Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Garden Paths

Garden paths are a necessity in the garden. We all have to get from one spot to another when traveling. The most logical way to move around in a garden, is going to be on a path of some kind.

Can you see the two paths in this picture? I bet everyone can clearly see the round cement circle path through the garden, but what about the grass path between the swimming pool and boxwoods in the left corner of the background? Can you see that one? It is there just as surely as the concrete circle path is there. Actually, the concrete circle path empties out into the grass path around the pool.

Looking at these two paths one has to wonder where they will eventually come out. I like paths that provide a little bit of mystery and help to guide the waunderer on his or her way. I want visitors to my garden to not be able to see the entire garden all at once. The destination should be just as fun as the trip. Just be sure the paths take a logical route and don't have unnecessary or artificial curves in them just for the sake of making curves or aesthetics. Try to look at the big picture and integrate the path into the landscape so the walker can comfortably navigate around the garden. But leave the destination a mystery.

Paths can be made from many different materials and are fun to play with. Grass and cement stepping stones are but two types of materials you can use to make paths. Other materials can be: bricks, cobblestones, mulch, wood circles or planks, flagstones, broken concrete (a personal favorite), wood chips, turf blocks, stone, crushed gravel, or even hard packed dirt. Formal paths and paths used to transport equipment should be at least four feet wide. Informal paths used in mainly for moving around the garden, like the circular one above, need not be wide, but should be well marked and easy to traverse. My gardens are rather large so instead of stepping through the garden, I use paths in strategic areas to help me be able to maintain the garden without trampling it. Paths this time of year in the garden are especially welcomed since the soil can get so wet the gardener can sink up to her ankles in dirt!

So, while paths are a necessity in the garden, make them fun and a little mysterious to add a fourth dimension to your garden.

in the garden.... walking some paths.


  1. I tend to think in "zones" in my yard. One area is a certain kind of garden while another is a different idea. Pathways are a perfect way to connect those garden zones. Good info!

  2. Good morning Dave. I like the ideas of zones in my garden too. Makes it less complicated huh? Since it looks like you have a big bare backyard you should let us know about your planned zones. Or did you and I missed it? I don't think so.

  3. The kiddos would love the idea of following a path. I don't have a path on this yard --the garden areas are all pretty far out --like the perimeter of the yard and the others are closer to the house. But, when hubby decides on a pond --with cute little fish we'll do a path leading to it I'm sure. I think one with crushed rock would be cute --maybe toss in a few colored marbles. Just in the planning stages --and with hubby that could be a year, lol. Yesterday was a great day to do more trimming --I know you'd like my rose bushes now --they don't look like wild roses anymore. We calmed them down and made them look good-yes ---I started and then when I got poked real good sweet hubby finished up:) Glad he had the day off last night. Staying dry today though --but will be looking thru those awesome garden magazines. They have so MUCH to look at! Thanks again!

  4. Hi Guys,
    Yes, Mom started me a blue willow set about 17-18 years ago, and I have added to it, we will be using it in the house--but, but, my chipped up semi-porceline, tuliped pattern, from Japan, may make it into the wall. Tartarus has spent many jumps up and down the top of my rock wall and it's in desperate need of repair, thinking of cement topping it with something cute imbedded in it. Amazingly the kid hand prints in the concrete steps have lasted, along with the dominos. (Tina, we like whimsey to much).
    Love the paths, great idea, mine are flagstone and they DO keep your neck above mud!
    Well, got a big day today, Jack of all trades will have the boiler running, it is nice to have a heating guy but this system is way complicated! Later. 0:?)

  5. anonymous, i was thinking of bringing a cute little puppy over your way to play with the kiddies. i know just how MUCH you would love that! no, of course not. don't worry, you are safe. if the weather gets nice and dry you should bring them over so they can tire them out for me in the fenced backyard. we can talk gardening. i bet your bunch would make them sleep for about 6 hours! jimmy was no problem going to school. after about 15 minutes with them he appreciated his cece girl so very much i tell you! they are a learning experience for him (our one and only with pups). i explained to him they are JUST like children-like him when he was little. rambunctious without realizing consequences of their actions. we need to teach them. he is gaining an appreciation for young kids and the depth of instructions parents have to resort to.

    anonymous, you do NOT want a crushed stone path. the stones never stay put, it is hard to clean leaves out and imagine running over those stones with that new shiny red lawnmower! brick pavers would look much better, be easier maintenance and tie in with your house.

