At Peer Landscaping one of our favorite hardscape elements to build are walkways and pathways. After all, these man-made design features are the best way to provide a safe and convenient way for people to walk through their outdoor space to get up close and personal with the beautiful plants, trees, and flowers we’ve used in our landscape design. We want you to easily enjoy your lovely Southwest Florida landscape.
When discussing landscape design, people often use the terms walkway and pathway interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two. They have different purposes and different characteristics.
Pathways are typically narrow and made of natural materials such as mulch, pine straw, or crushed gravel. Paths are designed to blend in with the natural surroundings, and are often used to create a rustic or natural look. Their purpose is to connect different parts of the garden and they are used for accessing specific walkable areas. They are not typically wide enough to accommodate a baby stroller or wheelchair.
Walkways are considered to be a true hardscape, in that they are usually made on a wider strip of ground of man-made materials such as pavers, bricks, or concrete. More of a design element unto themselves, walkways can be designed to match the style of your house or garden, whether it is traditional, modern, tropical or naturalistic. Walkways are used to provide a safe and convenient way to move through the garden as they are used as a main path of travel.
We take a number of things into account when designing a new walkway, because they need to be functional. Here are a few of the key functions we take into account:
- Direct Foot Traffic: Nobody wants their guests trampling all over low lying plants and flowers in their garden, so walkways are used to control the flow of people and direct foot traffic.
- Accessibility: A good walkway provides an easy and safe way to navigate through your lawns and gardens, preventing people from tripping on uneven ground for example.
- Create Visual Interest: A beautiful walkway adds aesthetic appeal to your landscape. They can be used to create different visually interesting zones of your garden, or to link different parts of the outdoor space which may include elements such as a pool or jacuzzi.
- Durability: We make sure our pathways and walkways are made of durable materials that can withstand both heavy foot traffic and the heavy downpours of rain we get all summer long here in Lee County.
- Garden drainage: We can design walkways that help channel water away from certain parts of the garden to help prevent the erosion and damage running water can cause.
- Low maintenance: We look to create walkways that are easy for you to maintain and to keep clean.
The Most Popular Walkway Materials in Florida
The materials we choose together play an important role in the look and feel of your garden walkway or pathway. At Peer Landscaping we try to choose materials that fit the style of your home and landscape design. A more formal landscape and house design goes better with a hardscape walkway made of brick, pavers or slate stones. Materials like gravel, mulch or pinestraw enhance the look of a more naturalistic or organic pathway.
Here in Southwest Florida, there are several common materials we use for building walkways. Here’s just a short list of some of the most popular materials:
- Pavers are one of the most popular choices for garden walkways, patios and driveways. They can be made of a number of very durable, slip-resistant materials from natural stone to concrete to clay. Pavers come in a large variety of colors, shapes and sizes, making them a great choice for design because we can match or complement the color of your house. They are also easy to maintain, making them a great choice for either residential use or commercial. Pavers are typically set into a pervious sandy base, which allows rain to soak slowly back into the ground rather than being wasted as runoff.
- Bricks: If your house has a very classic look, then a brick-and-mortar walkway provides a clean and formal look that requires minimal maintenance.
- Concrete: Concrete is a popular choice because it is durable, low maintenance and can be colored, stained or even stamped for a multitude of design choices. Concrete can be stamped to look like brick, stone or other designs to match the surrounding landscape.
- Natural slate and stone: For a beautiful natural, rustic look slate and stone comes in a variety of colors, sizes and textures. It wears well and looks high end. Whether it is large slate paving stones or small round river rock, stone is always a beautiful choice.
- Wood: If you are looking for a rustic homestyle look, wood is a very popular option. It is easy to install, and wood can be painted or stained to match your landscape. Wood does require some yearly maintenance to prevent rot and decay.
- Natural combinations: Using a mix of materials for your walkway gives it a personal touch. Brick and stone together, or gravel with large slate stepping stones adds visual interest and creates a classic look that makes the walkway look like it’s been there for years. Perfect for a classically designed house and garden.
- Flagstones: Because flagstones come in so many different shapes and sizes, they allow for a creative, yet timeless look to your yard. They are easy to maintain and fit well into most landscape layouts.
Creating The Perfect Walkway for Your Landscape Design
At Peer Landscaping we know how to design the perfect walkway or garden path to best connect the different areas of your garden in a seamlessly beautiful way. We can create your dream landscape that is as simple and elegant, or as elaborate and creative as you wish. There’s a lot of things to consider before we ever stick a spade in the soil to start your walkway. We will discuss whether you want a leisurely casual pathway of crushed gravel that takes a snaking exploratory route through your outdoor space, or if you prefer a straight formal brick and mortar walkway that brings you and your guests to a focal point such as a trellis of flowers, a water fountain or a lovely bench to sit and enjoy the flowers. Here are some of the design elements we will take into consideration:
Practical purpose of the path: What are the goals for the path or walkway? Do you want it to be wide enough for two people to walk hand in hand? Does it need to be made of a material that will allow for use of a wheelchair or a wheelbarrow? Do you want it to lead your guests to specific parts of your landscape, or simply to the front door? We want to consider all of the natural access routes you want to gates, children’s play areas, entertaining areas such as fire pits or Jacuzzis. We may also want to create pathways to existing plantings, benches or trees. Depending on the walkway’s usage, we may want it to be wider due to high traffic, or made of a more durable materials for that same reason.
Design and style considerations: Together we will consider the style of your home, and our landscape design to determine the design of your garden pathways or walkways. We want to make sure everything complements each other. We want to choose materials that blend well with your landscape, are practical and easily maintained. We can even use walkways to make improvements on your garden’s proportions. For example, if you have an area of garden that is narrow, a path that sweeps from side to side will give the illusion of a wider space. Or if a garden has lots of straight lines, a simple walkway that has a bend in it lends interest.
Formal or casual considerations: Do you love a formal garden look like the lovely night garden at the Edison Estate in Fort Myers? Its formal geometric square layout framed with box hedging and repetitive forms are reminiscent of the gardens in the palaces in England. A wide straight path around this type of garden gives a sense of proportion and a linear perspective and directs the eye, while allowing you to walk along the path smelling the roses or plucking the perfect buds to put in a vase. An informal garden, however, wants a meandering garden path that is designed for you to enjoy a casual stroll through natural feeling curves. This works well when you need to wind around areas of dense plantings. This type of pathway should be created without the rigid geometry of bricks or pavers. Instead, pine straw, bark chips or gravel work well.
Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Peer Landscaping owners Bailey and Katie Peer bring a passion for beauty, as well as Christian values to their love of landscaping. Based in Fort Myers, FL, the Peer Landscaping team uses innovative 3-D design techniques that allow you to see how a new landscape design will truly look on your property, before any work is done. Check out our portfolio of the beautiful tropical landscapes we’ve completed at https://peerlandscaping.com/ and then give us a call to start designing your gorgeous new landscape! 239-645-6455