When designing your landscape, it’s so easy to get focused on built-in barbecues, swimming pools and other big-frills landscaping. It’s important however to remember the unsung hero of your landscape: your walkways.
Walkways don’t just get you from point A to point B; they also provide opportunities to create focal and other points of interest in the yard while facilitating flow throughout your property.
At GreenPro we like to take a full view of our clients’ property and landscapes, so whatever we design is in line with your property’s design philosophy or overall aesthetic. That includes all hardscapes throughout the property – especially walkways. Maybe you want to redesign your walkways, or install them for the first time. Fortunately, homeowners have a variety of material choices, color combinations and designs to choose from when designing and complementing your landscape.
It’s important however to be mindful to ask yourself some honest and important questions throughout the planning process. Good questions include:
- Will people be walking side-by-side?
- Will kids be using bikes and trikes or will I be wheeling trash cans over it?
- How much traffic will the walkway receive each day?
- How visible is the walkway from the street or main areas of the backyard?
- Are there points of interest along the walkway for guests to enjoy?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start to review the different options of material available for you. Fortunately, there are several alternatives as you think through the materials you may want to use, each with their own positives and negatives.
Clay Brick Pavers
Clay bricks have been used in landscaping for centuries; as a result, they often feature prominently in the yards of historical homes and districts. A red brick walkway adds a sense of age and elegance to a home while offering excellent durability and more flexibility because brick is less sensitive to cracking and individual bricks can be popped out for repair with relative ease.
Traditional red bricks are made from clay in red, orange and brown hues that provide a pop of color that contrasts nicely with green lawns and colorful landscaping.
Adding a quick dry-laid brick walkway is an easy DIY project, because it involves merely laying bricks on top of sand and gravel without mixing cement. Use tumbled or recycled brick for a rustic look or lay them in interesting patterns like herringbone, basket weave, runner and more.
Depending on the look you’re going for, concrete pavers that look a lot like clay bricks are on the market and can be installed with greater ease, due to their interlocking nature (versus setting individual bricks in mortar).
Two big benefits of using gravel as a walkway material: It’s easy to lay, and inexpensive. All you need to do is identify where you’d like your walkway, lay down some landscape fabric (to avoid weeds) and pile on the gravel, however, to prevent the gravel from spreading you’ll need to install some kind of edging if you don’t already have one. Plastic edging is the most inexpensive choice but you could use paving stones, brick pavers or even larger rocks to contain the gravel.
When selecting the actual stones, smaller ones tend to be easier to walk on because they pack down together nicely. If you are laying a large gravel path, take the measurements to your gravel supplier to have them calculate how much you will need to purchase and save some headaches by having it delivered.
Natural stone is a beautiful option for a walkway as each stone is unique in color, design and shape, but get ready for some maintenance as stone, like slate, can chip if exposed to moisture. Remember, all outdoor stone will be rained on or the beneficiary of irrigation overspray at some point so plan on sealing it frequently.
Flagstone is a popular choice because it’s fairly durable and withstands extremes in temperature from freezing to very hot, but it’s very heavy so you’ll need assistance with placing large stones. Flagstone also provides a naturally slip-resistant finish and can be dry-laid, but slate tiles need to be set on mortar and grouted in.
If you’re pouring a concrete patio already, it may make sense to go ahead and pour concrete walkways as well because there are a myriad of color and texture choices available by using stamped or colored concrete.
Despite ease of installation, concrete slab walkways required maintenance as you’ll need to seal them regularly to keep water out and be diligent about removing concrete stains as it is a porous material.
Concrete will also crack over time which is a fact that homeowners must get used to, though it’s easy to sweep or hose clean and ride tricycles on. Keep in mind that if considering stamped concrete, using concrete pavers may cost the same as a poured concrete walkway.
Interlocking Concrete Pavers
A concrete paver is a practical and attractive option for walkways and other hardscape areas like patios. A concrete paver patio system is more expensive than poured concrete but can be designed in more interesting and comfortable ways. It can be less expensive than many large natural stones and can look just as nice while having much more functionality, such as a flat surface. Concrete pavers are modular (typically interlocking) which means that DIYers love them and repairs are less-complicated because they can be popped out. Due to the interlocking structure, pavers give homeowners the ability to easily create curved and more decorative walkways with hundreds of different combinations of colors, styles, sizes, thicknesses, patterns, and textures. We specialize in paver design and install, having access to premium quality materials and following best practices so they can last decades.
For the avid gardener, adding walkways makes the hard work of digging, planting and designing your dream garden so much more enjoyable. Evening strolls at dusk can add a zen-like quality to your backyard that you didn’t have before! If you long to stroll through your property on a garden path, call us today! A GreenPro specialist will work with your plans and ideas to carefully craft a design that matches your hopes and dreams.