I’ve started paving the circular patio/path around my stock-tank pond, which for a year has lain fallow with a temporary layer of decomposed granite while I saved up for brick or stone. I enjoy making paths through the garden, and I thought it might be fun to look back through my posts for paving ideas that have inspired me and that are simple enough to be constructed by a do-it-yourselfer, which is what I am most of the time.
The small spiral patio pictured at top is one of my favorites. Like a secret garden, this intimate seating area opens up along a shady path in Chanticleer, an incredible “pleasure garden” in Wayne, Pennsylvania, that I visited two summers ago. Narrow pieces of slate, laid on edge in a crushed-granite base, form a spiraling patio/path that draws you toward a simple but beautifully constructed stone bench.
Chanticleer proved to be a treasure trove of creative paving ideas. Here’s another small sitting area in a clearing along a woodland path. Slate laid on edge combines with stone blocks and triangles to make a quilt-like pattern.
This tiny stopping place along a stepping-stone path is constructed of varying thicknesses of stone, laid on edge to create a dynamic starburst. Note the miniature star shapes laid within the larger design. Details, details.
Despite some erosion, an eddying design of slate laid on edge turns a humble sitting area into a special retreat.
One more slate-edge path from Chanticleer. The railroad effect of this linear path draws your eye and your feet.
Here’s a similar idea, but the narrow stone pieces are laid perpendicular to the direction of the path, drawing attention to its width rather than its length. The stone is set in a bed of angular, dark gravel, perhaps Texas black. This creative path is part of Fatal Flower Garden, a homeowner-designed garden I visited during Open Days Austin 2008.
An even simpler idea is to lay square concrete pavers on the diagonal in a decomposed-granite path, as I did here in my former garden. Not only does it add punch to a plain path, it pulls the eye along and gives barefooted strollers comfortable passage.
Here’s a contemporary take on the stepping-stone path. In the Poth-Gill garden in Austin, a staggered line of Cor-Ten steel trays hold a layer of Texas black gravel. The downside is that gravel gets knocked out of the trays, so some Zen-like rock grooming would be required from time to time.
Local blogger Lee at The Grackle has a beautiful brick-and-gravel patio in his garden. The bricks are mortared in a Celtic knot pattern and surrounded by pea gravel.
On the same day I visited Lee’s garden, I also got to see the garden of Philip (aka ESP), who blogs at East Side Patch. He’s constructed a very cool patio of salvaged bricks in a radiating half-circle around a bed of succulents.
I let all of these ideas percolate in my head for several months and eventually decided to look for a suitable material to lay on edge in a starburst pattern around my stock-tank pond. I checked out the concrete pavers at Home Depot and Lowe’s, but I didn’t care for them. I went to a construction-salvage shop to hunt for old bricks and found some, but they were priced too dearly. I considered scavenging materials from free offers on Craigslist and Freecycle, but that seemed like too much work. Finally I found some narrow cut stone on sale at a local stone yard and bought a pallet of it.
I’m laying it on a bed of sand on top of the decomposed granite that was already there. I plan to “mortar” it with finely crushed decomposed granite, filling in the gaps and tamping it all down.
I’ll have more pics when I finish. As you can see, the shed project in the background is coming along very slowly, but it’s starting to take shape. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know.
So are you laying a new garden path this spring? I’d love to see what’s inspiring your paving designs.
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