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lkayetwvz5

Garden pathways......pulling out my hair on which way to go!

lkayetwvz5
last year

I have probably a couple miles of garden paths to put in - really! Cottage style is harder than it looks! It's easy to put in bordered rose beds which I have done over the years but then the mowing grass and trimming and edging around and I am getting tired of all that. I would like to get rid of the grass (mainly weeds) completely but the choice of different materials to use is endless. Just mulch? With or without stepping stones? (Unfortunately mulch is a good cat potty and no fun when you step into it or kneel in it on a nice wet morning!) Crushed limestone? With stepping stones? It's good for several years until the birds spread seeds and the cats dig dirt into it and everything sprouts and starts to grow in it, but it's long lasting and durable. Should I use weed barrier and lawn edging strips? I need to be able get a wheelbarrow through the beds. It usually rains a lot here and the weeds grow into everywhere very quickly and edging ends up a full time job. My husband and the landscape/nursery guy insist you have to dig out the dirt, put down weed barrier, then sand and then stones to make a lasting path. I did a big section like that under my tunnel arbor last year! I was thinking more like remove the sod, lay out some weed barrier or plastic, cover with some mulch or stones, lay out stepping stones, add more mulch/stone around the stepping stones and call it quits. I'd like to get these done before I break my back or die trying. What is your quickest and easiest choice for making pathways? Please share any pics of your walkways, they are always appreciated.

Comments (81)

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Rosylady has beautiful gravel paths..so neat and clean..my neighbors that have gravel would be sooo jealous..in our wooded neighborhood the gravel looks messy..they have weeds and have complained that it "migrates" (my word) into their beds..in my opinion in our neighborhood flowersaremusic's mulch paths would look better..I prefer mulch under foot..a couple of screenshots using decking pics1,2..I was thinking it could be used over the mulch and keep cats out..of course it's more time and money..I have a wooded half acre..not much lawn..just weedy paths..we did build some boardwalks from boards the neighbors were throwing out..the price was right (free) pics 3,4..I think of them as giant stepping stones..they're great for pots in the summer..we also built several "plant stands" from scrap wood..scrap wood fits our rustic setting..

    for me it's a no for landscape fabric and rocks..there would NEVER be an exception..I would prefer mud..

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  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @ sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a), any type of wood based mulch is fine around roses.

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  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last year

    LOVE your woodland garden, nicholsworth! It's ethereal. Like faeries live there. I don't have the right kind of trees for that look, but wish I did.

    Rosylady, everything you do is pure perfection. Your hydrangeas and lattice house make my heart beat faster. I love the sound of gravel underfoot. It will always be my first choice. We are putting gravel around the new barn, but that area is not a garden.

    Diane, most of those peonies have come out. As much as I love them, their bloom coincides with our spring rains. I've tried every peony support I know of and nothing holds them upright. They always look promising when in bud.

  • nanadollZ7 SWIdaho
    last year

    Flowers, that is too bad, but I totally agree about peony supports. My smaller, earlier peonies don't have much problem. Some are "held" up by surrounding plants. But glorious Sarah Bernhardt gets blown down every year. I usually end up cutting most of her blooms off for bouquets. Rain can knock her down, but remarkably, her blooms still stay nice. I wish there was a solution, but bloom times for peonies are short here. Diane

  • dhaven
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I don't recommend putting cedar around roses or any other plant. I use it only on my paths. Cedar is naturally rot and insect resistant, and is known to retard the growth of young plants. I find no research that indicates it would harm mature plants or roses, but I did notice a few years ago that when I used it on one small new hosta bed, those plants had a noticeably slower growth rate than other similarly situated new beds planted at the same time. I have also noticed that the hosta wildlings that come up on my paths generally seem to grow more slowly than those in the various unmulched beds. Once moved to a cedar free area, these seedlings will grow more quickly. Hardly a scientific study, only anecdotal evidence, so take it for what it's worth. Free advice is sometimes worth exactly what you paid for it!


