Step This Way: Ideas From the Year’s Most Popular Garden Paths

Houzz users’ favorite path photos from 2016 suggest new possibilities for that trip through your yard

A memorable garden experience begins as soon as you cross the curb or sidewalk. The path guiding you to your journey’s end is a crucial part of that experience, so it’s important to give its design some thought. Presented in descending order are the most popular garden paths uploaded to Houzz in 2016 — whimsical and elegant, reliably leading to their destination.

New York Metro, original photo on Houzz

6. Tropical escape. Through a white gate and a bougainvillea-covered arbor, this tropical retreat in Florida starts at the side yard. Palm trees line the space, framing the playful, winding pathway of pavers that goes from the front yard to the back.

A-List Builders Inc., original photo on Houzz

5. Curve-hugger. Though a path can be used to define space, bisecting open areas in the garden, the designer of this Los Angeles yard hugged the edges of the planting bed. Evenly spaced pavers echo the curve of the bed for a clean, cohesive design.

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Erik Jones Landscaping, original photo on Houzz

4. Planted steps. This outdoor staircase in San Luis Obispo, California, does more than move visitors from one part of the property to the other; it helps transform the space into a woodland retreat. Oversize stone slabs carve through the hillside like a mountain stream bed. Ferns and moss poke out from the nooks and crevices between the rocks, and stunning Japanese maple trees line each side.

The Garden Design Company, original photo on Houzz

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3. Sinuous boardwalk. This winding boardwalk bordered with trees and hostas is part of a 6-acre garden in Goring, a village west of London.

Boardwalks, though perhaps not the most popular pathways for gardens, make for a memorable experience. Like the crunch of gravel, the creak of the planks and the feeling of the boards underfoot enhance the garden experience.

Boardwalks also make terrain like sand, mud and wetlands easier to traverse, perhaps bringing you closer to nature.

Traditional Garden, original photo on Houzz

2. Right of way. Instead of merely connecting focal points in this London garden, a straight path of pavers and gravel is the chief feature. It runs like a main artery down the length of the garden, with every other element branching off it directly.

Hortus Grass-Artificial Turf Solutions in Dubai, original photo on Houzz

1. Pavers and turf. Pavers in grass is a winning look, but in narrow, shady spots like a covered side yard, it can be a losing battle. And in places like the United Arab Emirates, where this side yard is located, it’s also not the most responsible plant choice. Here, the designers installed ceramic pavers in artificial turf instead. Not only is the turf more water-wise in a desert region, but it also requires no maintenance.

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Lining the yard are travertine-and-granite planters filled with evergreen Chinese banyan (Ficus microcarpa) and seasonal bedding plants. 

Categories: Gardening & Landscape