27 October 2015
Virtually every garden will have a path of some kind so I will outline some of the options available. There are two types of path - one that gets you from A to B as directly as possible, such as a path from the house to the garden shed or greenhouse, and one that is designed to show off your planting.
The first type of path needs a solid foundation and will be of a generous width. Paving slabs would be a popular choice, and are reasonably easy to lay, being smaller and lighter than those of a few years ago. They can also be sunk into a lawn as stepping stones.
The second type of path will tend to be more decorative, probably narrower and will often be made up of curves rather than straight lines. Probably the easiest material to use would be gravel, though it does require edging to keep it in place. I have used reclaimed bricks for edging in my garden - just keep an eye open for a skip with bricks in it, though check with the householder before taking any. You can also buy log rolls which allow you to make curves, though in my experience these don't last too long.
There are also alternatives to the common quartzite gravel, such as slate, which is available in various colours, and crushed rock, again coming in different colours.
York stone makes a beautiful-looking path, but it can get slippery when wet, so is probably best avoided for regularly-used paths.
Cobbled setts are attractive but need cementing in place and can be quite difficult to walk on. They are perhaps better used as part of a design with paving slabs.
Bark is an alternative to gravel, and would look more in place in some situations. Like gravel it would benefit from edging, and should be placed in a thick layer to prevent weeds coming through. It is ideal for temporary paths and itís a good alternative to lawn or paving in shady spots where other surfaces grow green slime.
Wooden decking or sleepers would be an option for a path near a pond or bog garden, or as an informal bridge over a stream or ditch. To prevent it being slippery to walk on, fasten wire netting over the decking. Regular power-washing should also work.
There is also a number of proprietary paving products available to the gardener, such as reconstituted stone slabs, which are well worth investigating. I am sure you will find the ideal material for your project.