    I've seen some truly beautiful photos on this thread, kudos to all the gardeners. It has also really brought to our attention that different gardeners have completely different styles of gardens. Some love the more formal, controlled look, others a more casual cottage style or even a naturalized appearance. All are lovely, none are 'correct' or 'better', just different. Your garden should be what you like best, my garden should be what I like best. But I have never seen a garden that I thought was 'wrong', every garden I've been in (and that has been many hundreds) has something beautiful and unique to enjoy.

  • nanadollZ7 SWIdaho
    last year

    Ikaye, my friend does not use landscape fabric, but she does have metal edging, which she put in herself. Diane

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  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year
    last modified: last year

    flowersaremusic..thank you!..we love it..I think it's special..1/the front..2/in back..3/my motto..keep it natural..4/pair of owls..one is leaving..5/fox eating the birds dry roasted unsalted peanuts..6,7/birds right now during winter..put the feeder close on a homemade plant stand from scrap wood (what else? lol)..

    lkaye..we have paths in all directions..going around the trees and plants over the entire half acre..in some areas no grass or weeds just dirt and leaf litter..I don't mind it a bit..there's so many leaves it's not really muddy..I haven't seen your garden..our paths might be too rustic for you..but I'm glad that I didn't do what my neighbors did..just sharing my opinion..good luck..

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
    last year
    last modified: last year

    nicholasworth, you forgot one of my favourite things ... your compost pile! Please post a pic if you have one handy! :-))

  • lkayetwvz5
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks nana!

    And thank all of you who gave advice! Like dragging the hose down and across paths (flowers). Always something to remember since I tend to forget watering until later in the year if at all.

    I am guessing from all the posts about not using landscape fabric that it is probably unnecessary if the mulch/stone is deep enough. I have to agree that most of the weeds come from seeding in the top layer but not all. Here it is subtropical in the summer and I have every kind of bindweed that exists. I had resorted to using heavy lumber tarps under everything and that works but also prevents rain from going through evenly and may suffocate some roots.

    nicholsworth - I love your wooded setting and your path areas look so open and clean. I think your shaded area makes controlling grass and weeds easier than my full sun location. I do like those mini pallet squares and might try a few in some wetter areas of one garden.

    woodyoak - I have 20 acres. Only about 3 is in finished gardens now. I lost the 2 acre terraced garden due to continual flooding of our creek and decided to abandon anymore work on it. I agree with your comment to maybe try mulch in the paths first, and then see if they work before going into other materials or designs. That's what I had done with everything up to last year when I finally had time to put in some hardscape. Unfortunately there really is no quick way to do the paths and I may as well resolve myself to doing some at a time. Edging is going to have to be done to keep things where they are supposed to be!

    rosylady - I love your stone paths! I have some stone areas and I think I will keep them and redo the top layers. And I see I need to add back some of the smaller hydrangeas! Yours are gorgeous! I tore out my old huge ones last year that didn't bloom well or at all anymore. I still have some peonies and yes they are a true disappointment when you lose all the blooms. I keep all my vases primarily for the butchering after the rain and wind ruins them. Square tomato cages sometimes work if you put a couple together.

    blueocean - I love flagstone and I just got back from the nursery and the price is $.35 a lb. (an average rock is about 30-50 lbs.) Or half that if you buy a huge basket on a pallet which is about 2 ton and around $700+! I don't have a truck that big and delivery is $160 and how do I get it unloaded and where do I put it while I work on it?

    Well I bought a new edging tool and 3 rolls of edging and let the games begin!


  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year

    Vaporvac..hahaha..it's the cherry on top..some here are probably horrified..I wish I'd taken that one pic AFTER I put the pile of debris into the compost bin..we're working on this log edging..there's plants to move where I decided to create an entrance into that area/#4 lower left corner..can't wait to start working again..I'm accomplishing nothing inside or out at the moment..lol

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  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last year

    nicholsworth, you are a conscientious steward of the land. In that setting you must feel as though you're on vacation year 'round.

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  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last year

    Ikayet, I always admire your tenacity and stamina. I hope you will share your progress.

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  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year

    flowersaremusic..that's so nice!..this is the truth..we work harder than any of the 10 homeowners on our court..not my opinion (but I agree!) they've all told us so..

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  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year

    Ikaye..you're right..my shade and leaf litter keep the weeds under control more than your sun..

