41 Gorgeous Garden Paths

Get ideas for your own welcoming walkway from some of the West's best garden designs.

Thyme-fringed paversThyme-fringed pavers
Thyme-fringed pavers

Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox arcticus) grows from 2- to 3-inch gaps between sandstone pavers in this garden in Old Snowmass, Colorado; in summer, it's covered with small pink flowers. The path, whose pavers are set on a 4-inch layer of compacted sand, leads to a kitchen garden. A standing stone and boulder benches-made of Comanche Moss sandstone and flanking the path-echo the shape of the distant Elk Mountains.

Classic kitchen garden pathsClassic kitchen garden paths
Classic kitchen garden paths

Brick paths help define this kitchen garden designed in the style of a classic potager. Crops grow in small rectangular, square, and circular beds separated by walkways.

The little plots and generous paths make weeding, watering, harvesting, and other chores accessible. And the geometric patterns add order.
> Related: More of this old-world-style kitchen garden

Rugged pathRugged path
Rugged path

Billowy grasses and dry-climate perennials give this pebbly path in Paso Robles, CA, a rugged look.

Make a park out of a pathMake a park out of a path
Make a park out of a path

This entry path feel more like a nature trail than a garden walk. Thyme grows between steps; boulders, cactus, and rosemary fringe the path's edges.

Even before guests get to the house, wide steps (made of concrete aggregate) encourage them to slow down and enjoy the garden.

If your yard doesn't have enough sun for thyme, tuck Corsican mint or Japanese sweet flag between your steps or pavers; both have scented foliage. Stagger your pavers to slow the "journey."
> Related: More of this Arizona garden

Ribbon effectRibbon effect
Ribbon effect

Bands of thyme running between 2-foot-square sand-washed concrete pavers stripe a winding path in Alamo, California. The bold look adds structure to the blowsy backyard meadow of tawny Carex testacea grasses, accented with pink 'Maori Chief' phormium and yellow kangaroo paw.

Desert rose pathDesert rose path
Desert rose path

The desert rose color of the fine gravel makes this Southwest garden's path stand out from the coarser gray gravel mulch around it, inviting you to follow its lazy course.

Small wooden bridges span the path. In summer, the dry creekbed is a river of gold, thanks to the generous daisylike blooms of Perky Sue (Hymenoxys scaposa).
> Related: More of this New Mexico garden escape

Lawn latticeLawn lattice
Lawn lattice

In Aspen, pavers of Colorado buff sandstone form a trail across this Kentucky bluegrass lawn to a grove of aspens. Set low enough for a mower to pass over them easily, the pavers were placed atop a base of compacted sand. Then the sod was planted around and between them.

Rain-smart pathRain-smart path
Rain-smart path

Both the multicolored flagstones set in sand and the ¾-inch granite gravel allow rainfall to pass through to plant roots. River rock edges the planting beds.
> Related: More ideas for a rain-savvy garden

Stairway to heavenStairway to heaven
Stairway to heaven

Decomposed-granite steps edged with concrete nudge this path upslope in a backyard in Portola Valley, California. Because the steps taper from 8 feet wide at the bottom to 3 feet wide at the top, they appear to cover more ground than they do. (A Cor-Ten steel wall enhances the effect; from a 4 1/2-foot base, it shrinks to 2 feet high at the top.) Dasylirion and dwarf lavender line the path.

Paths connect raised bedsPaths connect raised beds
Paths connect raised beds

Generous gravel paths between raised vegetable beds give this Washington garden its casual farmer's market style.

Wide enough to accommodate wheelbarrows, the gravel paths ― laid atop landscape fabric ― the paths stay mostly clean and weed-free.
> Related: More of this Northwest vegetable garden

Desert garden pathDesert garden path
Desert garden path

Bold furnishings and dense plantings can help you create a getaway in your own backyard, even where gardening can be a challenge.

Individual concrete pads create the illusion that they're hovering lightly above the desert floor. Their exposed aggregate finish blends in with the native soil's stony texture.
> Related: More of this wild desert backyard

Water crossingWater crossing
Water crossing

Bluestone pavers traverse this water feature in Alamo. The designer attached them to concrete pillars built into the bottom; each one is cantilevered 4 inches out from its pillar. The dark Mexican pebbles lining the pool and the dark-hued pillars make the water more reflective. The fountain in the foreground is made from an old millstone, polished smooth on top.

Path of grassPath of grass
Path of grass

A narrow carpet of grass, all that's left of a once-expansive (30- by 60-foot) lawn, meanders between curved planting beds. To make room for the beds, the homeowners removed sod around the turf's edges bit by bit as they discovered new plants they wanted to try.
> Related: More of this Northwest garden

Extra eye candyExtra eye candy
Extra eye candy

A path is more interesting when there's something to stop and look at along the way. In this coastal California garden, a native dudleya pops out from between stones in a low wall; Carex flacca fringes the wall's base. Other eye-catching options: shapely boulders, a piece of garden art, or a cluster of empty olive jugs. Add fragrant plants nearby to sweeten the journey.

Fragrant journeyFragrant journey
Fragrant journey

Designers know a great path includes an intriguing destination. Here, a yellow-glazed container catches the eye at the end of a lavender-edged gravel path.
> Related: How to grow lavender

Softened edgesSoftened edges
Softened edges

Plant low grasses or perennials along your path. Lavender and golden Mexican feather grass spill onto the gravel walkway at left, while creeping thyme peeks out from beneath them. Other billowy path edgers include Acorus gramineus 'Ogon', blue fescue, Carex albula 'Frosty Curls', Japanese forest grass, lamb's ears, and sage.

Stamped concrete pathStamped concrete path
Stamped concrete path

A curved path, high walls, soft greens, and a bubbling fountain make this Southern California garden a soothing escape.

The broad path connects the gate to the front door. The walkway is built of stamped concrete and has a dusting of multicolored sand for extra texture.
> Related: More of this Southern California courtyard

Goal-minded pathGoal-minded path
Goal-minded path

Every path needs a destination, whether it's a garden shed, a tree-shaded seat, or a patio with a vista. Here, a bench is positioned to take in the view of a coastal estuary. If your path ends at a fence, set a colorful solid gate in front to suggest that the journey might continue. If the path leads through an arching grape arbor, put a glazed urn or birdbath at the far end.

Transform a drivewayTransform a driveway

Transform a driveway

Landscape designer Mary Baum transformed the unused back half of this Portland driveway into a curving path, making room for a lush garden bed to the side.
> Related: Reinvent your driveway

Barefoot in the sandBarefoot in the sand
Barefoot in the sand

A 6-inch-deep ribbon of fluffy pink sand meanders through beachy grasses (including Sesleria and Muhlenbergia) in this Malibu garden. ­Arbutus 'Marina' trees add shade while pale yellow 'Graham Thomas' roses and kangaroo paws fleck the "dunes" with sunny color.

The best part? It's cheap and easy to create: Dig a channel 6 inches deep in the soil, then just pour in the sand. At a building-supply yard, you'll pay $52 to $62 for a ton-enough to cover about 43 square feet.

Grassy path for sun or shadeGrassy path for sun or shade
Grassy path for sun or shade

Plant mounding grasses for a modern look. Here, they line a path of crushed basalt in a Seattle garden
> Related: More about mod paths


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