Find some inspiration for your yard with one of these beautiful garden path ideas and learn which ones will fit your budget and which ones will break your back.
Garden Path Ideas
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I have to admit I am WAY behind on my garden upkeep this year.
So to make sure that I get going on it, I’ve started a new routine of going out to do an hour’s worth of gardening before I go to work in the morning. And I have to say the new process is working…I am definitely making some headway in my war against weeds!
It’s also got me thinking about some of the areas in my yard that need an overhaul (like that back corner where I’m still planning on creating a Japanese garden).
The big problem area is the path that leads from my backdoor to the shed. Now that I have to use it every day, it has suddenly become a priority ?
I’ve been trying to decide what to do with this path to make it easy to navigate (I’m always pushing a wheelbarrow or pulling a wagon down it), and easy to maintain. And of course, I want it to look good…and hopefully not cost too much…
Here’s my list of garden path ideas that may be my next outdoor DIY project.
1. Mulch Garden Path
Mulch is what I have on my the path to my shed now. I love the way mulch walkways look, especially in informal, wooded areas like this one. Maybe if my path looked like this, I wouldn’t be wanting to change it 🙂
Mulch garden paths are really easy and relatively inexpensive way to create a pathway. Put down some landscape fabric, spread the mulch over and you’re done.
I like it, but you do have to replace the mulch every year or two. And when you put a fresh batch down, it’s hard to wheel over until it gets beat down a bit.
Plus, the weeds seem to think the mulch on my garden path is the perfect place to grow, so I’m always having to pull them.
2. Gravel Garden Path
Gravel is another option on my list of garden path ideas. It’s suitable for pretty much any kind of garden, and is easy to make into any shape you want.
Like mulch, gravel walkways are relatively easy to install.
They are a little more work than mulch because I would need to install some barriers along the pathway to keep the gravel in place (like the rocks in this picture or the pavers in the one above).
But other than, it is about the same installation process as mulch.
Unlike mulch, it doesn’t need to be replaced often and would be harder for weeds to grow in, so it has a couple of extra advantages.
On the con side, I’m not sure how easy it would be to push a wheelbarrow over.
And plain gravel definitely wouldn’t suit my bare foot lifestyle. I walk around the yard without shoes on a lot of the time…so I guess that’s another requirement I should add to my list.
However I do like these walkways that have stepping stones in the middle of the gravel. Maybe that’s the way to go?
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3. Grass Walkway
Covering the entire path area in grass is the third possibility on my list of garden path ideas. I always think grass pathways look so inviting.
Creating a grass pathway is not as labor intensive (or as expensive) as some of the other options on the list. Bringing in some top soil and putting sod down is about the extent of the installation effort. And this walkway would definitely be great for walking on with bare feet.
Except that Winston (that’s my dog) might decide it’s a good bathroom area, which is not so good for bare feet ? And I’m pretty sure the same weeds that grow up through my mulch would still be an issue.
Not to mention that I would have to cut this grass pathway…and edge it…and water it. In other words, there’s quite a lot of maintenance involved in maintaining a grass walkway.
4. Flagstone Pathway
Can I just say that I love flagstone walkways? I love how they can turn any old garden path into a romantic garden walkway so I have to include them on my list of garden path ideas.
In fact, I love them so much that most of the other garden paths in my yard are made of flagstone. The sidewalks on both sides of my house are flagstone, as is the walkway through my front garden, and the patio and walkways extending from the deck in the backyard.
Apparently, the love of flagstones runs in the family, because my mother has them throughout her garden, too.
Flagstone walkways are durable and don’t require much maintenance (especially now that I have this awesome weed torch*…it’s the best weed killer for pathways and patios ever!)
Once they’re settled, they’re pretty good for rolling over with carts and things, although they are not totally level, so not quite as easy to navigate as something flat would be.
Having installed all of those flagstone pathways and patios, I can say for a fact that they are not the easiest walkway material to put in! At least if you want them to be level.
Since they are natural stone, flagstones aren’t a uniform thickness and size so there’s a lot of taking them up and putting them back down again to get them set properly. And they are definitely more expensive than a lot of the other options on the list.
