A beautiful garden pathway can really up the sense of beauty and wonder in any garden. Whether you have masses of land to lay winding route through, or just a small patch of grass you want to highlight with some lovely paving stones, a garden pathway is a sure way to add a traditional charm to your outside space.
Before you even step outside, you need to prepare and plan your pathway.
First, figure out exactly where you want to put your pathway. It’s a great idea to sketch out some ideas, helping you to visualise your favourite design. You’ll also need to figure out how wide you want your pathway to be; four feet wide is generally large enough for two people to walk together side-by-side but if your pathway is purely decorational or you lack lots of space, a slimmer path will still look elegantly fantastic!
You’ll also need to decide where in your garden to place the path. While it is possible to build pathways up and down slopes, it will be much easier laying one over flat ground – especially if you’re a beginner! You'll want to choose a route with good drainage, as you don’t want your pathway to become waterlogged after heavy rain, potentially damaging your stones or the sub-layer
Once your pathway is planned, its time to start laying the foundations.
First, draw the outline of your pathway using spray paint. This is the last chance to make any massive changes very easily. Stand back, contemplate your pre-pathway and, once you’re satisfied with the design, get to digging!
Keep within the lines of your paint, and make sure you get rid of the excess soil a decent amount away from the path site – you don’t want it building up by the edges and getting in the way. The deepness of your pathway is decided by what materials you’ll be using. Always dig as deep as your slabs or gravel layer will be, plus some extra for the sublayer; rough sand will need about an inch, while concrete will need about four to six inches.
Make sure you remove all grass, weeds, and other debris. Take time to rake through the soil to break down any large, dry clumps, and to enhance the soil‘s condition.
Once your pathways is all dug out, you’ll need to lay the sub-layer. This will help promote drainage and keep the soil underneath healthy. An easy to use and affordable sub-layer is rough sand – simply press down a layer about an inch thick across your pathway and make sure its flat but not too compressed – water needs to be able to filter through it as its for drainage.
And finally, its time the lay the bit you were always excited about: The pretty paving slabs, the glamourous gravel, the sweet steppingstones. Each path material has its own way it should be laid
Gravel and Pebbles
A gravel or pebble pathway can bring a touch of rustic wonder to your garden. The mix of colours and mass of texture is ideal if you want to create a visual focal point without splashing out too much cash.
Lay landscaping fabric across the pathway, over the sand. This provides the perfect base to place your chipping stones. You then need to line the pathway with edging, which will act as a border and keep the gravel in place while also acting as an attractive and clean finish. Do this by placing thin sheets of galvanised metal along the inside edges of your pathway, and carefully tap them down with a hammer until they are secure and straight. Then you get to finally fill your path with gravel!
If you're after a more elegant, dramatic pathway for your garden, consider paving stones. The heavy slabs sunk into the gorund will highlight your flowerbeds and foliage, and slabs made from slate will add an even higher sense of luxury.
Once you’ve laid your sublayer of sand, you’ll want to dampen the underside of your paving stones. Then take the time to carefully place them where you want them, bedding them with a rubber mallet to make sure they’re all flat and even. Use wooden board of other cut off to make sure they’re evenly spaced and maintain a consistent gap between slabs. Once your path is dry, fill in the gaps with a sand and concrete mix to bind the stones together.
A steppingstone pathway is ideal for smaller gardens and provides the opportunity to mix and match designs for more artistic aesthetics. For a pathway of steppingstones, merely dig out the shape of each stone where you want them, and then follow the steps of digging and laying sand. Once this is done, all you need to do is slip your lovely steppingstones into the holes, and your idyllic littlke pathway is done!
Once you're garden path is all layed, dry, and safe to walk over, you can really jazz it up by adding some solar lights or floral displays! Stake lights are perfect for standing in the ground along either side of your pathway, adding that final flare of colourful beauty with the extra benefit of lighting the way at night! You can also begin to sow flowerbeds, bushes, or trees along the pathway to create a natural bordering full of beautiful blooms.