My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path: My Best Tips

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path: My Best Tips

What is a cottage garden without a charming garden pathway?

Okay, I admit, it isn’t necessary. However, if you can master the cottage garden path, you are halfway there.

Cottage garden pathways add so much charm to the cottage garden, plus they add interest and beauty even in the winter.

For more ways how to add interest to your garden in winter, you can check out my blog here.

I have created many garden paths over the years and have learned from my mistakes and my successes.

Tips on Creating a Charming Cottage Garden Pathway

For my favorite ideas on how to make your cottage garden charming, see my blog HERE.

Add Some Curves

When I’m trying to create a charming cottage garden path, I always like to add at least one curve, hopefully, two.

The pathway should encourage meandering.

Don’t consider it a way to get from point A to point B. Instead, you are laying the foundation for a good stroll where ‘stopping to smell the roses’ is expected and encouraged.

Typically, cottage gardens shy away from straight, sharp lines.

Of course, cottage gardens are known for being absent of rules, so if you want a straight path, go for it. There are a ton of ways to make it charming.

Adding a beautiful cottage garden border will bring life to even the most boring path.

You can find out my secrets on how to create a romantic cottage border here.

Lay Out Your Pathway

My first step in laying a cottage garden path is to extend a garden hose or a rope and curve it here and there to see exactly the shape I want my path to take.

This becomes my rough outline to get me started but may change.

A garden path should be 3-4′ wide. 

Then I remove the sod where I have decided to create my path.

Now you have to decide what type of cottage garden path you want.

You may determine this based on your budget, your preference, your access to materials, or how much effort and time you are willing to expend.

Edge Your Pathway

Keep in mind, you can use edging on your garden path but you may decide to do without it.

Edging is not necessary with a garden path.

Doing without is easier on the budget and the workload.

Landscape Fabric Under Your Pathway

Laying landscape fabric under the gravel base of your garden path is a good idea. This will help prevent weeds from emerging but still maintains a permeable surface for any rainwater. 

Ideas for Charming Cottage Garden Pathways

Let’s review a few ideas for a charming cottage garden pathway.

Each of these will be at different budget points and differ greatly in style.

They will all require different levels of effort and time and, let’s not forget, strength.

1. A Stepping Stone Path

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path - Stepping Stone

I love this stepping stone path set into the grass. It makes me want to see what is around the corner.

A stepping stone path in the cottage garden is probably my favorite.

You can do it one of two ways.

The first option is to lay a 2-inch base of gravel on the path you have already laid out. (See above.)

This will be the foundation for the stones and prevent them from sinking.

Then lay a 2-inch layer of sand.

The stones rest on top of the sand.

Use the sand to level the stones, then fill in around the stones with the material of your choosing.

You can use pea gravel or mulch to fill between your stepping stones.

Or use topsoil and sow in grass or a ground cover of your choice to grow between the stones.

For more detailed instructions on how to lay a stepping stone path like this, you can refer to my blog here.

The second option is to skip removing the sod as mentioned before.

Lay your stones on the grass just where you want each of them.

Cut out the sod underneath each stone in the shape of the stone.

Simply use a utility knife to trace around each stone.

Then remove the stone and cut out the soil to the same depth as the stone plus about 4 inches.

Add a 2-inch layer of gravel to prevent the stone from sinking. Compact the gravel base.

Then add a 2-inch layer of sand.

Now place the stone on top of the sand and use it for leveling.

Do what you must to get the stone at the same level as the soil around it.

Getting the stones at the soil level adds to the aesthetic beauty of the cottage garden stepping stone path and makes it a safer and easier path to use.

It can also make mowing an easier task.

2. A Brick Paver Path

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path - Brick

I laid this brick path at a new construction. It will be so charming when the plants and flowers are lining it.

Brick paver paths offer so much charm to any space, especially a cottage garden.

There are lots of brick pattern options. You can lay them horizontally, vertically, or use a herringbone pattern or a combination of all of these.

Once you decide on your pattern, measure how wide your pattern will be and form up the two sides of the path. This will help you keep the whole path secure.

Brick paver paths need a good base to prevent them from sinking.

Use a 2-inch gravel base as a foundation.

Then spread a 2-inch layer of sand. The sand will help you level out the bricks as you lay them.

Now you can start laying your bricks in the pattern you decided, leveling them as you go.

Stringing a line will help you keep it level. A mallet and a screed leveler will help, as well.

If you have curves in the path or are working with a more complicated pattern, you will need to cut the bricks for the best effect.

When you have set all the bricks, add paving sand to the brick paver path.

I just pour it over the path and then use the back side of my rake to spread it over the bricks down into the joints.

Then I sweep the whole thing. I will repeat this process until I feel like I have filled all the gaps between the bricks.

Water it gently to compact everything together then you will probably want to add more paver sand.

It is a lot of work but it will be beautiful in your cottage garden!

3. A Gravel Path

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path - Gravel

How lovely is this cottage garden path? They have simply used gravel for the path (so easy) and surrounded it with the most beautiful flowers.

