You’ve beautified the front yard by means of a garden. Now, you are planning to demarcate a space for walking from the gate towards the front door. In other words, you need to create a paved pathway. So, what are your options?
First examine the whole plot standing at the gate. Is the front door at the centre right opposite the gate? If so, a straight pathway will work fine. Else, if the front door is located on a side, design a winding path. Let it slope a bit as it travels towards the gate to avoid drainage problems. Clear the area to be paved of plants, grass, weeds and top soil. Level out holes and uneven patches. Depending on the material you choose, you’ll need either sand or mortar to set the paving materials in.
Now visualise the path and plot it out on paper. Keep it wide and smooth enough to allow wheelchair movement. Make proper provision for avoiding weed growth and crack formation.
Will you hire a professional for the task or make it a DIY project to spend a weekend on? Just make sure the pathway is attractive but not exceedingly so. It should not be so conspicuous as to draw attention away from the building even! Line the pathway with flowering plants to add colour. Lights are not merely decorative but also aid safe walking after sundown.
Another important decision at this stage is regarding the material you’ll be using. Not only should the path appear pleasing to the eye, it should also be durable.
Choose a material that’ll cater to both these needs. Plus, ease of availability, extent of future maintenance effort and cost should also be considered. Foremost among the common materials is brick. Scoring high on aesthetics, it fails when the criteria of cost and maintenance ease raise their head. Preferred for the lovely basket weave and herringbone patterns it can be set in, a brick pathway often requires a professional hand for installation. For durability, digging deep to set it in a layer of sand and dry concrete mixture is recommended. Stone dust or sand is usually strewn over the bricks to cover the gaps. Stone is not merely durable but comes in various shapes and sizes.
Though slate is a common choice, it doesn’t gel with formal architecture. Granite and limestone, cobblestones and sandstone are other options.
Concrete is the most affordable and can be dyed to coordinate with the house colours. Pea-gravel makes for an informal pathway, but it isn’t a favourite owing to the small size of the stones. It also needs to be kept in place by means of some edging material.