    i was pretty sure ciao meant hello and goodbye but wasn't sure. thanks for clearing that up. i love the word. i do hope hubby is feeling better and i am guessing he is since he finished YOUR trimming:)

    hey little sister dawn with peaches,
    i did not know you had this type of dishes. i guess i never really noticed it but i will next time we come visit!

    yes, i remember your wall and i thought that might be a good way to spend extra money. tartarus is too big to jump off it and i am sure too old. he needs to change that.

    yes, in maine up to your neck in mud! down here we just sink to our ankles because the clay is under that. i think it stops us.

    have fun with the appraiser. i am not surprised the requirements to be an appraisor up there are the same as down here. comps are important but so are key parts of your house. have fun today. hope jack of all trades gets the boiler going.

  6. Whoops I had not read these comments when I said Dawn had not been on.

    Dawn I did'nt remember that I started the Blue Willow for you. Was it a Christmas present. If I started, did you have it on a Christmas list. I thought you started it when you were going to the auctions.

    When we had the cement base made for the flag pole Lisa and a fried were little and here so we have their handprints in it. They are still there and I think things like that last forever.

    Radiant heat is complicated, and when you have 3 levels of it as you do and as long of a distance I'm sure it is worse' Yes, you are lucky that is Jack of all trades business. I guess if he can do it for hotels and shopping centers he can do it for his own house. LOL

    Tina when you called her little sister I had to laugh. Only by 11 months and when Dawn was 8 months old you both wore the same size clothers and everyone thought you were twins. When I would say no they would say "Oh is this one the oldest?" and point to Dawn. Then she got really much taller. You, Terri-Lynn and I got left out in the height department. Although I used to at least be 5'4", now I am under 5'.

    Thanks for the lesson on ciao Tina and Anonymous. When I was a teenager I was in a house nearly every day that the people were Italian and when the patriarch of the family would come for a visit from Rhode Island they only spoke Italian. Used to drive me nuts cause I did'nt know what they were saying. They came from Italy as young adults. When I was in high school more of the family was coming over and were on the Andorra whe it sank. Unlike the titanic only a few died from the Andorra sinking. None of that family perished. I guess you all have figured out where Tina gets her ramblings from! Are you Italian Anonymous?

  7. Hi Guys,
    Guess I started wanting b-w when I missed a 70 piece set for like, fourty $. But, mom you gave me the first pieces for Christmas.
    I thought the appt. was for 1 pm, rushed around until 1 then came in to get lunch, Jack of all trades told me it was for 2. No show thus far. grrr. Just have water to put in the boiler and could of done that by now.

  8. I want to make a pathway in the garden but think the garden is a bit too small. Since I left everything in a dead state this winter, I may take a good look and see just where everything grows and figure out a pathway....

    I am in trouble now! Saint invited me to lunch today and it is a sunny day and I ended up at Wal-Mart for a few items. I went in through the garden entrance and the bulbs and seeds put their paws out as if a kitten in a cage for adoption! I do NOT have a vegetable garden but came home with seeds of onion, lettuce, cucumber and beans! I also found gourd seeds too! Arg, I will have to dig up a veggie garden now! Not sure where it will go. We are surrounded by woods so we get very little sun in the yard except in the flower garden and the grass area which we do not want to remove! Arggg, how do I get myself into these things? I also came home with Caladium, Cannas and Lily of the Valley bulbs! The cannas will go in the flower garden and the others will go in the shade areas in back.... I think I may start them in pots in the house for now though… How will I keep the wild critters out of the veggies? Oh well, we will try it this year and if it works out, fine. If we end up fighting the critters, they can have it and I will take it as a lesson learned! The wild critters were here first so it is their yard too…

    Tina, Bless your little heart for taking those precious Golden mix pups! I dont know how you will manage as one large pup about put me over the edge but I know you have tons of energy and will get it to work out! Just keep in mind, it is a temporary situation and they will soon go to their new homes…

  9. Tina, I think if I had a meandering path through a garden like this ( with a bench) I would spend more time sitting and enjoying quite time and possibly some reading! I don't have the type of gardens to have paths. I do have a wooded area, but we're keeping it overgrown for privacy. But what a great area it would be for nature trails. To much work for us at this stage in our lives.

