12 Modern Garden Path Ideas

Garden paths are a key element of any outdoor space, providing a practical and aesthetic link between different areas of your garden. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in creating modern garden paths that are both functional and visually striking. For this reason, when installing a garden path, it is important to consider the following garden design principles to ensure that the path integrates well with your overall garden design:


    • Unity: Your garden path should be designed to complement the overall style and aesthetic of your garden. Choose materials, textures, and colours that work well with the surrounding foliage, landscaping features, and home architecture.
    • Proportion: Consider the size and scale of your garden when designing your path. A path that is too narrow or too wide can feel awkward and out of place in a small or large garden.
    • Balance: Ensure that your garden path is balanced in relation to other features in your garden. For example, if you have a large water feature, consider a wider path to balance the visual weight of the water feature.
    • Rhythm: Use repetition to create a sense of rhythm and flow in your garden path. This can be achieved by repeating a pattern of materials or by incorporating plants or decorative elements along the path.
    • Functionality: Consider the purpose of your garden path and ensure that it is designed to meet your specific needs. For example, a path incorporating a seating area should be wide enough to accommodate chairs and tables.
    • Safety: Ensure that your garden path is safe to use, especially if it is located in an area with uneven terrain or steep slopes. Consider adding handrails, lighting, or non-slip surfaces to enhance safety.
    • Sustainability: Consider using sustainable materials and practices when designing your garden path. For example, use permeable materials to minimise stormwater runoff, or choose materials that are locally sourced to reduce your carbon footprint.


By following these garden design principles, you can create a garden path that not only looks beautiful but also functions well and integrates seamlessly with your overall garden design.


Here are 12 modern garden path ideas that will inspire you to upgrade your garden:


1. Geometric Paving Styles as a Garden Path

Using geometric paving styles to create a walkway is a simple and elegant way to add a modern touch to your garden. Geometric paving patterns can create a visually striking pathway that adds a sense of depth and interest to your garden design. The repetition of shapes and lines can draw the eye and create a sense of movement that makes your garden feel dynamic and engaging. Geometric paving patterns are often associated with modern design, making them a great choice if you want to create a contemporary look for your garden. They can add a sleek and minimalist aesthetic that works well with a variety of garden styles, from minimalist to formal. Geometric paving patterns can also serve a practical purpose by providing a clear and defined pathway through your garden. They can guide visitors to key areas of your garden and make it easier to navigate. Use paving stones in the same style as your patio, starting the path at the front of your patio and then extendinmg the rows beyond to continue your path makes a bold statement.


2. Stepping Stones make a Perfect Garden Path

Stepping stones can add a unique and natural look to your garden. They can blend in seamlessly with the surrounding landscape and create an organic flow throughout the space. Stepping stones can help define pathways and guide visitors through your garden. They can be used to create a safe and stable walking surface over uneven or soft ground, and they can also help prevent soil compaction and erosion. Consider using irregularly shaped stones for a more organic look or use log style stepping stones for a rustic theme. 


3. Linear Paving Slabs as a Garden Path

Many paving ranges are available in long linear shape slabs and these create a stylish contemporary style garden path. Linear paving slabs can create a clean, modern, and sophisticated look for your garden pathway. They provide a sleek and elegant appearance that works well with a variety of garden styles, from contemporary to traditional. Linear paving slabs are available in a wide range of colours, textures, and sizes, making them a versatile choice for garden pathways. You can choose a style that complements the surrounding landscaping and you can create a custom pattern that suits your personal taste.


4. Leave Spaces Between Paving Slabs to Create a Path

Leaving spaces between paving slabs can create a unique and interesting visual effect. The spaces can be filled with gravel, pebbles, or another decorative material to create a contrast with the paving material and add a touch of texture to the path. The effect can be particularly striking in a contemporary or minimalist garden design, but can also be appealing in more traditional style gardens, especially with a curved pathway. Setting paving slabs within a lawn or along the length of a gravel path not only mean the slabs spread further, but also they give a softer and less formal appeal to the path helping it to blend in with its surroundings rather than becoming a harsh divide within the garden. Try staggering the line edges to give the pathway an organic feel. 


5. Wood Style Path Paving

Create a decking style pathway using wood style paving slabs to give the appearance of an aged timber finish. This rustic style of pathway looks great within a woodland garden, planting bed or vegetable garden as its easy on the eye appearance blends in with the colour of soil and bark. Alternatively, give a modern garden a rustic twist by using wood style porcelain paving to add texture and style.


6. Lighting up a Garden Path

One of the main reasons for adding lighting along  a garden path is to enhance safety, especially if a path is used after dark. Adequate lighting can help prevent trips and falls, and can also deter potential intruders. Lighting can also be used to create a beautiful and welcoming atmosphere along your garden path. By illuminating your path with soft, ambient light, you can create a magical and enchanting atmosphere that highlights the natural beauty of your garden. Lighting can also be used to help navigate visitors along your garden path, especially if the path is winding or has multiple branches. By illuminating the path at key points, you can help visitors navigate your garden more easily.


