You’ve put time and money into your landscape. Don’t spoil your efforts by walking through your freshly sown grass or blooming garden. Incorporate pathways into your landscape design to guide people through your yard and enhance your home’s curb appeal. When creating a walkway design, consider shape, materials, and dimensions, which can range from basic brick to decorative stone. I’ve found that walkways can be both practical and beautiful with a well thought out plan and a little creativity. You can even build your own pathways with a few common tools, the material of your choice, and some physical effort.
Brick pavers have been used for centuries as a surfacing material. While originally clay-colored and rectangular, today bricks are available in a wide range of colors and shapes. Bricks are made from renewable resources, making them an eco-friendly paving option. They can also last for more than a century. In fact, many homeowners choose to salvage bricks from old buildings for an elegant, antique look.
While fairly resilient, bricks do not always hold up well in extreme temperatures. In freezing conditions that experience periods of repeated thawing, bricks may become delicate and start to crumble. In the fall and winter, bricks can become mossy which increases your risk of falls due to the slick surface of the bricks. In the summer, bricks can become hot making it difficult to walk on them barefoot.
Adding crushed stone to your pathways creates visual appeal without the extensive work required for a more intricate design. Crushed stone is affordable and fairly easy to work with. It’s also long lasting, especially when used in combination with an edging material to keep the stones in place. Crushed stone is low maintenance and only requires the occasional removal of grass, leaves, and debris.
While crushed stone has attractive qualities, it does have some shortcomings. For those who reside in snowy climates, removing snow and ice from a pathway of crushed stone can be difficult and can cause stones to migrate to other parts of the yard. Crushed stone may also shift over time, causing depressions that collect rainwater. Depressions can also cause a safety hazard when walking, especially for young children.
While concrete and asphalt are commonly used for paths, stone offers a more sophisticated take on the modern walkway. With stones, there are infinite design possibilities. Choose from a variety of patterns, shapes, and architectural designs that complement your house style. As stones are highly versatile, they can be used to enhance the area around your pool, sidewalk, garden, or backyard.
While generally low maintenance, stones have some downfalls that you’ll want to consider before making a decision. Natural stone may absorb water, causing it to expand and crack over time. It’s also more expensive to install than other options like concrete. When installing stones, it’s very difficult to achieve a completely flat surface. Unless you hire a professional, you’ll likely have some level of unevenness.