  10. Hi Jean --spent 3 years living in Italy. I wish I remembered more Italian. I have several good friends that still live over there --I met them thru my job. It is a beautiful country --I loved living there --the food, sights and people were great.
    Hi Nina, I think you might have a yard similar to mine --I really don't have a place to put a path --the gardens are all on the outer perimeter and along the house and deck. But, I'm sure it would be nice to put a bench by a tree in the shade for some spring/summer reading while the kiddos play.
    Hi Tina, hope those little furry pups are being good for you today. I can't even IMAGINE -- but if it stops raining I will have to bring the kiddos by to see them before they get big and scare them, hahahah.

  11. A bench in the garden is wonderful as is a swing! We sit and enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies in the gardens most evenings to unwind from our day... I have tried to read while in the yard but there is just too much activity to concentrate!

    I got the dead stuff out of the trumpet vine and dig some ash from the fire pit and put it on the compost area. I must admit, it was so easy to snip the dead off the vine and toss it over my shoulder rather then walk all the way to the burn pit or to the woods to toss over the fence...

    I think we may be able to put a little pathway into the garden but it kind of has a natural walkway about it anyway with the way I planted everything. I will ponder this one a bit longer… I also think I may have spotted a place for the veggie garden. Am sure the critters will get the stuff but oh well, I will try. Yall got me all excited to try my luck anyway…

  12. Skeeter, I've had a veggie garden in the woods, I used alum, pie plates tied to my pea fencing, but you might not like that. It made noise in the wind by banging on the fencing. Anyway, I was going to mention there is a ribbon (rabbit ribbon, I think) about 1'' thick and you install it by twisting it then anchor to posts (low to the ground) the wind catches it and it reflects in many rainbow colors, I've only seen it once, it is really pretty. Doesn't take long for the food growing bug to bite does it?
    Groundhogs day on Sat., we had above 40 degree today and warmer tom., a heat wave!

  13. oh yah, forgot to mention anything with movement or noise will scare critters, I've heard ivory soap or human hair, hung in netting, works. Never have tried it though.

  14. Yes, I have a yard swing.plus a bench by the fish pond, that my granddaughter and I enjoy. We sometime pack a sack lunch and have a picnic by the pond ( a small backyard one)! I have a bench under a tree and one in a side garden which is my coffee drinking and day planning bench.
    Yes I do work occasionally. Everyone needs at least one bench in their gardens, don't you agree.

  15. I'm guessing I need a bench now:) Just have to convince hubby. He thinks it's great I am so interested in the yard. (That would be the mowing and weed trimming) LOL Anyhow, a bench would be nice --and Skeeter my neighbor suggested some chicken wire around my small garden last year. I didn't think I would need it --but guess what the rabbits would sit and eat the lettuce and peas RIGHT in front of me --wouldn't move. So, IF I plant a small patch garden this year I will try the chicken wire around the stakes to keep them out. The pie pan sounds good too -considering these guys weren't afraid of me and lots of noisy kids who knows? But, I do love fresh green onions in the garden so I probably will plant some, and lettuce --the kids like to watch the stuff grow. It is neat when you first see those little sprouts pop out when you plant seeds --too cool.

  16. Paths lead to sitting areas and sitting areas are for what? Sitting! Occasionally I sit-as do we all. I have a post on sitting areas-stay tuned and if you would like me to include your sitting area please email me a picture.

    You all's words on veggie garden protection are great. I use rabbit fence around mine. It is then stapled to railroad ties and 4x4s. I defeat the purpose by having open gates though. I guess we will all have to work together on the critter issue.

  17. Where is Lola tonight?! I hope she is safe and healthy and would love to hear from her, as would we all.

  18. Hi,
    I'm here just running late. Very tired. Visited a friend today & did a lot of walking which is not in my good deeds for the day.
    I use old CD's to try to keep critters, mostly birds out of my veggies. They love my tomatoes. Rascally squirrels dig up seed. I get so unwound about it. Human hair is good. They don't like the smell. Barber shops will be glad for you to get the hair. It is also good for the soil.

