Whether leading to your front door or meandering to a favorite bench, pathways can offer both function and beauty. These walkways can also be designed to fit your personal aesthetics and budget. In fact, function, budget, and aesthetics are the primary factors we consider when helping you decide which path materials may be best for your home. Here are a few of the most common pathways we at Blessing Landscapes install for our clients.
The most popular material for front entries and pathways leading to patios are concrete pavers. With dozens of options of size, shape, texture, and color, concrete pavers offer durability, ease of use, and good looks. We like the flexibility of pavers, in that they can complement any style of home and lend themselves well to angular or curvilinear shaped paths. Unlike concrete, there is no concern that the pathway may develop jagged cracks over time. We typically recommend a generous width of 5 feet for front entry walkways, and other paths are typically most comfortable around 3 feet wide.
Beautiful, durable, and often lending a more upscale look, natural flagstone is one of the most expensive path options. Due to the unique shape of each piece, setting flagstones takes more time than any of the other pathway materials we offer. Some clients may prefer a more rustic look with each stone retaining its natural shape, while others favor a more formal approach where the stones are cut to shape for tight joints and smooth borders. Either way, we take care to ensure each stone is stable and even, so there are no opportunities for catching a toe. There are many different types of flagstone available, and Blessing Landscapes can help you find the right fit for your landscape.
Stepping stone pathways are a lower profile walkway option and can use flagstones or concrete pavers. We space our stepping stones at an optimal distance apart to comfortably fit people’s average stride. Stepping stone paths can meander through lawn, synthetic grass, mulch, or even across dry creek beds and streams. Since the materials are not continuous, these walkways offer savings over the solid paver and flagstone path options mentioned above.
Because they look great and can accommodate most budgets, gravel paths are one of Blessing Landscapes’ favorite options for clients looking for value. We most commonly install ¼” minus gravel for our pathways, because it compacts nicely and doesn’t move underfoot. Unlike a pea gravel path, our crushed gravel walkways won’t leave you feeling like you’re trudging across sand dunes, and wheeled items such as trash cans or wheel barrows can easily move across. At 4 inches thick, our paths look great for years, and metal edging helps keep them tidy with defined borders. For a more natural look and cost savings, gravel pathways can be installed without trim too.
If you’re simply looking to keep your feet out of the soil, a cedar chip path can be an affordable way to do so. Similar to our gravel paths, we excavate 4 inches and install our cedar chip paths above landscape fabric to ensure the materials don’t migrate down into the soil below. This can be a great low-budget option to consider.
What do you think about decomposed granite with stabilizer.
Decomposed granite can work great but in the PNW we typically don’t recommend it. The rain we get tends to make it mushy and grow weeds. It also tracks on shoes easily. Stabilizer can be a good solution, but in our experience it isn’t sustainable. With foot traffic and our rains, it eventually fails and will need to be reapplied. It’s better suited for arid climates. For those reasons, we recommend 1/4″ minus gravel.
Will the cedar chips wash out during a heavy rain? Especially on a slight slope?
Thank you so much for your excellent question. We excavate our paths approximately 4″ before installing the wood chips. This helps the pathways stay tidier, but because cedar chips are light-weight, they can be more prone to washing away during heavy rains. Compacted gravel may be a better option for sloped areas.