5 landscaping tips for creating gorgeous and functional outdoor walkways

Gorgeous and functional outdoor walkway

A well-designed walkway is one of the most crucial elements of any landscape, as it brings the home and yard together in a way that nothing else can.

Like your home, a walkway should blur the lines between practicality and elegance, bringing people where they need to go while highlighting the rest of your yard in the process.

Installing a tried-and-true walkway is easy. Creating one that is both uniquely stylish and effortlessly functional takes quite a bit more work.

To that end, here are 5 landscaping tips to help turn your boring old stroll into a breathtaking backyard excursion.

1. The width of your walkway says more than you think

Front entry walkway 1

The width of a walkway can vary greatly depending on its location, purpose, and frequency of use.

In general, wider walkways (36–60 inches) are more inviting and thus are a great choice for your front entryway in particular.

Walkways on the side of the house are typically narrower (18–24 inches) as they provide a more serviceable means of connecting the front yard to the back.

Backyard walkways, on the other hand, should be proportional to the size of your space and the reason for the path. If you’re leading to a pool or an outdoor kitchen, opt for a wider walkway. If it’s a meandering garden path, it’ll benefit from being smaller and more intimate.

Of course, your walkway doesn’t have to be one set width. Mix it up a bit and use wider sections of your path to highlight interesting features of your yard or provide extra space to sit down on a bench or chair.

2. Incorporate a variety of plants to stimulate the senses

Garden path with plants

Your walkway shouldn’t just look like an extension of your city’s sidewalks. Your home is full of life, and your paths should be no different.

Soften the space between your pavers or stepping stones with a touch of green. Not only is it visually appealing, but it’s a great way to tie your house and yard/garden together.

When choosing your plants, make sure you pick something that won’t grow too tall and can be walked on, such as Irish moss, turfgrass, or baby’s tears. We recommend consulting your local garden center to determine which option is most appropriate for your climate.

Remember, sight isn’t the only sense to appeal to when constructing your walkway. One particular trend that’s growing in popularity is the incorporation of creeping thyme or mint to add a pleasant aroma for your walkway’s travelers to enjoy.

3. Add curves to longer paths (but don’t go overboard)

Curvy walkway by house

While short paths benefit the most from going straight from point A to point B, a longer path allows more flexibility in design. A curved path is much more interesting and begs the eyes (and legs) to follow.

Adding gentle curves is a great way to effortlessly navigate around trees, corners, and other obstacles without presenting the hard stop of a 90° angle.

Just be careful not to stray too far from the quickest route. An unnecessarily windy path will only annoy your frequent visitors and run the risk of having your grass or other plants trampled by those who can’t be bothered to follow your labyrinthine designs.

4. Use materials that complement the style of your home

Front Yard Mulch

Think of your walkways as the outreached arms of your home. The materials you choose should look like they were cut from the same cloth.

If your home has natural stone or brickwork, your path should too. If your house is lighter in color, opt for lighter materials. You get the idea.

This doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to just one type of material, either. If your home has a primary and secondary color, for example, your walkways can benefit from that two-tone look as well.

5. Every walkway is a journey, but it needs a destination

Backyard walkway with lounge chairs

A pathway—such as one that meanders freely through a yard or garden—can simply take you along a scenic route for no other purpose than to explore a particular space.

A walkway, however, should have a destination. Before you install your walkway, you need to determine what its purpose will be and where it will take you.

It could be as practical as leading you from the driveway to the backdoor, or as recreational as taking you to a gazebo, water feature, or outdoor swing.

Design the yard of your dreams with help from Dundee

Are you ready for a new walkway but not sure where to start? Perhaps you want an eye-catching feature for that walkway to lead.

Whatever your needs, it’s time to meet the landscape design experts at Dundee. We’ve been brightening Minnesota landscapes for over 70 years and are ready to do the same for yours.

Contact us today to schedule a one-on-one design consultation.