Garden paths and walks should be considered from several points of view: The amount of traffic they will receive, their harmony with the landscape pattern and type of architecture, and the proper construction.
There are a number of materials available for use as paths, the most popular at present probably being flagstones. It is customary to place these stones on a four-to-six-inch bed of gravel that has been previously rolled and tamped. If this procedure is followed be sure to use the heavy two-inch thick flagstones. Lay all stones flush with lawn surface so the mower will have no difficulty passing over them. Bed the stones with sand and fill cracks with soil so grass or moss may grow.
Stepping stones made of heavy flagging always will be popular, especially in woodsy or rustic settings. Set them flush with or a little lower than the lawn. Use large and regular pieces as much as possible. Set them far enough apart to fit a normal average stride. Narrow stepping stones give the effect of distance to the garden.
Thick discs of rot-resistant redwood may take the place of ordinary stepping stones. Use a two-inch layer of sand beneath them.
Gravel paths are easy to make. The gravel should be from four to six inches deep and should be rolled firmly for best results. Do not use any material under the gravel such as cinders that can work up to the surface.
An edging of some sort will keep the gravel from scattering into the garden. Various edgings are available such as brick, steel curbing, and wood, the latter being quite temporary, however.
Concrete makes an inexpensive walk, but it is not nearly as attractive as most other kinds. It is good for paths that curve considerably. Use a rough finish if the path goes uphill to prevent it from being slippery when wet. A harsh concrete path should be tamed and softened with correct planting. Ivy is good for this purpose.
Brick paths can be formal or informal according to the pattern followed. This type of path must be well constructed because it must endure over a considerable time. And nothing is so disconcerting as a wobbly, insecure underfoot. For this reason, a good sub grade should be prepared first. Dig out at least six inches below the finish line, and fill up with sand to within three inches of the finished grade. Or use several inches clean cinders and a one-inch cushion of sand.
If an edging or curb is desired, make this next, using a string to set a straight course. Avoid bricks set at sharp angles if there will be children running on the path. Now drag a conforming template along the sand fill so all bricks may be placed evenly. Use a little cement at the corners to hold bricks down.
Fill all joints of the brick path with screened sand and sweep the walk clean. Place a heavy plank on top and pound. Wash more sand into crevasses with a fine-spraying hose. Sweep more sand into the joints when this is nearly dry.