Create a Garden Pathway

garden pathway

This garden pathway adds texture and interest to a tiny garden lined with Tropicanna cannas

Thinking about adding a pathway to your garden? The steps to installing a garden pathway are in more ways than one, the same: lay your path, measure the length, ensure no irrigation utilities lie in the area, remove existing sod and soil, compact the soil, place a border, lay out the design pattern, so on and so forth.

But what if you’ve decided to break free from the norm and wanted something just a teeny bit unconventional for your pathway? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered!

Stepping Stone Pathway

An easy and budget-friendly way to install a garden pathway is through stepping-stone paths. Not only is it inexpensive, it’s also the fastest to build because very little digging is involved.

The most ideal stones to use are those that measure 18 inches across and are about 2 inches thick, they must be flat of course. Stepping stone pathway is affordable because your stone will cover a large area, which means you don’t have to buy too many except if you’re building a long pathway.

Stone garden path and walkways

Stone walkway is set off nicely by landscape plantings. Photos courtesy of Casa Serena Landscape Designs LLC in Las Cruces, NM

To build a stepping-stone path, you will have to arrange them with a distance of 20 – 25” in between (that’s from one stone’s centre to another). Set them in place, then using a rock saw or spade cut around the edges. Lift the stones and dig out the grass and soil, it’s up to you how deep you would want to set them. Make levelling fast and easy by spreading at least ½ – 1” thick of sand under the stones.

Don’t forget to set your stones 1” above soil level. This will give you a dry place to step into while you run a lawn mower over your path.

One key advantage to building a stone pathway is you can customize to your own liking. Hand-made stepping stones for instance, add a personal touch to your garden. Mosaic patterns are also a great option but you have to be careful as they become slippery when wet.

gravel pathway

Crushed gravel paths intersect this hillside garden, designed by Grace Design Associates, Santa Barbara, CA.

Mulch and Gravel Pathway

Create an informal and easy-to-maintain pathway with mulch and gravel. These two are most probably the cheapest path materials you can find and purchase.

To build mulch and gravel paths, start by removing grass on the area. You will need a gas-powered cutter for long paths while for short paths, a garden spade will do. Set the edging at least 1 inch above the fill material. Using a space stick, cut to the width of the path. This will serve as your guide when you set the border.

Next, cover the soil with landscape fabric to prevent the fill material from mixing with the soil. This also helps to deter the weeds. If you want a firm mulch and gravel pathway, use crushed stone and compress it after leveling.

garden paths and walkways

This gravel/stone path at Johns Hopkins public gardens in the UK mixes various colors of stone and gravel to create a more interesting and softer look


stone pathway

Complex Stone path way that incorporates round stones of various colors and sizes.

Other Ways to Create a Garden Pathway

There are yet other ways to build you garden pathway using materials that provide both function and aesthetics.

garden pathway

Small stone pathway flanked by small ornamental grasses offers an invitation to sit and relax a while!

If you want a formal and clean-looking pathway, mortared paths come highly recommended. This material is quite expensive but requires minimal maintenance if designed and built properly. If you desire a pathway that can withstand heavy use, then dry-laid pavers is perfect for you. For a comfortable and cozy looking garden path, a turf pathway is very ideal. This kind of pathway provides the most comfortable walking surface but needs constant maintenance as well ample space and sunlight.


Have you created pathways in your own garden?  If so, we’d love to hear about them!

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4 Responses to Create a Garden Pathway

  1. Graciebelle February 3, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    Thanks for these ideas. in terms of materials, a friend of ours recently build a garden path/patio area using big slaps of cement that were leftover from a road rework project. Believe it or not, once they were set and had some creeping thyme growing around them, the path looked great.

  2. Cynthia Howell July 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm #


  3. Your Easy Garden Team July 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    I would suggest checking your local phone directly or check on line for landscape designers or people who do masonry work in your area.

  4. Finley Moreira June 28, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    I’m looking at building a pathway through my garden. It was interesting to me that you mentioned how a stepping stone pathway is actually quite inexpensive. I don’t have a huge budget to work with, so maybe this would be a good idea for me.

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