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Putting in a Path: Landscaping Your Way to a Great Lawn

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

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Putting in a path can be a real lawn saver. If you find yourself treading a particular piece of lawn over and over again, say from the backdoor to the garden or from the garage to the shed, chances are your turf is having a tough time standing up to the wear and tear.

Even the hardiest of grass varieties are likely to break down under serious foot traffic. Rather than forcing yourself, your family, and your guests to take zig zag routes from one popular spot to the next as they cross your yard, consider putting in a path.

Whether you put in a lawn path made of tile, stone, wood, etc., the bottom line will be the same - heavy foot traffic will be well contained, and your lawn can thrive all around it. Better yet, a path can be an attractive eye catching element of your overall landscaping design.
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Path Landscaping Tip #1 - Watch for shifting

If you decide to go with a path made of stone, tile, or something similar, but opt not to set it in mortar, the stones, etc. are likely to spread and shift over time. Be sure to check up on them occasionally and put them securely back in place, since shifting and spreading can lead to damage during mowing or to slip-and-fall accidents.

Path Landscaping Tip #2 - Straight shots aren't always the answer

Laying down concrete in a straight line from your backdoor to your vegetable garden might be practical, but it isn't pretty. A nice meandering path that doesn't bisect your yard into perfect halves has better odds of pleasing the eye.

Path Landscaping Tip #3 - Consider your purpose

Are you putting in a path to save your lawn the wear and tear of constant wheelbarrow wheeling from the shed to the garden? Or are you looking for a path to spare your lawn the treading of all the guests you're leading from the house back to your beautiful flower beds? Wheelbarrow?

Chances you'll be happier with a smoother path. Concrete will help you roll right along. Garden parties? Some decorative tiles or some pretty stonework might be just the ticket.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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