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  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas
    last year

    Nicolsworth, I love your idea about the tree stumps surrounding the compost pile. I have a bunch of stumps out by where we dump my horse stall manure/shavings - I am going to get the man who works for me to drag those stumps to surround my compost pile - great idea! HE may not be so thrilled with it, but that will keep it contained.


    I love everyone's photos, so inspiring! I will photo my garden cottage with the rocks as soon as the monsoon stops. For me.......these river rocks are "the bomb"!

    Judith

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  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year

    alameda..the tree stumps do a great job keeping everything contained..we've planted shrubs around 3 sides to hide it but they're not big enough yet..it's so big we take the chipper into the bin and chip inside the bin..

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  • toolbelt68
    last year
    last modified: last year

    For those of you that own a riding lawn mower just get a 3/4” x 12” x 36” piece of plywood, 1/2” drill wood bit, (about 27 bolts, at least 4 inches in length) with 2 nuts each, and a long piece of rope.

    Drill a hole for each bolt spaced every 3 inches apart all over the plywood. You may want to stagger every other row so the bolts are not in line with each other. Put a nut on each bolt then insert them into the holes you drilled. Add the other nut and tighten each as you go, making sure the heads of each bolt is the same distance from the plywood. The head should be at least 1.5 inches from the plywood.

    Attach the rope near the edge at the corners of one long side. Connect the rope to the lawnmower, and drag it around the flower bed where you want paths to be. Add weight if you so desire…. have fun. Adjusting the rope so the plywood is at a slant to the mower can help with the alignment of the bolts so the bolt heads cut most of the weeds.

    It may take a few trips but after while nothing will be growing in those paths. This can be used for leveling gravel.

    Since you will not be backing this thing up make sure all of your paths are smooth curves so you are always going forward.

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  • litasart
    last year

    Love the garden paths and beautiful flowers, where is spring? Also I would like to share with flowersaremusic or anyone else that may be interested. We have a tropical ginger garden bed around a big sycamore tree and every year the gingers after blooming droop just like your peonies, this year we are installing a stake around the perimeter and using cooper wire to hold them up when they are growing. Found this information from the wise people at Disney.

    And I am hoping to show some beautiful paths in our gardens.

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  • Lilyfinch z9a Murrieta Ca
    last year

    What an absolutely beautiful thread this has turned into!! I’m loving everyone’s pictures!

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  • blueocean m
    last year

    ikayet - for the flagstone I was lucky. I wasn't doing a terribly large area and the stone store was near my work. So on an as-needed basis I would load up my SUV with flagstone after work (about $125 dollars worth per trip), and unload it at home where I needed it. It made a big (for me) project a lot less daunting.


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  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Litasart, thank you for the peony support suggestion. I really ought to try every way possible before taking out any more. I do cut lots for the house, but I had about 25 plants in addition to the tree peonies, so most of the blooms stayed on the plant, looking sad. Roses are in their vacant spots, now.

    One trick I thought would work was a disc of chicken wire the approx. diameter of the plant and placing it on the ground, over the new shoots in early spring, then raising it as the plant grew through it. They did a passable job on the smaller plants, but I kept catching my pant leg on them and pulling them askew. Was a similar mess to my fishing line debacle. The stakes and wire method you suggested is also a good way to contain a dahlia patch.

    Does Disney have a gardening site?

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  • Gabi (Montréal Zone 4/5)
    last year

    I tried to find pictures of my gravel path but I only have it when it is messy lol.






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  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
    last year

    This is one of the prettiest posts ever!!, but I'm partial to landscape pictures. I do wish folks would stop referring to their yards as weedy as it's giving me a complex. Those weedy pics are about as good as I get sometimes! : D Gabi, I love the basket placed so nonchalantly in the path!

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  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Vaporvac..I pretty much ignore weeds..except poison ivy and stinging nettle ugh..which I get from 2 neighbors that don't come outside..my yard is large and borders 6 houses..at least 4 of them aren't as bad..

    Gabi..your garden is beautiful..I couldn't maintain it as well..I belong in the woods lol..

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  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
    last year

    nicholsworth, stinging nettle makes a wonderful soup! Just wear gloves to harvest it!