    Gravel for a path is for the pits. Grass growing & the leaves, forget it. I had a battle on my hands in N.C. with driveway. Roundup for grass but took me awhile to figure out why I didn't have grass in yard area past river rock edging for driveway. Rain would take residue of roundup into that area as it was lower than drive.
    I try to have a big pot of herbs by back door. Not only handy but smells so good.
    I have some real dark, almost black, morning glories seed to plant this yr. I really need to get them in the ground now. I had morning glories on my fence one yr. Boy, what a sight. They came back for a couple yrs. after that. That made it nice. Moon flower is good to plant with morning glories. Glories bloom in day & moon at night. Smells divine.

  19. Okay, yall need to understand that the squirrels in GA dont scare easily! The deer yes but not the squirrels! LOL.. I put the Dial soap out to fend off the deer and it seems to work. Now the squirrels are stealing it from where ever I put the stuff. I find it in the woods with bite marks all over it! I only hope the culprits stay in our woods because if anyone happens upon them with a foaming mouth, they are sure to think they are rabid! LOL..

    The bunny’s will pop out of the woods while we are in the yard nearby as if we don’t exist! We are never aggressive towards any critters in the yard therefore; they have no fear of us.

    I used a spray late last summer that I picked up from Tractor Supply. It was very expensive but seem to work to keep the bunny away from the garden, but the damage was too late and the spray washed off with the rain. It was very pricy to spray with each rain fall. It also worked to keep the pesky cat from next door from using the garden as his own personal liter box!

    I had tomatoes two years ago next to the flower garden and the squirrels did not bother them so maybe they will not do too much destruction but the bunny is the one I fear most…

    I don’t want to use a fence of any type as I want the yard to feel completely open but I may have to at some point…

    While in Germany, we lived in the Penthouse apartment and had a bird wake us up every morning (5:30am) by singing while sitting on the wall of our balcony. I tried the pie pans but the sound kept me angrier then the singing bird! The only thing that worked was taping aluminum foil to the wall where he would stand! We had to be careful not to allow it to show to the street for fear of the locals thinking we Americans had some strange rituals! LOL. The wind would rip the stuff and I would have to replace it often but it did work…

  20. Hi Lola,
    I hope you got some much needed rest after your visiting yesterday. We did too, as our pups slept through the night.

    Good tips about keeping rascally critters from your plants and planting a moonvine with morning glories.

    Hi Skeeter,
    You were one of the few Americans who cared about what the Germans thought of aluminum foil on windows. I saw lots of that over there. In fact, when I was a kid I had tin foil on my window over there! Kept the sun out.

  21. oops, the previous comment was posted by me. i don't know how it did that.

  22. Yes Lola I just read about the human hair and barbers glad to get rid of it about a month ago.

    I can tell you all what works great for at least deer. My Dad used to do it for my Mum's garden but I am not sure if you can even buy it any more, but if you can get some creosote and rpoe. Soak the rope in the creosote and Dad would pound stakes in the ground around the garden and wrap the rope around the stakes as like making a fence. He always used gloves when handling it. In the fall he would take it down and put it in a bucket (a bucket that he saved just for this) for next year. Also kept his gloves in a bucket and only used that pair for that job. He would cover the buckets. I don't remember Mum and Dad having a problem with other critters (but they might have) but I do know the deer never went near the garden after he started that. It worked well for Mum also as Dad only would have it high enough for Mum to step over it with ease.

  23. I have never heard of that technique Jean. Interesting…
    The deer tend to respond to the soap, it is the bunny I worry about...
    We put cat hair out (mainly for the mole) and it never phased anything. Since the animals don’t fear us, they would not respond to our hair as they know our smells… Maybe a stranger’s hair though…. We do see the deer in the area I am thinking about cultivating. I bet they will be an issue for us also.... Dont know why I bought those darn veggie seeds. I predict they are going to be more trouble then anything...

  24. hi mom and skeeter,
    i think i remember baba doing this. it sounds like it would work well. you might still be able to get creosote or maybe diesel or something to soak the rope. i think it is the scent that would do it.

    i have also heard about the human hair. i am lucky i don't have a deer problem so i really can't relate skeeter but you should try mom's suggestions out. can't hurt. those veggies WILL give you fits but it won't be nice to say you grew it?

  25. I just thought about something someone told me. Have you tried putting some ammonia on some old rags & laying them around to try to keep critters out. It's cheap, the smell lasts quite a spell, worth a try. Let me know if it works.

  26. Ohhhhhh Lola, that sounds like a good thing to try. Like you said it is cheap and does have a terrible smell and strong.