A Backyard Garden Path can provide not only aesthetic visual relief to landscape design, but include practical application in sparing lawn from consistent foot traffic. Properly planning and consideration to climate, terrain, budget and usage can result in a creation to last for generations. From a vantage point of return on investment pertaining to Real Estate equity, a garden path is a wise improvement tool. Curb appeal for a home listed for sale is enhanced greatly via a thoughtful medium choice and careful installation.
A Weekend Warrior should expect a considerable amount of labor in creating a garden path, and enlisting friends and family to assist is not a bad idea. Any style or medium used in a Garden path involves much lifting, bending, and carrying of materials, so a few extra hands never hurt. They need not be skilled hands, just willing to get a little dirty. Choose a start day that local weather is cooperative, start work early and plan on staying late. Taking frequent rest breaks and keeping a positive attitude can make the project feel more like a social occasion rather than back-breaking labor. Incorporate the ideas of participants and present an open mind, something you never thought or read of may be a brilliant addition.
In personal experience it would occur that financial considerations are the most pressing when choosing design and materials, What may be the most stylish and attractive may be unreasonable in terms of expense, as well as requiring special skills a homeowner does not possess. I’ve narrowed my list for the top 5 materials for a Garden Path to the following:
1) Gravel – Available in a variety of sizes and colors it is easy to level, cost is moderate, and does not require skill to install. Maintenance is little more than raking or pulling an occasional weed. It has some give to it, which is great if there are children or seniors frequenting the property, in case of accidental falls.
A drawback to gravel is if you live in an area with extreme rain storms it can tend to move a little.
2) Limestone – Basically the same traits as Gravel, with a slightly different look and price structure.
3) Garden Concrete Molds – These are usually plastic molds that lay on the ground, get filled with concrete, and when they dry leave a beautiful impression of things like cobblestone or other decorative imprints. While these are very attractive, it’s a good idea to know a little about mixing concrete prior to starting. You can learn this at a local home improvement store, as poorly mixed concrete will not last very long. If going this route try to stay away from ready mixes and go for good old fashioned PortlandCement. Colorant may be added to the mix to customize the project to fit your personal style. Cost for this project is reasonable, it is a little more labor intensive, but if done properly it gives great results.
4) Field Stone – The most rustic and durable material for a Garden Path, Field Stone works for a $500,000 home as well as a fishing cabin. If deciding on this medium, it is best to have a small truckload delivered due to weight. Spread the stones out and you can design a wonderful color scheme one stone at a time. The spaces between the stones can be filled with dirt, sand, gravel, or left as raised relief. Cost can be a little elevated if you buy the really colorful stones, and a fair amount of muscle is required for installation. The results will last for many generations, and is effort well spent.
5) Brick or Slab Concrete – While giving a more clean and linear appearance, these can be costly if covering a large area. The ability to use a level and preparation of foundation takes careful attention. The bricks or slabs can settle leaving a very wavy path, and present a dangerous trip hazard. This project requires an attention to detail, and workman’s desire for craftsmanship.
A final word of advice on Garden Paths – listen to your inner voice! If you think it looks amateurish or ugly, it probably is. Borders for Garden Paths can be a great addition if utilized well or a visual eyesore if chosen haphazardly. Many times a border is not even necessary, use your best judgment.