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Garden path ideas

Sometimes it’s the smallest of touches that can make a big difference to our outside space. Gardens are amazing places to come home to. They’re a source of tranquillity, beauty, and productivity for most people.

One thing that can take away from the serenity of your garden is if you have to walk on muddy grass or in the dirt when you enter your property or move around your garden. If this sounds like something you’ve experienced before, then it’s time to build yourself a pathway!

Whether you’re in the process of re-landscaping your garden or simply looking for ways to make small improvements that work on a smaller budget, a garden path is often a good place to start.

And why we hear you ask? When you think of a garden, one of the first features that comes to mind may not necessarily be the path. But a garden path plays both a key aesthetic and function role in most outdoor spaces.

Not only does it provide a connection between different zones in your garden but it can also create a sense of balance, a visual focal point and even a border around your garden. Whether it’s winding through the plants and flowers or leading up to your front door, paths are an integral part of the majority of garden designs.

garden path timber

Garden path design ideas

So, with all this talk of garden paths, in this blog, we’re exploring how you can use different materials to create a garden path that works for the design, look and feel of your garden space. And with the winter season drawing in, it’s a great project that can be done at this time of year.

With so many different materials and styles available, there are countless ways you can create your own unique path in your garden. So, if you’re redesigning your outdoor space or simply want to give your garden some well-needed TLC, we’re here to provide you with some inspiration. From traditional styles, to out the box ideas, explore different ways to create a garden path in front or back garden.

Choosing the perfect garden pathway design

First things first, you’ll need to consider exactly what you want and need from your garden path. Everyone’s garden is different in both style and functionality. In order to handpick the right materials for your re-pathing project, take some to consider some of these factors:

Pathway functionalityHow much do you want to spend on your garden path?

What’s your budget? The age-old question, but an important one.

Get an idea of how much you’re willing to spend on creating a new garden path so that you find materials that work realistically with your budget.

Also, don’t forget to factor in any long-term costs associated with maintenance. Thankfully, this blog article features a range of both budget-friendly as well as more luxurious options to meet a range of budgets.

How much time are you willing to put into maintenance?

You just can’t overcome the natural elements. As with anything within the outdoors, over time, wind, rain, tree debris, fungus and insects can affect the design, appearance and stability of landscape features.

In order to maintain the look and long-term quality of our gardens, it’s important to set aside some time for maintenance and the same goes for a garden path. The choice of the materials used and the style of your garden path will influence how much of a shift you’ll have to put into the maintenance to keep your garden pathway looking in tip-top condition all year round.

De-weeding, sweeping and even pressuring washing are some of the most common maintenance requirements of garden pathways.

What sort of materials and overall style are you going for?

Consider how you’d like your garden pathway to look and how it will complement your overall garden design. Whilst garden paths are generally used for a functional purpose, they can be designed to serve as more of an entrance or decorative display.

The material you choose will depend on the kind of look you want for your space. A well-designed path can make any outdoor area feel inviting and comfortable while creating a sense of flow through the landscape.

You may be going for a more traditional, country garden or perhaps something a little more modern. There are plenty of materials to choose from when it comes to achieving your desired look.

The colour of the material will also impact how well your path blends with its surroundings – for example, grey or dark brown tones work particularly well if you want your path to blend in with surrounding features such as trees and shrubs whilst lighter sandy, golden tones and natural colours will make your pathways stand out more, grabbing more attention and acting as a focal feature.

3 different materials to create a garden path

Shingle, stones and gravel walkways

shingle path

A classic, yet a firm favourite amongst so many. Shingles, stones and pebbles are a superb choice if you’re trying to create a garden pathway that looks great and offers functional purpose. Many create shingle paths in their back gardens as well as around the exterior of their property.

There are many benefits of opting for shingle as your chosen pathway material. When installed well, shingle offers superb drainage which is ideal if your outdoor space is susceptible to lots of ground moisture.

How to:

You’ll find that the smaller the shingle, the easier the surface is to walk on. And of course, the deeper the layer of shingle, the more unstable the surface is underfoot. That’s why it’s important to find a good level of coverage when creating a shingle path but also to get your prep work in first to ensure a smooth, weed-free finish.

Other materials you’re likely to need include type 1 and ballast as well as a weed membrane to support drainage and keep weeds a bay. You may also use shingle and stones in conjunction with larger paving slabs. This is a good way to get a good balance between a solid surface, whilst achieving a softer, more natural look.

As with anything, the size and scale will impact the likely cost to install a shingle path. However, it is a relatively budget-friendly pathway option that is highly versatile, easy to maintain and long-lasting.

shingle and paving


Now when you first think about sleepers and their uses in the garden, a garden path may not necessarily be the first thing that springs to mind.

However, using sleepers to create a pathway is a superb way to add some personality and charm to your property. The beauty of using sleepers is that they can be sunk into the ground and spaced out to create a stepping stone-style pathway. And because they’re pretty heavy duty, they have the advantage of being long-lasting and tough with wear and tear.

You could think of this approach as a more rustic version of a stepping stone pathway. Place flat pieces of wood across your lawn so that it looks like you’re walking over planks of wood – this is especially effective if you have natural features like hills or ponds in your garden because it will show off those features better than other types of paths do.

They also work well if you don’t want to lose too much lawn space. You can create a garden pathway that is far more subtle and whilst adding little dabbles of character.

How to:

sleeper pathway

Sleepers can be cut to any length that you like and arranged in a fashion that works with your space.

It’s easy enough to do. You’ll need some sleepers, a sheet of weed membrane, a space and of course a saw to cut your sleepers to length. You may also wish to use some ballast or shingle to even out the ground underneath each sleeper. Don’t forget that as a timber product, over time, moisture can affect the quality, so aim to ensure a good level of drainage underneath the sleeper bed so that water doesn’t pool at the edges and cause accelerated erosion.

When it comes to weed growth, the sleepers tend to provide a pretty good obstacle for new growth. However, you may find that you need to pull out a few weeds from time to time.

In terms of maintenance, the sleepers will need to be swept, washed down and maybe even treated occasionally to avoid the surface from becoming slippery underfoot. This will also help to maintain their overall appearance. You may also wish to add some anti-slip strips.

Sleepers are available in a range of styles to suit different budgets. For a more rustic look, opt for tropical hardwood sleepers and for warmer, sandy tones, French Oak Sleepers look the part and offer great durability.

sleepers on grass pathway

Decking pathways

decking boards

Do you need to make a pathway in your garden but aren’t so keen on spending the time or money on fitting paving stones? Consider decking. Decking out your pathway is a brilliant way to spruce up the look of your garden.

It can be installed at ground level or raised to add extra body and depth through your garden. The benefit of raising the decking off the ground is that you’ll experience fewer weeds if you prepare the surface underneath correctly.

It also serves as an excellent, affordable option for those who are on a budget and want their home’s exterior looking beautiful without breaking the bank. There are so many different types of decking boards to choose from. They come in a variety of different colours, textures, and thicknesses; there’s even one that looks like natural stone!

The best part about using decking as a pathway is that if you take care of it, it lasts for a long time. Occasional sweeping and pressure washing is required of most decks, and annual treatment will help to keep the deck looking fresh and bright for longer.

Plus, it can be installed quickly and easily by any DIY-er with basic tools! Read our decking installation guide here.

decking pathway

For more garden inspirations, click here.

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