Fun, Easy Do-It-Yourself Paths: From Gravel to Flagstone

Posted by on Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 9:21pm.

Stone Garden Path

If there is something that will give you more access to your yard, make it look prettier, and give you a fun project for a few Saturdays, it's creating a path. Paths can come in many different shapes and sizes and you can put them nearly anywhere: front yards, back yards, in the garden. You can have paths professionally put in by landscapers if you prefer or you can look to purchase a home with a path already artistically put in. Putting a path in to spruce up an otherwise common yard isn't a bad idea for home sellers, either. Regardless, one doesn't need a reason to start working on their path besides the desire to increase the appeal of the house's surroundings--here are a few ideas for you to start thinking about what you want.

1. Leveling and Weed Barriers
Leveling the area for your path is optional, but usually makes the path look more clean cut and its smoothness prevents tripping hazards. There are several different ways to level the ground for your potential path (do a quick search and you'll find them), just as long as you get it done-- that is the important part. This won't be necessary in all yards.

After you have leveled the area, you can lay down a weed barrier. A weed barrier is a type of porous paper or mesh that you lay under or around your landscaping to prevent weeds from growing. Depending on what type of garden or yard path you are making, you may want to consider laying down some sort of weed barrier to make things easier on you later--less weed pulling and a better looking path. Weed barriers do not work under grass, though.

2. Short Grass
The simplest path you can create in your yard, if you have grass, is to cut it shorter than the grass around it. This easily overlooked idea is best if you line the walkway with small decorative rocks so it looks intentional, not like a bad hair cut. You can do this in a straight line or cut it in a more creative path. Get creative with it.

3. Gravel
Small GardenAnother very simple pathway idea is to buy gravel and just lay it a few inches thick where you want your walk way. The main concern with this idea is that the gravel can spread wider than your desired path. To contain it, you can buy concrete edging or wooden poles or something else to line your path, keeping your gravel where you want it. You can use weed barriers under the gravel to prevent weed growth if you wish.

A note about gravel: with almost any other pathway design you can use gravel or another small, loose material (like bark or fractured shale) is an option to fill in gaps between steps. Gravel is a useful all-around tool.

4. Grass Designs
Now, this is a fun creative way to make your path: by using sod rolls and concrete squares, or gravel or whatever you are using, you can make different patterns for your path. For example: if you cut one foot by one foot squares of sod and lie them down, corner to corner, and fill the extra space with your concrete or gravel-- voila-- you have an environmentally friendly checkerboard pathway!

You can do other things as well to satisfy creative urges. Maybe you like polka dots; you could cut circles out of your sod, lie them down where you want your path, and then fill the rest with gravel. By using the same principles you now have a polka path!

5. Concrete Squares and Bricks
These are common ways to create great paths that aren't overly showy. You can get any number of different blocks and bricks and squares at your local hardware store. These can be laid out in any design or pattern you like. You can fill in the spaces also. One clever thing you can do with your brick path is to buy some other bricks or rocks of a contrasting color and use those to line the path. With some work, a quite eye-pleasing design can be composed.

6. Flagstone
Flagstone, quite attractive mix-matched stone paths are much like using bricks and concrete-- but, it's a bit more difficult. The pieces will come in different shapes that you will need to fit the pieces together like a puzzle. Since this will give you gaps in certain places, you may want to consider using concrete or sand to fill in the spaces. You just need to add a little bit between the stones to keep them together. Sand is a bit of an easier option. You can broom it into the cracks. 

7. Wood
There are many different things you can do with wood; it just depends on your resources. If you have railroad ties, you can lie them in the ground until they are flush to create a simple walking path. You can also take some wood and create boxes for steps and fill them with gravel. Your possibilities with wood are almost endless.

These are just a few different ideas you can use when creating a path for a yard or garden. Always remember to have fun and be safe with your work. You won't be able to picture your yard without your path after you've completed it!

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