Pathways and Walkways
Paths are the arteries of the garden. Select materials that enhance walks, complement the planting on either side, and match the garden style: bricks or gravel fit a cottage-style garden, while more up-to-date materials, such as concrete and composites, suit a modern space.
The same material can be used to different effect, depending on how you use it. For example, pavers placed perpendicular to the path tend to slow walking pace and invite the walker's attention to the surroundings, while pavers layed lengthways give a sense of motion, as in this traditional brick path which leads to a cottage gate.
A random paving pattern gets an orderly edge from an clean, sharp strip made from the same material. Although difficult to construct, the light-coloured textured path works well against the still water of the pond.
Combining different materials, textures and levels can bring eye-popping drama to paving and decking designs. Stark but well-matched contrasts in color and texture can highlight key features and define and separate areas of the garden. To avoid extra work and higher costs, think carefully about your colors and choose pre-sized, coordinating materials. More complex construction techniques may be required when working with materials of varying thicknesses and where a different foundation is needed; you may need to consult an expert to get the look and construction quality you want.
Here, soft raised decking and a hard stone floor combine to maintain interest across four levels.
Stones and Mosaic
Set on a concrete foundation, small stone blocks and mosaic tiles create a decorative pattern around trees and contrast with the surrounding gravel.
Most paving materials require an edge to contain them; poured concrete and materials set on a concrete slab are exceptions. The edge can be ornate or functional or both, as with this crisp geometric design. It can be used to connect or separate different materials or areas of planting. If you prefer to let plants creep onto your gravel pathway, you don't need an edge.
Loose pebbles make an informal edge between deck boards and a water feature.
Slate and Stones
This bold design is created by framing slate paving with stone granite setts.