A garden path walkway serves multiple purposes in residential landscape design. It adds curb appeal by bringing a new decorative element to the company. It also preserves the landscape by keeping people off the grass and on a designated transit area devoted exclusively to human foot traffic.
Professional landscaping companies base the designs of garden path walkways on the designs of homes and gardens themselves. Hardscape shape, size, and material constitution either reflect or correlate in a complimentary fashion to the material constitution of the house. The geometric form of the path—be it that of a line, a right angle, an arc, or a meandering progression—accents the geometry of the garden.
It is important to contract a landscaping company to build a garden path walkway because contractors have access to higher grade, commercial materials that are not available through retail channels used by do-it-yourselfers. While it is a fact that different materials can be substituted for others to create a savings for a family, a professional landscaper will never use cheaper grade materials to cut costs on pathway construction.
The diversity of material types used in this form of hardscape design gives the homeowner multiple choices among premium-quality materials that represent marginal investments ranging up to sizeable, high-end purchases. Such materials include, but are not limited to, brick, concrete, gravel, pebbles, natural colored stones, stamped concrete, stained concrete, and stepping stones made of bluestone, flagstone, or sandstone.
Homeowners who want to think about their purchasing options prior to meeting with a landscape designer should keep in mind that any type of stone that must be quarried and polished is going to be more expensive than other materials. Specific costs vary per availability and the finishing processes used to ready the stone for use in construction. The number of individual stones and the labor intensiveness of the project will also have an impact on the final invoice total.
Many who are tempted to shave these costs off their landscaping budget by building a garden path walkway themselves are taking a big risk on detracting from the aesthetic of their vegetation. A disproportionately sized path, or one built with inappropriate materials, may even become an eyesore that ruins the curb appeal of the property.
Walkways designed by professionals do not have this type of negative impact on the landscape. Because they are carefully planned and meticulously built, they unify the manmade and the organic, and they create a symbiosis between hardscape and softscape.
This symbiosis requires more than the right choice in materials to be effective. The size, shape, and direction that the walkway takes have much to do with the impact it has on garden design. In fact, many types of gardens, such as Italian gardens and French gardens, use established linear patterns to create boundaries and fix areas of interest. Garden path walkways in these design styles run parallel to borders as bisecting axes.
In very large gardens on large estates, they may also cross corners diagonally to break up the vegetation into less intimidated, intimate zones of interest.
Please be aware that not all garden path walkways must be linear in nature. Some garden designs, such as English gardens and contemporary gardens, use on radial arcs, semicircles, circles, and expanding spirals to establish tone and mood. Walkways in these areas must follow these movements so a visitor can physically experience the progression of the garden by literally walking out its design pattern.
Meandering paths and serpentine walkways are ideal for this. They help create a sense of expansiveness, mystery, and personal journey as one travels from one part of the garden to another.
Once completed, these garden path walkways need professional landscape lighting. This involves not only lighting the path, but the garden itself, nearby trees, and outdoor buildings. Lighting a garden path makes it safe and comfortable for foot traffic at night and it makes it easier to enjoy the landscape regardless of natural light levels.