11 Fantastic Garden Path Ideas on a Budget

Pebble Garden Path

A fantastic looking garden pathway doesn’t need to cost a fortune. The garden pathways below are perfect for DIY’ers on a budget. Each of these pathways can be completed with a minimal amount of tools or building experience. You’ll find pathways to meet every type of garden. With looks that range from the rustic to modern. Here are our top garden path ideas on budget.

Mulch pathway

Mulch pathway

For an inexpensive and easy to lay garden path it doesn’t get much better than a mulch. Mulch is a material applied to the surface of soil. Typically it is used to reduce the growth of weeds and conserve soil moisture. However, wood mulch can also look great as a path.

To design your mulch path use your garden hose to line up one side of your path. Use a straight line for a more formal path and a curve line for something a little more gentle. Then use landscaping spray paint to mark this line. Space the other side of the path three foot from. Again use your garden hose and spray paint to mark the path.

Dig a trench for the path approximately six inches deep. Line the trench with plastic edging and place four inches of crushed stone in the trench. This will help with the drainage. Finally fill the trench with wood and tamp flat.

Stepping stone path

Stepping stone path

Stepping stone pathways are evocative of secret gardens and idyllic rural cottages. They provide a clear path to direct people away from crushing vegetation and flower beds. Best of all they are easy to lay and relatively inexpensive.

Stepping stone paths need to be placed evenly at a strides length apart. Lay out your stepping stones on the ground and adjust until you are comfortable that you can walk naturally from one stone to another. Use a tape measure to confirm that they are evenly spaced. Proper spacing of your stepping stones will give your path a much neater appearance. You can use a string line if you want your path to be straight.

Dig a hole for each of the stones to sit in. Then lay mortar into each of the holes. Place the stones back into the holes and with a spirit level ensure that they are level.

Pallet walkway

Pallet walkway

Pallet walkways can imbue your garden with a lovely rustic appearance. And if you want an environmentally friendly pathway that won’t cost a fortune, then a pallet pathway is the answer. Pallets are an excellent source of reclaimed wood. These can usually be purchased either very cheaply or even obtained for free. In general it is better to source thicker, rather than thin, pallets for your walkway.

To build a pallet walkway the easiest approach is to keep the pallets whole. Dig out and then level a trench for the pallets. You can choose to either dig out a trench deep enough for the pallets to be fully embedded or have a shallower trench if you would prefer a raised pallet path. You may want to add an additional layer of top soil to form a cushioned surface for your pallets. Once the pallets have been embedded into your trench, push soil back in to hold them in place.

Gravel pathways

Gravel pathways

A gravel garden pathway is low cost to install and requires little in the way of maintenance. Done correctly a gravel pathway gives a tidy, yet highly durable, look to your garden.

The cost of your gravel pathway will depend on the length and width of your path. If you want to keep your project costs down minimize the width and form a straight line. You’ll need a depth of about four inches for the trench of your path. Make sure to maintain straight edges for your trench to give it a neat appearance. The trench should be lined with crushed stones with a weed resistant membrane to prevent weeds from sprouting.

In order to maintain its appearance, rake it on a regular basis to create an event surface. You’ll lose some gravel over time, so keep a store of gravel in the same color to replace this as needed.

Wood slice pathway

Wood slice pathway

This rustic looking pathway makes use of discarded wood tree slices. Use unwanted logs to slice into discs that you can arrange to form your garden pathway.

To prepare the pathway you will need to clear any sod, then rake and trample the ground so that there is a level base. Once the surface is flat you can use cement pavers to form the edge of the path.

Place your largest log slices first to form the stepping stones. Once the stepping stones are in place, smaller log discs can be added to complete the path. Allow for some spacing around each log slice to maintain a balanced appearance. Finally, fill in the space between the logs with dirt and sweep to create an even surface.

Flagstone pathway

Flagstone Pathway

Flagstone pathways are ideal for amateur DIY’ers. These pathways don’t require any mortar or power tools. Start by outlining the sides of your pathway using either landscaping spray paint or flour.

Dig out the soil to form a trench four inches deep. Rake to form a smooth surface. Place a two inch layer of granite and even out. Place the flagstones in pairs and ensure that these are level. You can use a chisel to break the flagstones into the shape that you prefer. Aim for a slightly uneven appearance in order to create a rustic look. Finally use ground cover to fill in the gaps between the flagstones.