5. DIY Flagstone Garden Path
I saw this DIY flagstone mold* back when I owned my first house and didn’t have enough money to buy real flagstones.
I bought one to create a small flagstone patio and then ended up moving before I had a chance to use it. And I’ve been looking for a reason to try them ever since!
I still think they are a good idea if you want the look of flagstones but not the price. You can make them in different colors if you want to match your house. And you don’t need to worry about leveling, since the concrete will automatically shape to the contours of the ground.
For me the biggest negative of concrete flagstones is you have to mix your own concrete. It is heavy and pretty messy to work with. And I think it might take a few tries to get the hang of making the tops of these flagstones flat. It’s not an impossible task for sure, but since I have a fairly long path to create, I think I’ll keep these DIY Flagstones in mind for another project.
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6. Brick Garden Pathway
Brick pathways are a traditional option for garden walkways…and for whatever reason I have never installed one.
Bricks have the same positive features as flagstones. They are durable and easy to maintain. And since they’re all the same thickness, they should be easier to install than flagstones.
However, you do need to make sure that your base material is totally level or your walkway will look wavy. Based on the number of wavy brick walkways I’ve seen, I think this must be harder than it sounds ? Bricks can also be fairly expensive.
I also like the idea of having the bricks mingled with some other softer material. In this picture, they used grass, but if it were me, I think I would go with creeping thyme. It smells good when you step on it and is easier to keep under control than grass.
7. Wood Walkway
The next option on my garden path ideas list is wood. I love the idea of having a wood boardwalk in my garden.
A wood path is easy to roll over with a cart, easy on the feet and about middle of the pack when it comes to amount of installation work and expense it requires.
You can even get pre-made wood pathways* now that you can just roll out where you need them. How easy is that?
The main drawback for using wood is the amount of annual maintenance it needs. If you’ve read about my favorite DIY deck cleaning solution, then you’ve seen the “before” pictures of my wood deck in the spring. Enough said!
8. Composite Wood Tile Pathway
Another option to wood is to use composite wood tiles*. It functions the same as wood but doesn’t require the same amount of maintenance.
I actually installed a composite wood tile patio a couple of years ago, so I have some first hand experience with it.
Composite wood tiles are very easy to install (I did my whole patio in less than a day), require very little maintenance and they are flat (so I have no problems rolling the cart across this area).
However, they do have one drawback. Even though I installed a light color to minimize the heat they attract, my composite wood deck tiles get really, really hot in the sun. I definitely cannot walk on them in bare feet (and Winston won’t go on them during the day either). They are also more expensive than regular wood.
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9. DIY Stepping Stone Garden Path
In order to get a pathway that is functional and pretty, I think I may have to combine more than one of my garden path ideas together, like this stepping stone in gravel idea.
Square concrete stepping stones with mulch and grass between them are another option.
However instead of using plain old concrete stepping stones, I think these DIY tile stepping stones from Better Homes and Gardens would be perfect!
I have a whole bunch of leftover tile from previous projects, so I could get it all out of the garage and add some whimsy to my garden path at the same time. Which definitely makes this an inexpensive project!
Most tile gets pretty slippery when it’s wet, so these wouldn’t be a good option for a main walkway. And lugging around all of the concrete blocks to install the tiles on does not sound like a lot of fun ?
10. DIY Pebble Mosaic Walkway
While I’m not sure the path to my shed warrants a garden path that’s this fancy, I love the idea of it! So I just had to include it in my list of garden path ideas.
In case you’re interested, you can find out how to make your own pebble mosaic garden path from Better Homes and Gardens.
Since it’s based in concrete, this mosaic pathway is durable and easy to navigate. And you can make it in whatever pattern or size you want, so it can fit into any garden space.
However, positioning all of those stones in the right pattern is pretty time consuming. So it’s not something I would want to do on a big scale (like my whole walkway). But I’ll have to see if I can fit it in somewhere in my garden!
There you have it…my list of garden path ideas. Now I just have to figure out which one of these I’m going to use for my own garden path inspiration!
Have comments or questions on our garden path ideas? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on July 9, 2018 but was updated with new content on November 20, 2021.