the hard elements. You can fill in this soil border with straw or loose pebbles until the plant stems reach full thickness. This also helps to stop mud forming in wet weather.
Design tips for garden pathways:
- Curving or ’snaking’ paths are ideal for large gardens with hidden nooks and crannies. Visitors will want to explore and see what is around the bend.
- Consider using grasses or ground covers in-between your hard elements. There are some beautiful indigenous grasses that are perfect for this effect.
- Add a straight pathway if it leads to a focal point in your garden – e.g. a swimming pool or braai area.
- Use the right plants for the effect you wish to create and think about what they will look like in all seasons.
There are millions of tips and images on the internet. So have fun with your garden path design and don’t hold back!