Railway sleeper pathway

Railway sleeper pathway

Railway sleepers provide a highly durable, yet low priced, pathway material. Wooden railway sleepers are comfortable to walk on barefoot. Also they remain cool in the summer unlike on concrete or stone paths. Railway sleepers are easy to cut and don’t require much in the way of carpentry skills. Overall they are extremely versatile options that will work in most gardens.

Once the sleepers have been cut to your desired length, this pathway requires digging and then arranging in order to form the path. Spacing the sleepers is the key to a successful pathway. Typically a spacing of around one foot between each sleeper is preferable. This distance is comfortable for most people to step between but not so close that you might trip.

When digging the trench you want it to be deep enough that the sleeper sits about one inch above the ground. You will dig a separate trench for each of your railway sleepers. Line the bottom of the trench with about on inch of sand. Place the railway sleeper on top of the sand, then use a sledge hammer to force it down.

Reclaimed brick paths

Reclaimed Brick Paths

Reclaimed brick paths can be very inexpensive, or even free, way of paving your garden. If you are renovating your property then you may find you have old bricks that need to be removed. Builders will also sometimes allow you to take brick from building sites in order to save them the cost of removal.

In order to install a reclaimed brick pathway you will first need to dig down the height of your brick. Then level out the surface. Building a level brick pathway will be easier if you avoid building on a slope and maintain a straight line. The bricks will need to sit on builder sand. Because you are working with reclaimed brick, you will usually need to remove parts of the brick in order to make them fit. To simplify and reduce the cost of your project, only use cement for your edge tiles to hold your path in place.

Bamboo pathway

Bamboo pathway

Bamboo a highly durable material which is stronger even than oak. Bamboo also weathers well being more resistant to rot compared to most other woods. Use a pathway material that gives an exotic look to your garden, at a low price point.

Bamboo pathways can be easily formed using roll-up bamboo maps. These are ideal for creating walkways through muddy or moist parts of your garden. Look for bamboo maps that are woven together using nylon coated wires.

To create a softer pathway place a layer of mulch beneath the bamboo. This will provide a more comfortable experience especially if barefoot.

Pebble garden path

Pebble Garden Path

Pebble garden paths provide a natural look that some people prefer to the more formal appearance of paving stones. Pebble paths are also a flexible paving option. You can select a shade of pebble that will match the plants and flowers in your garden. You can also use a contrasting pebble color to highlight the path and make it pop.

Pebble paths don’t require a lot of technical skill and can be done on a budget. They will require a reasonable amount of heavy lifting though. So this is a project that you will need to bring a bit of energy too.

To build a pebble path you can mark it out using a string to mark the outside line of the path. The string can be either in a straight line or curved depending on your preferred style. Place another string exactly three foot in width from the first line. Dig out a trench four inches in depth for the entire length of the path. Smooth out the bottom of the path using a rake and insert more dirt to fill out any potholes.

Lay a two and half inch layer of crush stones and compact. Over the top of this place a landscape fabric to prevent weeds. Finally pour a layer of pebbles to about half an inch below the top edge. Smooth out using the back of your rake to create an even look.

Wooden walkway

Wooden walkway

Wooden walkways don’t have to be expensive or overly complicated. A simple wooden pathway can be built using reclaimed timber and minimal carpentry skills. The secret is to use deliberately uneven placement of your wooden planks to create a rustic appearance.

In order to build a rustic looking wooden walkway you will need to lay three evenly spaced joists to form the foundation of your pathway. Decking or other flat timber boards will lay over the top to form the walking surface.

Concrete pathway

Concrete Path

If you have never worked with concrete before, then this pathway requires a little more skill than some of the other paths listed here. However concrete is a popular paving choice as it will create a highly durable and even surface. If you haven’t worked with concrete before just ensure that you plan carefully and have everything you need before beginning.

Before you begin your path you will need to measure accurately how much concrete you will require. You then need to decide whether you will mix the concrete or your will order the concrete ready mixed. If you haven’t mixed concrete before, or you are laying a large path, then you will probably want to opt for the later option.

Concrete paths will typically be between four and eight inches in depth. Once dug out the bottom of the trench should be lined with crushed stone. If you are using ready mix concrete, and direct access is available, then you will be able to pour straight from the truck. Otherwise you are going to need to move the concrete using a wheelbarrow.

Before the concrete dries it needs to level out using a straight edge. Excess concrete should be removed from the path. Use a bull float in order to smooth out the rough edges. Finally use a broom to finish the path, as this will avoid skidding.

Conclusion

Your dream garden pathway is closer than you think. With a bit of planning and energy, a limited budget shouldn’t hold you back from creating a great looking pathway.