Get on the Path to a Great Garden

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flagstone path

The garden path is one of the most important parts of the home garden. Well designed garden paths guide visitors purposefully around a garden and lead to interesting plants and garden features. The structure paths provide by outlining beds and the sense of space the walks create is an integral part of garden design.

garden path

Developing garden paths that provide interest in the garden requires some conceptual thinking. One must consider the views from the walk first and foremost. Paths should meander and bend blocking off some views while exposing others. Paths should be wide enough for two people if possible.

mossy path

To prevent garden walks from becoming muddy tracks paths should be mulched with some inert material. River pebbles, gravel, wood chips and sawdust are just some of the many choices available to gardeners. It helps to hard pack soil to form paths then cover with mulching material.

Borders of stone, brick or steel edging can be utilized to outline the walks and to keep the path material separated from flower bed mulch. Field stones, logs, recycled bricks are all ‘found items’ that can be recycled into path borders.

garden path

Low-growing plants can be planted along and even in the paths to provide botanical interest. Plant for seasonal interest. Below are a select few low growing plants for paths:

‘Candy Stripe’ Thrift – Phlox subulata
‘Pink Chintz’ Thyme- Thymus serpyllum
Creeping Lemon Thyme – Thymus x citriodorus
‘Fire Witch’ Dianthus – Dianthus sp.
Dwarf Mondograss – Ophiopogon japonicas ‘Nana’
Creeping Jenny – Lysimachi nummularia ‘Aurea’
Yellow Moss – Sedum sarmentosum
Lemon Thyme –

Here is a list of cottage garden plants that can be utilized along paths:

Flowers – Agastache, allium, amaranthus, hollyhock, anemone, angelonia, aster, ornamental kale and swiss chard, celosia, chrysanthemum, clematis vine, cleome, smokebush, crocosmia, dahlia, delphinium, echinacea, lilly, poppy, euphorbia, fritillaria, glandularia, hibiscus, ornamental sweet potato, kniphophia, purple hyacinth bean vine, moonflower vine, ornamental gourds, lavendar, sweet pea vine, lupine, lycoris, oxalis, peony, passion flower vine, pennisetum grass, phlox, castor bean, black-eyed susan, salvia, leeks, coleus, goldenrod, thyme, nasturtium, verbena, zinnia

Wildflower seed mix – baby’s breath, dwarf cornflower/bachelor button, five spot, lemon mint, African daisy, sweet alyssum, toadflax, tall cornflower/bachelor button, red corn poppy, lance leaf coreopsis, mixed red poppy, wild cosmos, California poppy, blanketflower, black-eyed susan, wild perennial lupine, purple coneflower, coreopsis, Siberian wallflower, blue flax, scarlet flax, Drummond phlox, sulphur/orange cosmos, gloriosa daisy

Examples of different types of garden paths:

mossy path moss and path stone path and moss small bridge on path a more formal path gravel garden path steps in garden path gravel path stone path through garden stone steps woodland path mountain garden path path on slope flagstone path flagstone path