14 garden path ideas – the best DIY and budget looks for a stylish walkway

Garden path ideas: The best walkway looks for big and small outdoor spaces. From bricks, to gravel, wood, slate and more.

Garden path ideas: like Monty Don's
(Image credit: Josh Wilburne/Unsplash)

If you're stumped for garden path ideas because, well, yours is already just there, or because you want fresh inspiration as you're starting with a clean (garden) slate, we can help. Because whether you're designing and building a casual DIY garden path from scratch, or if you want to change up your existing one to create a more formal finish, we have lots of looks, plus a few tricks and tips up our sleeve to help you create your dream walkway.

From soft warm colored bricks – a classic look – to cheaper alternatives like wood and gravel, keep scrolling for all your garden walkway inspiration.

1. Choose reclaimed bricks for a garden path

Simple garden path ideas

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Apparently this is one of Monty Don's favorite garden path ideas too, just saying! And, if you want the gently aged look, laying reclaimed bricks rather than new ones can create a lovely rustic effect. It’s also the environmentally friendly way to go as you’re re-using materials. You’ll find plenty of reclaimed brick suppliers online, and you could even call out to local people on Facebook Marketplace, and a variety of brick colors on offer. If you already have a brick wall in your garden, you might want to match to it for continuity, or try picking a reddish brick that harmonizes with terracotta planters.

  • We have a gorgeous garden ideas feature for you to explore too.

2. Use yoghurt to age new brick paths

Aged garden path creates walkway under a pergola through to the garden

(Image credit: Tim Cooper on Unsplash)

If you just built in a new brick path as part of your garden design but it looks a little too pristine – kind of like with new white sneakers – then you might be wishing the years away for them to sport a little rustic edge.

Or perhaps you are putting down the path but prefer to use new bricks because the regular shape makes them easier – and cheaper – to lay? Don’t worry, you can still achieve a weathered effect. The secret is yoghurt. Yes, honestly – these garden path ideas are genius we know. You just need to dilute it with water then brush it on to the path. Make sure you check the weather forecast first so your solution isn’t washed away in a hurry, though.

3. Build a wood chip path

Mulch wood chip garden path shot by Leigh Clapp

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp Photography)

Pavers and bricks can be expensive, but you don't have to go down that route to create a lovely and inviting garden path. Wood chips offer a cheaper alternative and make for a natural pathway that can complement any surrounding planting too. It's a lovely casual garden path look. Level the ground, although it doesn't need to be totally flat, then line the ground to help secure the wood chip – newspaper can work – and pour your wood chips over. Done!

4. Create a wide path with decking boards

Wooden garden walkway

(Image credit: Future x Leigh Clapp Photography)

A wide pathway makes for convivial strolling through your outdoor space. Using wood for your garden path will again, help keep a natural feel in your garden, but that's not to say it can't look contemporary too. Choose a light colored wood and surround it with perfectly formed topiary and cut grass for a neat finish that will conceal uneven and unsightly ground too.

5. Allow seeds to grow between the cracks

Mixed garden flower bed idea

(Image credit: Suttons Seeds)

For a more overgrown, relaxed garden path look, let nature do its thing and encourage plants to grow between the bricks of your path. Monty’s advice, shared in the Mail Online is to skip the mortar between the bricks in your path when you lay it, and simply brush in plain sand. How easy – and time saving – is that?

6. Lay bricks in a gravel path for an inexpensive solution

Bricks in a gravel path

(Image credit: Future x Leigh Clapp Photography)

Gravel is an inexpensive landscaping material so one of the best budget garden ideas if you're keeping costs low. If you don't want to go all out with gravel, you could set some reclaimed bricks in it for more interest and added sturdiness to your pathway, without the spend of building a brick path from scratch.

7. Choose gravel path ideas for security

Gravel garden path ideas for security

(Image credit: James Coleman on Unsplash)

Not only will the best gravel look good but if you haven't got an enclosed garden, gravel offers a natural alert system as you'll hear the crunch when it's stepped upon. Unless it's a hedgehog intruding, of course. It's also cheaper as we've mentioned and really quick and easy to install, if you want to create a cool walkway in a hurry.