A gravel path is one of the more economical choices as a cottage garden path.

It requires little time and labor compared to the stone and brick paths.

Plus you will not be sacrificing charm.

After laying out your path, your first step will be to add some landscaping fabric to help prevent weeds from growing in your path.

I would still add a base of crusher-run gravel to the path you outlined and prepared earlier.

This is to prevent the decorative gravel you use from sinking into the soil.

You may want to spend some time compacting the gravel with a tamper.

Now add the pea gravel, or whatever your choice of gravel is.

Feel free to add edging to keep the gravel contained.

You can buy edging or use large stones or bricks.

Or you can rely on your plants to contain the gravel.

4. A Mulch Path

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path - Mulch

This mulched cottage garden path is so dreamy and honestly, as easy and economical as you’re going to find.

A mulched garden path is your most affordable cottage garden path option. It is also the simplest pathway to make and the quickest way to make a garden path. 

Lay landscaping fabric on the path you have previously prepped, then apply your mulch.

You can use wood chips, shredded wood, or pine straw. I would lay it about 4-5 inches thick.

This may seem like a lot but it will hold up better. Expect to add to this every year.

The mulch path can be a great long-term beautiful solution but can also be a usable path until you save up the money or have the time to create a more solid path.

5. A Cut Log Path

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path - Cut Log Path

This cut log path would look so amazing as a naturalized cottage garden path. It’s unique and oh-so-charming.

If you have a downed tree, and a good chainsaw, cut the trunk of the tree in slices and set them out like pavers.

I would take the time to lay some landscaping fabric down first. Then the wood slices.

You can fill between them with bark or pine straw.  This makes a beautiful naturalized cottage garden path. It is inexpensive and just takes a bit of work.

6. A Poured Concrete Path

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path - Concrete

Adding curves to a concrete path adds charm and encourages strolling and meandering. In a cottage garden, it would be lovely.

If you want to use poured concrete as your cottage garden path, it can be done without sacrificing charm. Here are a few ideas:

  1. You could form up the path with a couple of curves.
  2. Plan to add flowers and plants to its border which will help soften up the sharper edges.
  3. You could try tinting the concrete a warmer color. A beige tint could blend in with the garden a bit better because it looks like a more natural color in the garden.
  4. You can mix brick with concrete to add some warmth and style to the path. There are a lot of pattern options here but I love a concrete path simply lined with brick on each side.
  5. You could have a texture stamped into the concrete. Most concrete masons are capable of this and do it often, generally on patios.
  6. I have seen shapes pressed into the concrete while it is still wet. It is the same idea as when you see someone write their name on wet concrete. Instead, you could press different flower shapes or leaf shapes into the concrete. We had a small animal walk across our new concrete driveway the first night after it was poured. We ended up loving the little footprints. You could add some different animal footprints crisscrossing the cement path.
  7. If you want a bit more formal garden path, pour a straight cement path. Score the concrete in a diamond pattern instead of the traditional horizontal lines. It adds a bit of style and would be great in an English-style garden.

7. A Concrete Paver Path

My Ideas for a Charming Cottage Garden Path - Concrete Pavers

These square concrete pavers can be boring, or you can be creative, as pictured, and design an easy cottage garden path that stays within the budget with no beauty sacrificed.

You can also use concrete pavers to create a cottage garden path.

They can be bought at garden supply stores and big box chain stores.

You can also create your own concrete pavers to personalize your cottage garden path.

There are kits online you can purchase.

Or you can form up your own concrete shapes and then pour in your own concrete mix you mixed yourself.

Add pebbles, colored stones, or handprints of family or friends.

You will end up with a very unique path with lots of heart. It is the essence of the cottage garden.

Whichever cottage garden path material you choose, it will be a beautiful addition or perhaps, foundation, to your cottage garden.

Enjoy meandering!

 

 

 

Tracy Crosland, owner of Hey Honeysuckle

Written by Tracy Crosland

I was born and raised in small town, Tennessee. As an adult, I found myself thrown into the construction business, building new homes in our little town. My son has now taken over the business, which means I do what I want - a lot of playing in my cottage flower garden (zone 7). I hope you feel the love in my garden and in my blogs and that we can be friends.

For more about me, click HERE.

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My Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Cottage Garden

My Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Cottage Garden
(IN A WEEKEND!)

Cottage gardens make me happy!
I want you to be happy too…so this one’s on me.

  • Learn to create your first cottage garden with step-by-step instructions
  • A checklist to keep you on track
  • Images to inspire
  • Increase the value of your home by thousands
  • Explode your happiness quotient
  • Oh, yeah. It’s free! Free happiness.

I want to be happy! Give me the guide!

 

 

My Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Cottage Garden

My Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Cottage Garden

Cottage gardens make me happy!
I want you to be happy too…so this one’s on me.

  • Learn to create your first cottage garden with step-by-step instructions
  • A checklist to keep you on track
  • Images to inspire
  • Increase the value of your home by thousands
  • Explode your happiness quotient
  • Oh, yeah. It’s free! Free happiness.