The layout of your garden is as important as the plants and flowers that you grow in it. Here are tips for creating the most accessible and attractive pathways, pavings, and archways.
Always make sure pathways are wide enough to walk through comfortably. Construct them so that at least two people can walk side-by-side along them. Make the pathways and least 5 feet in width. For a single file pathway lay them so they are 3 feet wide. Bear in mind that the taller your plantings are the wider the paths should be.
- Constructing Outdoor Steps
Steps can seem daunting unless they are arranged so that they can ascend gently. Make the steps rise at about 6 inches or less for safety and comfort. The run or depth of each step plus double its rise must equal 26 inches. Steps with 6-inch rises require a run equaling 14 inches.
If the garden stairs are going to be more than 10 steps, create a landing after every fourth or fifth step. Landings must be as deep as the stairs are wide.
- Decks or Patios
These are the perfect spaces for outdoor entertaining. Be sure you create enough room to accommodate guests as they mingle and dine. Think about how many guests you will usually host. Plan on having at least 4 feet of space per person. You also want to add outdoor furniture, so try to leave a 3-foot wide area of open space around furnishings to create plenty of elbow room.
The beauty of having a garden is that you can add an outdoor fountain to the area. This can add an element of class and attractiveness to your garden and really look fabulous. Outdoor Fountain Pros have a wide selection of very attractive fountains.
- Tips for Archways
Make sure there is lots of headroom under all archways, pergolas, and arbors. Seven feet should be the minimum, but add an additional 18 inches if any plants might be growing over the archway. This sounds high, but outdoor structures will often look smaller than they would if they were inside. It is also better to be sorry and avoid bumping against climbing roses or wisteria. Make all posts at least a few inches outside any pathways that run through the archways so that there is plenty of room for anyone to get past comfortably.
- Paving Tips
Any paving should provide secure footing. Be sure there are no slick surfaces where any paving will go. Any tiles that are part of the pavement should be secure and not wobble. Polished granite and smooth tiles do not always offer traction in wintery weather or rainy climates.
For walkways made of gravel, make sure to use unsifted gravel because it compacts itself more firmly in provides solid footing. Sifted gravel is made up of similar sized pieces but they do not hold together well and can remain loose under foot. Whatever paving material you use be sure the paved surface is are sloped about one to two percent to keep water from pooling on them.