8. Mix pavers with other materials

Sloping garden ideas

This pathway separates formal and informal areas of the garden

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp Photography)

Combining different surfaces will simply make your garden path look more rustic and interesting – in a subtle way. To ensure you don't end up with a harsh contrast, choose a paver in a harmonious shade as above so the change of surface is subtle. Make sure, too, that there’s not a level change where brick and a second material meet to avoid creating a trip hazard.

9. Line a gravel path with flowers

colourful flowers line a gravel garden path

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you were left with a gravel garden path but aren't into the look, not to worry as you should never underestimate the power of flowers! Line your garden path for a dramatic and colorful display, ensuring you pick the right flowers for year-round interest and you'll be left with gorgeous garden borders, plus a more subtle path.

10. Create a sloped walkway in slate

Paved garden up terraces

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

What is a garden path if not a little interesting? We think this rustic slate walkway is made even more mystical by the soft, winding edges. It serves a purpose too as it's a space-saver in a sloping garden design.

11. Combine lighting with garden path ideas

Stone Globe Lights path lighting

(Image credit: Stone Globe Lights)

Is your outdoor dining area set up at the back of the garden, away from the house? You'll need to think about appropriate lighting to guide you along the garden path after dark. Stake lights are by far the simplest way to light a garden path, with lots of designs available. There are more formal options, too, like the with these globe lights.

12. Lead the way to a decking area

Millboard Composite Decking Weathered Vintage Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

If your decking area is detached from the house, build a deck garden path in matching material for a seamless and stylish entryway to it? We love this composite decking path for its natural weathered finish.

13. Curve your pathway with square stepping stones

Modern garden with wooden balcony

(Image credit: Future + Centaur Archive)

If you're lucky enough to have a large garden, complete with a lush lawn, ensure that the structure isn't lost by using stepping stones to create a clear walkway. Keep yours curved to break up harsh lines from square stones and other hard landscaping around. Plus, if you keep yours adjacent to a border or planting display it will guarantee lovely visuals when stepping across yours too.

  • That's one super sharp lawn, see our lawn edging advice to get the look.

14. Muddle paving stones with herbs for an interesting front garden path

Alicia transformed a small front garden with clever choice of landscaping materials and techniques

(Image credit: Alicia Savage Gardens)

Garden Designer Alicia Savage brightened up the walkway in a small front garden by surrounding the stepping stones with Thyme. It softens the look and will add a little fragrance too.

What is the best material for a garden path?

It depends on the look you want to create and also on who will be using the path. Grass makes for a natural finish, and stone for a rustic look. Gravel is cheap and quick to install also as mentioned, but can pose difficulties for some, especially anyone in a wheelchair. We spoke with Mark Lane, BBC Gardeners’ World presenter and Stannah’s Gardening Expert – on creating accessible gardens and pathways for the whole family. He says to consider, 'For the pathway, consider paving slabs rather than gravel, as little stones are very difficult for wheelchair wheels to navigate. Paving should be pointed with a minimum gap of 10mm. You want a firm, stable, non-slip surface. In some instances, anti-glare paving slabs are a good idea — especially for partially sighted or blind people.' If children are around especially, you'll want to prioritize non slip surfaces that are stylish, of course.

How wide should a garden path be?

You garden path should be wide enough to walk comfortably side by side with another. Lane adds, ''If you need to get from the back or front door to a gate, a shed or garage then consider a pathway. Ideally aim for a path c.1.2-1.5m wide, which is wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side, in a wheelchair or using a frame or stick. To stop wheels — and feet for that matter — ending up in a flowerbed, install a raised edge, either using a wooden gravel board (the board found at the bottom of a fence) or a concrete edger that stands proud c. 10cm above ground level.'

If you need to hold onto something when walking about the garden, then consider hanging a rope through hoops or install a support rail. Think about the material you want to use. Metal can be cold to the touch, especially in winter, whereas rope and wood feel warmer. Metal can be smoother, whereas wood and rope might need protecting and repairing.

Now to create the walkway of dreams!

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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