A garden just begs to be explored, and a garden path allows the visitor to do just that. Paths are inviting and lead the visitor throughout the garden, allowing them to see all the beautiful plants and colors. Creating a path through your yard or garden adds to the landscape and helps you direct traffic the way you want. Garden paths don't have to lead through a beautiful floral garden. You can add them to any area of your yard.
Maybe you have noticed a natural path through the grass in your own yard. Maybe it is the best route from the front yard to the back, or the swing set to the sandbox. Whatever the reason, many of us find worn areas in our grass where people and pets tend to walk on a regular basis. These would be perfect places for a path.
So how do you make a garden path? It really isn't that hard and you can complete one in an afternoon or a weekend. The time it takes will depend on the materials you choose to use and how large the path will be.
Garden paths can be made out of a wide variety of materials. However, for any type of garden path you will need to prepare the area. If you are only planning on foot traffic, you will need to dig the path area down about two to four inches for the base material. If you want to be able to drive vehicles on it, you will need to dig deeper, about six or more inches. Make sure the path bed is firm and level. Then add a layer of sand for the base.
For many path materials such as brick pavers or stone, the sand will make a perfect base. If you choose to lay cement you may need additional preparation. For a path made of pavers, you will lay the paving bricks on top of the sand base in any pattern you choose. When the path is completely laid out, cover it with fine sand. Using a broom, sweep the sand into the cracks between the pavers. Water it in and tamp it down with the end of the broom. Continue this practice until the cracks are completely filled in. The sand and water mixture will harden almost like mortar creating a beautiful finish.
The sand filling will last for years in the pavers. However you may have some issues with weeds. Weeds that grow between the paving stones are very easy to remove by hand, or you may wish to keep them sprayed with weed killer. After a few years you will want to add more sand as needed.
A great way to create a path through a vegetable garden or play area is with gravel or bark. Dig your path the same way you would for a paved path, but add some type of edging along the sides. Plastic or wood garden edging works well. Then add pea gravel or shredded bark that is about four inches deep. Both bark and gravel have their pros and cons. Gravel is durable and long lasting, however it can migrate to the lawn and cause problems for the lawn mower. Bark is soft to land on and organic so it won't cause problems with the mower. However, because it is organic it will break down and need to be replaced more often.
Garden paths aren't just meant for beautiful flower gardens. You can add a path almost anywhere in your yard. Beautiful paths encourage exploration and wonder – isn't that what you want from your yard?