Nothing invites peacefulness and joy more than a walkway curving through your front yard or meandering from your patio to your flowerbeds.
Celebrate spring this year by pairing a walkway (or two) with a garden.
The Best Walkways Complement Your Home’s Design
While you may want multiple walkways leading to different parts of your property, you do want the paver or flagstone to reflect your home’s overall architecture and design.
You don’t want to introduce an irregular blue flagstone walkway if your home’s architecture is formal. Instead, you want geo-cut flagstones set in defined patterns.
If you drew up a master landscape plan with your landscape designer in Arlington, VA, pull out that master plan and review it before choosing what type of walkway will best serve you.
After you’ve considered your home’s architecture, you need to look at the outdoor living features on your Falls Church, VA property.
What will be the purpose of your new walkway; to lead guests from your driveway to your backyard, to greet visitors at the front porch, to break up turf that leads to an outdoor pond or flowerbed?
In general, front yard walkways improve your curb appeal and provide a welcome mat of sorts to guide people to your front door. To greet your friends and neighbors, you can add an arbor over your new walkway with climbing vines, such as clematis or honeysuckle.
Conversely, a backyard may have many destinations where walkways meander throughout your property to your outdoor living areas. Borders with annuals, such as impatiens and alyssum, provide an explosion of color and soft scents.
Generally, a walkway should be wide enough to allow two people to walk comfortably side-by-side. Experts recommend allowing four to five feet width for two guests to walk comfortably to your outdoor living spaces.
Add shape to your walkway and consider whether it will lead to the front porch or a small flower bed. Walkway curves add interest and mystery to where the path will lead to.
Don’t forget to add urns, outdoor lighting, and ground covers to the walkway mix. Moss, for example, adds dimension and color. Additionally, moss can handle people walking on it.
If you’re handy with a drawing pad, sketch up an outline of where you want to add the walkways on your property; then show your landscape designer in Falls Church, VA, during the design consultation phase. Next, you’ll need to pick the style of pavers or flagstones required to create your new walking paths.
Flagstone or Pavers: What’s the Best Style for Your New Walkway?
Flagstones add a classic touch and make a magnetic base that leads to different outdoor rooms in your backyard. A flagstone walkway can show your guests to the outdoor living room with a fireplace, or it can lead them to the koi pond.
What are flagstone walkways?
Flagstone is a natural rock cut into different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. At Campbell and Ferrara, we use Pennsylvania bluestone that comes in a wide variety of hues, cuts, and thicknesses.
Flagstone also includes different textures and colors. For example, blue flagstone comes in different colors and designs: reds, tans, grays, and blues. Colors naturally intersect within the stone slabs that invite curiosity.
Flagstone can be geo-cut or irregular cut. You get to pick out which cut style will match your overall walkway design.
You can use flagstone to build your walkway in a formal or relaxed style depending on how it’s positioned on the path. Traditional flagstone will have more defined lines and angles. These lines and angles will create unique patterns with grouting or tamped stone dust between the stone joints.
Suppose you prefer a more relaxed outdoor living style at your Alexandria, VA home. In that case, your flagstone walkway may be set farther apart as stepping stones to allow foot-friendly ground covers, mulch, or pea gravel in-between each stone’s placement.
Paver Walkways: Lots of Designs, Colors, and Cuts
Paver walkways tend to be more expensive than flagstone; however, pavers allow you to have more design versatility. Pavers are typically put through a commercial manufacturing process and made out of concrete and can be molded to look like different building materials, such as brick and stone.
Pavers also come in many designs/shapes, colors, and finishes. Our landscape designers can add patterns, a design focal point, and multiple colors to create a custom-made walkway. Pavers tend to cost a bit more than naturally cut stone because they are put through a manufacturing process to create their unique colors and shapes, and more is involved in preparing the concrete product for the market than flagstone.
Also, you can choose two different border styles for your paver walkway: a soldier course or a sailor course. Here’s a brief definition of these two styles:
- Soldier course: Your landscaper lays your pavers side-by-side that serves as the walkway’s border. These pavers tend to be smaller in shape and a different color to draw the eye down the pathway.
- Sailor course: Your landscaper lays the pavers’ edges end-to-end to break up the pattern to create designs, curves, and movement. Again, the sailor course uses smaller pavers and a different hue.
The soldier and sailor courses allow you to include exciting curves and designs that look like an optical illusion and interest.
Your walkways not only take your guests to different parts of your front- and backyards but also add excitement and curiosity of how these paths bring your entire outdoor living spaces together.
How Plants Add Color, Texture, and Scent to Your New Walkway
While you may want a new walkway that’s open to direct your visitors to the pool or the outdoor fire pit, you may also want to add plants to liven it up.
Your Arlington, VA landscaper can add annuals, perennials, and shrubs to beckon your guests into your backyard or to the patio where an outdoor kitchen awaits.
Ornamental trees, such as Japanese maples and shrubs, like miniature hydrangeas, can also grace your walkway, providing shade, color, and scent. Here are five plant ideas to decorate your new walkway with a garden:
- Go natural with accented stones, mulch, and evergreens. Include tall phlox, sweet William, and ferns to the mix.
- If you want to add some privacy between your neighbors, you can plant arborvitae or cryptomeria that provide dense walls.
- Add herbs, such as lavender and rosemary, along with roses to flow with the walkway’s edging in a cottage garden setting.
- Two border perennials, liriope with spikey purple flowers and variegated leaves and astilbe with its fluffy flowers, provide the perfect specimens to line your new walkway.
- Hostas, which come in all kinds of sizes with solid and variegated leaves, work well in a minimalist garden that graces your new walkway.
Walkways connect your outdoor rooms and gardens to form a cohesive property. Walkways can also evoke emotions such as joy, curiosity, and magic, especially when they’re paired with the right garden borders.
If you’re ready to add walkways with a garden accent, you need Campbell and Ferrara to design this popular spring landscape feature. Call us today at 703-705-7892 or fill out our contact form.
Campbell and Ferrara provides landscape design/build services and a retail garden center for homeowners living in Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church, Virginia.
CostaFarms.com, Design a Garden Path.
FindAnyAnswer.com, What Is a Sailor Course in Pavers?
LandscapingNetwork.com, Backyard Walkway Ideas.
Ibid, Front Yard Walkway Ideas.
Ibid, What Is Flagstone?