The best affordable garden pathways!

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
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Garden pathways don't have to be expensive to look good. In fact, the more costly, labour-intensive, formal pathways tend to stick out like a sore thumb in the garden, while the cheaper and more casual pathways blend in better. The more affordable garden pathways tend to look like they've been in your garden forever, and look more natural compared to the artificial manicured look of some expensive garden pathways. The affordable garden pathway ideas featured here also save time and energy as they are not as labour-intensive. You can build this paths in a week without breaking your back or your bank account. 

Why create garden pathways in the first place? Well, garden pathways mark the safe places in your garden to walk, so that you don't trample on plants or stumble over rocks and thorns. Garden pathways also give your garden a sense of completeness, dimension, and charm. There are many different styles of affordable garden pathways to choose from, and it is up to you to determine not only which style suits your garden the best, but also which style you can commit yourself to creating and maintaining. Let's browse through some of these creative ideas for affordable garden pathways shall we?  

Recycled stone pathway

Recycled natural stone can be brought to good use in designing cheap and aesthetically pleasing stone pathways. Easy to place on the lawn, stone pathways are less slippery than their artificial stone counterparts and bring in a nice contrast to the garden. Stone slabs aligned vertically to each other, create a clear sense of orientation leading to the main entrance of the home. Popular recycled stone pathways include, granite, sandstone, marble or limestone. Go ahead and try them out!

Rubber mulch

Rubber mulch is considered as inorganic mulch as it doesn't decompose easily like organic material, and this is one of the perks of using rubber mulch for garden pathways as there is little maintenance involved. Essentially, rubber mulch is made out of old tires and other rubber products. 

Before you spread out rubber mulch on your garden pathway, you need to prepare the soil first by removing any undecayed mulch from the soil and rake the area thoroughly to remove and stones, sticks, or other unwanted things from the soil. When you first lay out the rubber mulch, you may notice a distinct odour, but this smell will fade away after some time. The best thing about rubber is it will not mold, mat down, or house insects, and it takes a really long time to decompose. So, you probably only need to replace it after 7-10 years depending on the wear and tear of your garden pathway. 

Crushed stone mulch

minimalistic Garden by Whitaker Studio
Whitaker Studio

West London Home by Sybarite Architects

Whitaker Studio

What's the difference between crushed stone mulch and rubber mulch? Well, crushed stone mulch is not highly flammable like rubber mulch is, so crushed stone mulch might be a better idea if your area is at high risk of fires. It is however heavier and more expensive than rubber mulch. If you're looking for a more natural look, opt for crushed stone mulch rather than rubber mulch. 

The beautiful stone garden pictured here is photographed by Whitaker Studio, photographers based in London, United Kingdom. 

Shredded wood

Organic mulch such as shredded wood is a popular choice to make garden pathways with as they preserve water through moisture retention, trap heat, create pathways, and prevent weed from growing. Shredded wood mulch can also help protect roots from extreme temperatures, and help to control soil erosion. 

The good thing about organic mulch such as shredded wood is that it will feed and nourish your garden with essential nutrients as it breaks down and decomposes, providing free fertilizer for your garden. 

Bark chips

Bark chips can create a soft garden pathway which is natural looking and blends in well with the garden. Since this type of organic mulch is quite lightweight, it is easy to spread out and make the garden path with this material. Although bark chips are much cheaper than gravel or stones, they will decompose after some time and will have to be replaced. So be ready to replace your organic mulch garden pathway every two to five years. 

Keep in mind that organic mulch tends to get soggy if the pathway has poor drainage or is constantly wet and moist. So make sure to check that the pathway has good drainage before you decide on using organic mulch such as wood chips. 

Coloured mulch

If you're looking to add a splash of colour to your garden pathway, consider using coloured mulch. You can order rubber mulch with various colours or spray paint gravel or stones in whatever colour you fancy. You can even apply glow-in-the-dark paint to your mulch to create a funky look for the night time. 

Browse through garden designs here on homify for more new ideas and refreshing inspiration. 

Gravel

The main advantage of gravel garden pathways is that they last much longer than mulch paths, and require very little maintenance. An occasional weeding is usually needed to keep the pathway prim and proper. The type of gravel you choose should depend on how you will use your garden pathway. If you're going to run a lawnmower over the pathway, then it's best to use crushed stone instead of smooth pebbles because the jagged edges of crushed stones lock together to create a firm surface. Crushed stones are also less likely to get kicked out of the garden pathway. 

Keep in mind that gravel garden pathways require edging, or the stones will get kicked out into the garden bed, disturbing your plants and also looking messy. Plastic edging is a cheap option, but you can also use brick, stone, concrete, or landscape timber for a more natural look. 

Recycled wood

A beautiful, rustic looking garden pathway can be created out of recycled wood such as used pallets, wooden crates, or salvaged wood. Make sure you treat the wood first though, so it will last longer. You can also paint patterns on the wood if you wish. 

We hope this idea guide about creating an affordable garden path has been interesting and beneficial to you. For more inspiration and ideas, have a look at 7 vibrant ideas to give an eclectic twist to your home

Which affordable garden pathway idea do you like the best? Let us know in the comments section below. 
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