Landscaping: Pavers with Purpose

THE STORY.

Truth be told, stepping stones, pathways or landscaping pavers are often an afterthought in any outside space. After all, the walkway in the front of a home or near a driveway is certainly more function than form. It delivers us and our guests from the outside world to the front door in a purposeful way. So, it’s hard to get creative when following a brick or cement pathway from point A to B.

Unfortunately, that same mindset can spill into the backyard, leading to straight lines of stepping stones — or pathways haphazardly thrown down as an afterthought. But, if done well, stepping stones of nearly any material can create real purpose and beauty in any yard. Think of the project as establishing an invitation to explore.

For informal garden spaces, curving paths can be a good choice since the slower pace will lead to meandering, thinking, even communing with the plants, trees and natural world. Consider a focal point at the beginning — think of a fun sculpture, gnome or art — to draw attention to the path. The architecture of a given home can also inform the scope and shape of your stepping stone design. For instance, it may make sense to use brick with a brick house and so on.

Still, stepping stone designs don’t have to be just stone or brick. Often small routes on the sides of properties can better be served by clay pavers, crushed stone, even mulch. For such paths that lead to a garage, be mindful to use materials that allow easy snow removal in the winter.

Finally, spacing is important. If you place stepping stones too close or far apart it will disrupt the natural cadence of a walk. Instead, be sure to space them roughly two feet apart, accommodating natural walks no matter the material of your path.

Suddenly your backyard path has a focal point, fun design and even some form to go with that function.

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