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6 best garden pathways for all types of outdoor spaces

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Garden pathways are an easy way to add character and functionality to your outdoor space. Not only do they provide a clear walkway, but they also serve as a decorative element that can tie your garden together.

With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the best one for your garden. From natural stone to pavers and even gravel, there's a pathway out there for every style, budget, and amount of free time you have.

Whether you're looking for a rustic, elegant, or low-maintenance option, there's something here for you.

Brick garden pathways

If the color and texture of natural red brick are your style, then this garden pathway idea is for you. You’ll add instant warmth to your space and have a garden path that’s comfortable to walk on, too. Look for old bricks if you can. You’ll get more depth of color and different textures than if you buy them all new. Plus, they’ll be cheaper.


Stepping stone garden pavers

Pavers turn your garden path into an instant game of ‘Floor is Lava’. What kid wouldn’t love that?! They also add a whimsical charm to any outdoor space. You can separate the stone pavers with wood chips or mulch or add stone gravel in between. If you want an overgrown look, let the grass grow between each of the pavers.


Pea gravel garden paths

Depending on how much traffic your garden path is going to get, gravel (like the pea gravel shown here) might be your best bet. These tiny little stones pack down nicely, making them comfortable to walk on, and are great for keeping weeds out of the path.

I prefer gravel because it also makes the garden path practical — I can roll a wheelbarrow over it without tipping over. That’s not easily done with stone pavers or wood chips.


Large stone tile garden path

This garden path idea reminds me instantly of old English estates. To do this yourself, look for large stone tiles made from natural materials in light, neutral colors — the more uneven, the better. Lay them closely together, but leave enough space for moss to grow between them, giving you the feeling that they’ve been there for centuries.


Winding stone path

This garden path idea is similar to the stone pavers, but they’re placed much closer together. I chose this image for inspiration because of how the path moves and winds with the garden. It’s not a straight line. The organic shape and movement they’ve used to lay these large stones make you want to explore and journey deep into the garden. This is an inviting trick to bring depth and mystery into your outdoor space.


Laid brick garden path

Here’s another example of bricks used to make a garden path. Notice the difference in this pattern compared to the first example. It’s much more uniform and doesn't take attention away from the flowers. That’s worth noting — the more extravagant you make your path, the more attention it will get. How much do you want to share with your garden flowers?

Need help laying your own path? Here's how we did it in our garden.

The best type of gravel for your walkway

When it comes to what to put down on your walkway, there are a few options to choose from, like crushed gravel, crushed limestone, pea rock, washed gravel, crushed stone, stone flour or crushed shells.

You can always go with wood chips or bark, but I prefer some type of gravel.

We’re currently building a few garden paths here at The Perennial Garden, and we’re going with stone flour. It's a very finely ground stone that forms powdery dust. Once it’s wet, it sets into a hard, walkable material that keeps weeds out, and it's hard enough to roll a wheelbarrow over (very important in our garden).

If you want a path that's a bit more formal and long-lasting, go for the washed gravel, crushed stone, or shells. These materials don't need much upkeep and only need a little weeding to keep them looking great. And if you want to be able to push a wheelbarrow or lawn mower along the path, crushed stone or stone flour is your best bet — anything with big pieces in it will be hard to roll over.

Smaller stones are the best for walking paths because they're comfier on bare feet and pack together well.

To figure out how much stone or gravel you need, multiply the length and width of your path and head to the store. Take that measurement (your square meters or feet) and let the pros at the store help.

Gravel paths do have their cons. Tiny stones and pebbles can get carried into your house, and it’s not super easy to shovel snow off of gravel, either.

For the most part, however, gravel and stone make excellent garden pathway materials. What's your go-to garden pathway material? Let me know in the comments below.


Welcome to my garden

Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

Thanks for joining me as I share tips and inspiration for perennial gardening. 

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