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.
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