Designing a killer walkway
Large open spaces need to be traversed.
It is fatal for a designer to neglect to anticipate foot traffic and fail to put some sort of pathway into their landscape design.
Why is it such a big deal?
Simply put, if you don’t provide a path, visitors will ‘make’ a pathway for you! Footstep by footstep, visitors will randomly carve their own path into your space; tearing up your grass, sod, gravel, or whatever material is covering your land, resulting in a shabby unprofessional landscape.
How do we handle this?
Quite simply! When creating your landscape plan:
1. Note all egress and digress points around the grounds. Parking lot to entrance, entrance to back entrance, or side entrance. Note all access points that surround your open space. You’ll need to make a pathway with that follows the least resistance to natural traffic flow. If you make visitors jump through hoops (or in this case walk through hoops), they will not use your path, and will instead walk directly over your grounds, thus defeating the purpose.
2. Note all elements on your grounds which people will want to walk over to (fountains, pergolas, seating). Your egress and digress points should effortlessly branch off to elements such as these.
What material should I choose?
A properly designed building interior follows a uniform style throughout, creating a cohesive experience. It is no different for the outside of a property. A landscape design should match the style of the building.
Modern, formal, sophisticated style
Use concrete slab, or pre-cast concrete pavers for your walkways. These can be brick, concrete, or natural stone, cut into pavers.
Informal, laid back
Use crushed gravel for your walkways. Decomposed Granite (DG) is a great option for this style, or any rock that you can get in 1/4 minus.
What style should I use?
For modern, use straight lines for your walkways, 90-degree angles, clean edges and rectangular pavers, and it goes without saying, make sure you choose a paver that complements this style.
For a more natural or traditional style, use curves for your walkways, each bend adds more and more of an organic feel. And if you want to double down on the natural look, consider irregular shaped flagstones to be used as stepping stones, with grass, or gravel in between each stone.
What pattern should I choose?
When it comes to choosing your walkway’s pattern it’s not as noticeable what patterns are ‘modern, or natural, or conservative, or informal’, with the one exception possibly being ‘running bond’ as it is the classic ‘brick’ pattern after all! Otherwise, you can choose any pattern you want! Just realize that more complex patterns require more cutting and a more skilled crew:
If you want a pattern that is easy to install, then go with:
- Jack on jack
- Running bond
More advanced patterns, which require more cutting:
What color do I choose?
Color is KEY. It is so important that we wrote a whole blog article JUST about choosing the right color for your landscape design! Click this link to check it out:
What about lighting?
What good is an artful design that can only be admired for half the day? After all your hard work planning and installing it’d be a crime for people to not be able to enjoy it at night! Therefore, your design needs to incorporate lights, along your walkway.
They need not be ugly and obtrusive either. They can be very organic-looking, as there are ‘boulder’ lights that are simply stones that have a hollowed-out portion, where a recessed light is inserted.
Where should you get your rocks?
Your landscape design will probably require some crushed rock and boulders! At Kalamazoo we’ve got what you need, and the most gorgeous colors in the area. Visit our catalog to see for yourself!
- Nevada: Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City
- Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Casa Grande
- Southern California: Palm Springs, Bakersfield, Victorville, Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles
- Utah: Salt Lake City, Saint George