A path leading somewhere? Paths should lead somewhere. A destination is important. Every garden path must lead somewhere or they will not be used and they must take a good route or again, they will not be used.
When designing a garden Caroline Garland of Caroline Garland Garden Design , one of the leading garden designers in South London, is inclined to put clients off having a path unless they really want one or unless there is a destination that requires a path to get to it – a seating area, a shed, a vegetable patch, a garden office. But if it is a path with no particular purpose except to get to, perhaps some flowerbeds further down the garden or to a children’s play area, it is better to advise against.
It is very difficult to get a stepping stone path with the right stride – a man’s stride generally being longer than a women’s for instance. The path above is pushing the individual to make a journey that they probably don’t want to make – it would be so much easier to walk in a straight line across the lawn to the shed. It is debatable whether this path is ever really going to be used successfully.
A path can be expensive to lay, depending on the materials used (stone being the most expensive of course), they seldom work well as they can become slippery and they can very often break up the garden in a rather unsatisfactory way.
However an attractive path can add value to a garden if it runs along the edge of a border for instance. It is useful to access the flower beds and with arches or trees running along the side it can look lovely. The destination in this case being a further seating area and a raised vegetable patch.
If you have a seating area at the end of the garden it would seem to be sensible to have a path to get to it, but equally it can be rather nice to walk across the lawn. In the photo above the path skirts the edge of the lawn straight from the steps out of the house and so it makes sense to have a gravel path but in the photograph below there is no obvious route from the house.
This garden has a circular seating area for a kadai fire bowl but with no path leading to it. There is no obvious direct route to make a path in this example and it is likely that if there were a prescribed path it would break up the lovely large lawn and no-one would use it anyway!
This little stepping stone path, made from the finest limestone, is purely decorative. The garden is tiny and needed something to anchor the patio to the second seating area. There is a destination and in this case it doesn’t matter whether the stride works or not as it is so short.
Here is a lovely wide limestone path. This garden is all about the path and it IS leading somewhere. It is the essence of the garden. The garden is long and thin with wide flower beds either side. This path is good looking, wide and with a seating destination at the end of it. Garden designers are taught that a path should be wide enough for two people to walk down it side by side! Roughly 1.2 metres.
This path draws your eye down to the end of the garden making you want to walk down it. So often the path in a garden is not inviting and the journey is never made so having a seating area at the end of the garden becomes a redundant space.
This path is leading somewhere. It is there to purposefully break up two large areas of lawned garden. There is a bench which is the focal point between the two lawns and in this case the path leads directly from the house so it is likely that the path will be used successfully.
However there is something to be said for the meandering brick path… if there is an interesting journey along the way…