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  • Perma n’ Posies/9A FL
    last year

    I agree, gorgeous photos. Nicholsworth, your site is just breathtakingly beautiful! And good on you for dedicating a big spot for your compost pile—the logs are a great idea!!

    Gabi, your garden is idyllic! I love all the stone paths, and the herby borders.

    Flowersaremusic, they make a flower support for commercial growing that does what you’re describing; not sure if that would work for you, but I saw it when researching support for dahlias.

    :-)

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  • lkayetwvz5
    Original Author
    last year

    Gabi your paths and/or gardens are far from messy! I should be so lucky!

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year

    Vaporvac..really??..plants are amazing..it's so nasty if you touch it..I went my entire life unaware of it then moved here 15 years ago and discovered it..I use disposable gloves..double bag what I pull out then throw out the gloves..

  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last year

    Thanks, Perma. I will check on that for my peonies. For tall dinner plate dahlias, I plant a length of rebar next to the rhizomes and tie them off. It gets completely covered up. I know someone who uses tomato cages for dahlias, but I haven't done that.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year

    Perma n' Posies..thank you!..I got the logs from a neighbor across the street..we used a handtruck and hauled them to the backyard..my husband gave the tree guys a branch broken to size and said "could you cut them this tall?"..but they couldn't seem to get the message!..they wanted us to take them and they tried but they don't exactly match lol..the finished compost is the best thing in the world for my garden..

  • Perma n’ Posies/9A FL
    last year

    Nicholsworth, you should definitely compost your nettles (if you don’t make soup) because they are a wonder plant. You can make a very nourishing tea for you, or to spray on your roses. They are nutrient rich. :-)

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year

    Perma n' Posies..I was afraid the nettles would sting me later so I didn't compost them..I'll do some research..thank you..I don't have too many..just in one corner..a few coming from the neighbor next door..

  • Perma n’ Posies/9A FL
    last year

    If you just let them wilt in some water, the prickles go away.

    The really funny thing is that I bought seeds and keep trying to start them, but haven’t had any luck. We always want what we can’t have. :-)

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
    last year

    That's why I know how to make soup from them but I don't have any to use!

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Perma n' Posies and Vaporvac..it's so funny that one of the thorns in my side would be welcomed by both of you..it's true that "the grass is always greener" isn't it?..

    back to say..I did a Google search..LOTS of links..just seeing a few pics made me itch lol..

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Lovely photos everyone! For the gardeners who grow roses and plants in the open fields/ woods, how do you keep deer away from eating your blooms? So far the fishing line is working just by viewing the security cameras, but all the roses at country are next the houses. Will have to start a garden in open this year. I am thinking about an electric fence.

    Flower, did you move to the country? Somehow I remember you have a lovely suburb garden., won the local garden of the year, maybe I remembered wrong.:-)

    I have signed up for free wood chips drop at both places but so far no drops. I wish I could get a load this year.

  • nanadollZ7 SWIdaho
    last year

    Summers, Flowers lives in the woods and can give you some advice. I live in deer country, too, the big old mule deer country. They are persistent and aggressive. I don't have a fence, but regular applications of stinky repellent helps some. I think this would help on smaller gardens, only, though. We can't have electric fences here, but if it's possible for you, that might be a solution. Fishing line wouldn't work here, either. Diane

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    last year

    Thanks Diane, I mixed up Flower with someone else. Lol I will check into electric fence, neighborhood cow farm uses that for cows.

  • toolbelt68
    last year

    Summers, I suggest you call your local tree trimmer companies. They may be looking for drop off spots for all of the chips they end up with. Can’t hurt…..


    Instead of one of those continuous electrical wire fences why not just run a weather shielded wire from the electric fence control box to posts set around your rose garden. At each post attach a stiff wire welded to a wire spring. Bent one end such that it form a loop. You don’t want a sharp point. Mount it horizontal so when a deer runs into it it doesn’t stab the dear of break off because it can swing back and forth. Just add a timer to control when it’s active.


    I have a robot lawn mower that is limited by a wire that is first laid down 1 foot away from the edge of the lawn. Plastic pegs are used to hold it down about every 18 inches. After a couple weeks the grass covers the wire. Depending on your garden size you could run individual wires to each post or daisy chain them. Just make sure the wire goes straight from post to post, no curves….. that way if there is problems you can find the buried wire. You will also know where NOT to dig…. :-)



  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last year

    Summers, you made my day, but you are thinking of someone else. I've never won any awards.

