Great Home Walkway Ideas & Designs

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Whether it is the front walkway that leads visitors to your door, a walk connecting the front of the house to the side gate, or a meandering path wandering through your backyard, a well-designed pathway adds interest, spotlights the entry of your home, and encourages visitors in the direction you would like them to go.

There are many materials that are suitable for walkways. Your choice will be determined by the style of your home, your own personal preferences, the area the path will traverse, your budget, and whether you are planning on installing the path yourself or hiring professionals.

Planning the Path

  • A straight walkway leading from the sidewalk or driveway to the front door is formal in style and looks good with similarly formal architectural styles, such as colonial, plantation or Georgian.
  • Gently curved entryways suit the more casual feel of a ranch home, bungalow or cottage. Curved pathways also look natural when winding through the garden.
  • A main walkway, such as from the sidewalk to your front door, should be at least 48 inches wide to allow two people to walk side by side. The width of the front walk should also be in balance with the width of the front door and trim, and the porch.
  • Secondary paths, such as those leading to a side yard, or crossing a garden, should be 30 to 36 inches wide. Be sure that any paths are wide enough to allow for garden equipment such as lawn mowers, garden carts or wheelbarrows.
  • Light your home's main pathways well, particularly your front entrance and side paths coming from the parking area.
  • Combine small solar lights along your path, floodlights on the wall of your home, or spotlights along trees and shrubbery to provide safety and beautify your home.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

 

Gravel

  • A gravel path is low-cost, easy to install, and drains quickly. Gravel scatters easily however, and your pathway will require an edging to keep it under control. Line the path with rocks for the most natural look, or plastic edging or brick for a more tailored style.
  • Gravel is a good choice for a path that winds through your backyard, and does not have extensive foot traffic. Gentle curves add to the casual appeal. Choose a gravel size of three quarters of an inch or smaller, which is easiest to walk on without danger of tripping.

Brick

  • Brick allows you to tailor the pathway style for your home, and create any look from formal to casual, depending on the pattern you choose.
  • Straight lines are traditional, and suitable for the front walkway, a path leading to the side of the house, or a stately backyard. A curved path of brick will invite visitors to follow and see what they will find.
  • Brick is reasonably priced, easy to maintain, and looks good with any style of home. It is a great choice for walkways that will have steps. Make your pathway safe by using rough surfaced paving bricks, which are harder than wall bricks.

Organic Materials

  • A mulch path is perfect for a casual, woodland or meadow feel. Wind your pine needle pathway through a yard full of evergreens, create a path of bark chips on a wooded property, or entice visitors to walk through beds of colorful perennial and annual flowers on a trail of heavy sawdust.
  • Organic materials break down and need replacing or renewing fairly frequently. They also scatter, so are best in areas that receive little traffic. Line your mulch pathway with plants, rocks, brick or plastic edging to help control the spread, and keep your path in place.

Flagstone

  • Cut and arrange flagstone to design a custom path as formal or as casual as you like. The design options are nearly endless.
  • A straight path with the stones mortared together provides a traditional front entry walk, or curve the path and grow moss between the stones for a casual back or side yard walkway.
  • Flagstone is also an excellent choice for a walkway that will need to incorporate stairs, or a short walkway made of separated stepping-stones. The downside to flagstone is that it is fairly expensive, and a mortared flagstone path is a job best left to the pros.

Grass

  • If you are joining two areas of lawn, or two separate gardens, a grass path gives a cohesive feel, and brings the areas together. Make mowing easy with a path wide enough to fit your lawnmower, and with no sharp angles.
  • A grass path is most suited to crossing a side yard, or joining the back garden to the side of the house. Grass will struggle to grow in a heavily shaded area, so will not be a good choice for an area that faces north, or is heavily planted with trees.

Concrete

  • A very popular choice, concrete can be configured to just about any path shape, color or texture you would like, and is close to maintenance free. Concrete is also a good choice for a path with stairs.
  • Use concrete for the main entry to your home, or a secondary path leading to a side door or the back gate. Textured or rough finishes will provide safer footing in wet weather.

Whether your home is a traditional style or casual, your garden clipped into formal topiaries or a cottage garden of exuberant flowers, you can design a walkway that will suit your style, add to the appearance of your home, and welcome guests to your house and garden.

Last Updated: September 13, 2011
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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