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A 'pathless' garden?

Posted by castorp z9 FL (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 30, 06 at 19:51

I've been struggling to decide what sort of paths I want to have in my garden for some time now. First I had grass (left over from the original weedy lawn) then I had mulch. Now I have beaten earth. I've considered bricks, pebbles, concrete, stone--all have their pluses and minuses--and I just haven't been able to make up my mind.

But lately I've been thinking about something else altogether. Instead of having a traditional path, I would have large, rather thick stepping stones (I'm making these out of concrete)that meander through a patchwork of low ground covers: these groundcovers will be massed, but there will be many different types: I'm hoping the groupings will give order, while the variety will add interest. The key is that they will be LOW, so that I can step from stone to stone easily. On either side of this "path" will be the existing "beds"--which themselves are patchworks of larger plants, also in informal groups. So, in other words, instead of walking THROUGH the garden, you walk INTO the garden. There will be no "path" in the traditional sense of the word. There will be beds of very low plants with stones for easy crossing.

I realize that this kind of path has many drawbacks too: it's not the best sort of garden to, say, throw a garden party in, and it would be tricky pushing a wheelbarrow. (I would try to use groundcovers tough enough to get away with dragging a hose over them though). But I don't throw big garden parties anyway (too many bugs in Central Florida) and Iuse a bucket and basket far more than a wheelbarrow. I have a small garden, and I want to capitalize on space, and it would allow me to have lots of cool green surface without lawn.

Still, I'm a little nervous, mainly because I've never seen this kind of garden. I have seen a few pictures, but even these are few and far between.

So I was wondering, do any of you know of such a garden? Can you direct me to pictures of such a garden? (Books, websites, magazines, or your own: any pictures would be helpful).Do you think such a garden would "work"?

Thank you,


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: A 'pathless' garden?

Why not try it in a section of your garden first and see how you like it? It wouldn't work for a garden party like you said, but as a little "wilderness" area, it would be wonderful for children and adults to explore in the case of a party held in another area of your yard. Cheryl

RE: A 'pathless' garden?

If you weed religiously.... sounds good....

RE: A 'pathless' garden?

Some nice "walkable" thyme or moss would be nice and should fill in eventually if planted close together. I did a Google search on "garden stone thyme" and got these links and more:

RE: A 'pathless' garden?

The only thing that you may ponder is this. A 12"x12" stone has 48" of edging. If the stones are butted up the edging is reduced. Most ground covers will try to cover the stepping stones, sculptures, trees, walls etc. etc. Weeds will grow in the joints also but there is a weed killer for that.

RE: A 'pathless' garden?

I've tried many "paths" the ones I like best right now are a thick blanket of brown oak leaves. Weeds don't like them but dragging a hose is not real easy but stones would hang up a hose on the edges too. I like decomposed granite (looks like coarse sand) very much in some areas - spread it, pack it with water and when it dries out it looks great. You need about 3 inches. It won't support weeds, and when you want to get rid of it just wet it and scrape it up and mix it in with the garden soil here and there. My driveway is made of it and I have extended the paths here and there. Easy to rake and restful to the eye. The stepping stones might look cluttered and I agree with the other post that everything will try to grow over them too. Don't make too many just yet and try it out first.. good advice from another previous post. Have fun.

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