    As for deer, I understand the frustration and empathize with you. It's truly disheartening to see every bud and bloom disappear overnight and for your roses to be deer pruned to just a few inches of bare sticks. After 20 years of fighting a losing battle, I finally put in deer fencing. It's not electric. It's high density black plastic mesh, 9'H. It's not my dream fence, but it does the job, and kind of disappears into the background unless you're looking for it.

    I hope your wood chips come through for you this spring. That, along with deer fencing, has made a huge difference.

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Thanks Flower! We give you a reward on this forum! :-) 9’ tall? Would 6’ deer fence work? Electric fence is cheaper than deer fence I think. But I only can use it at the countryside in PA. I don’t think I could use electric fence at the place we are in the process to buy in NY state, I have to use a deer fence. It has a few acres of open field and more acres of woods in the far back. When we pulled in the driveway for viewing, there was a deer at the end of the circular , it didn’t even ran away, it just looked at us, and slowly walked away. I knew I’d have a big problem there growing roses. I thought about line up potted rose trees around the circle, but the deer would eat all the blooms. I could use the spray like Diane. But that means I can’t have a lot of roses there, it would be a lot of work spraying after each rain. We have a lot of rain here.

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
    last year

    6' tall is NOT tall enough, at least not for my deer. I'm still working on the best arrangement for where I don't want double fencing. I'm looking to use the slant method if my neighbor agrees.

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas
    last year

    Just curious but why can you not have deer fencing? Seems if it is your property you can do what you want. I dont have a problem with deer where I live and dont know what kind of fencing they could or could not get over. But wondering what if you sunk square posts around your rose bed, drilled holes in them at an appropriate width and ran cable through them? Surely they couldnt get through that. Or used cattle panel, but that might get costly. Surely there is some way to put a stop to that - I cannot imagine doing all that work only to come out one morning and all my buds were gone. It would be war!

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    last year

    I meant I probably couldn’t use electric fence at a suburb place ( not really in the country country ). I will check with the town after we move in. The deer fence won’t mix well next to a historical house, but I could plant some brushes to block people’s view from the street.......

  • flowersaremusic z5 Eastern WA
    last year

    Poof! I just lost a very informative and well written comment. Kidding, of course, but I did just lose my reply to summers. First, thank you for your nice words.

    About the fence - deer can easily jump over a 6' fence. Some experts say 10', but 9' works for us. A deer fence is not appropriate in every setting. I don't think neighbors would be happy with it in a suburban neighborhood. Vapor's idea of slanted or double fencing works because deer have poor depth perception, and are wary of anything they can't figure out. If you have room, that is a much nicer looking fence because it doesn't have to be so tall.

    When you find the solution, I hope you'll post it. Good luck.

  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
    last year

    Here, a 6 ft fence works. There is a ditch around our property outside the fence (bordering the road). It might make it seem more like an 8 ft fence to the deer.

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
    last year

    That is probably why, Sheila. They can't jump both high and deep. I think my problem is they were foaled in my yard so return to foal themselves. I think if they aren't used to being in one's yard it isn't as big a problem.

  • Jean
    last year

    My neighbor has gravel pathways in her woodland garden; they were installed by a contractor who used "Eko-Flo" glue on the gravel. It keeps the gravel path perfect yet magically allows the water to go through it. She lives on a very steep hill and the gravel kept washing away until this was applied. It worked fantastic, she hasn't re-graveled in years. They did it about 6 years ago, the pebble gravel just looks 'wet'.

    https://technisoil.com/ekoflo-pebble-binder.html

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas
    last year

    Our local Walmart just redid their floors - scraped up all the tile down to the concrete floor and put some clear hard material on it - looks like its iced over. Really neat - hard, wont scuff......wonder if thats the same stuff? Would love to try that on my garage floor - the epoxy coating doesnt work, keeps flaking off. Will check this out, sounds great.

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Thanks Flower. I will report it back when I find a way. :-)

    Thanks everyone for the info about 6’ deer fence. :-)