7. Covered Pathways 

A covered pathway with a pergola can add a beautiful and elegant focal point to your garden design. It can provide a sense of structure and visual interest, as well as a place for climbing plants to grow and flourish. It can also provide much-needed shade and relief from the sun, making it a more comfortable place to spend time outdoors, especially during the hot summer months. A covered pathway can also serve a practical purpose by connecting different areas of your garden and providing a safe and sheltered walkway during inclement weather.


8. Crazy Paving Pathways

Crazy paving is a style of garden path that features irregularly shaped stones or pieces of paving arranged in a random pattern. It can create a unique and visually interesting garden path that adds a touch of character and charm to your outdoor space. The irregular shapes and patterns can create a sense of movement and flow that makes your garden feel dynamic and engaging. Crazy paving can be laid in a flexible pattern that can adapt to the contours of your garden. It can be used to create curved paths or to follow the natural lines of your garden, which can enhance the overall flow and movement of your outdoor space. If you have finished laying your patio and have some leftover pieces of stone, then consider breaking these into smaller pieces to create your own crazy paving path. 


9. Offset Angle or Curved Path

An offset angled garden path or a curving pathway creates a unique visual interest and adds a sense of movement to your garden. It can break up the monotony of straight lines and add a touch of intrigue and playfulness to your landscape design. It can be used to highlight specific areas of your garden, such as a focal point, a seating area, or a water feature. In a sense, you are creating a path that does not resemble a path, which takes your eye on the journey through the garden rather than drawing it striaght to the destination. Incorporate planting beds along the journey and even garden art of sculptures on the way to take the eye from side to side. 


10. Focal Point at the End of a Path

Adding a path to garden art, a sculpture or an attractive seating area can be a great way to enhance the visual appeal of your garden and create a sense of discovery for family and friends. The first step is to choose the location where you want to place your garden art or feature. Look for a spot that is easily visible and accessible. Plan the path that will lead you to the feature. Consider the best route to take, the type of path you want to create, and any obstacles you may need to navigate around or make a feature of. The path will not only guide you to the focal point of your garden, but it will also add visual interest and enhance the overall aesthetic of your landscape.


11. Cobble Sett Pathways

Cobble setts are small, square or rectangular stones that are commonly used for garden paths. They are made from materials such as natural sandstone, limestone, granite, clay and porcelain and many concrete block paving products are designed to have the appearance of rustic cobble setts. From an aesthetic perspective, cobble sett garden paths are very tactile and textured in appearance and work well in traditional style gardens and can be laid using a random mix of sizes or following a pattern such as herringbone. Due to the small size of cobble setts, they are ideal for creating curved pathways are can even be used to edge a gravel pathway. 


12. Add Steps to a Garden Pathway

Creating a garden path with steps can add visual interest and help to navigate changes in elevation within your garden. Work out the height difference between the lower level and the higher level and then divide this by around 15cm (the height of each step) to work out how many steps are required. Then calculate the distance across the ground and divide this by the number of steps to work out the step tread depth. Adjust according to your requirements. When creating a garden path with steps, it's important to consider the safety and accessibility of the path. Ensure that the steps are properly spaced and that the path is wide enough to accommodate visitors of all ages and abilities. With careful planning and installation, a garden path with steps can add both beauty and functionality to your outdoor space. You can either construct the steps using concrete blocks and bricks and then cover in paving and bullnose step treads. The alternative is to use ready made solid step sections. 


Top Tips for Adding a Garden Path


Adding a stylish pathway to your garden adds a functional and aesthetically pleasing addition to your garden, however, the wrong style of path can break up the line of a garden and spoil the finished appearance. For example, a pathway down the centre of the lawn, will divide the garden in half resulting in a constant comparison of symmetry between the two halves. On the other hand, a pathway directly to your shed might be perfectly practical, but visually, it will draw your eye to the shed, so be sure to paint your shed to make it an attractive feature. When adding a curved path, be careful not to make it too meandering otherwise you may start to cut corners.

So, what’s the best approach?

First and foremost, make a note of the areas of the garden you need to navigate between. This might be from indoors to the shed, a stylish seating area further down the garden or perhaps a lovely gazebo or summerhouse?

What’s the style of your garden? Do you have gentle curve or more formal straight lines? Try and keep with the current style to avoid a complete contrast.

For soft, flowing garden styles, consider a gently ‘S’ shaped path that meanders through the garden. Avoid making the curves too deep as you will be tempted to cut across, defeating the object of having the path in the first place. The inward curves also provide opportunities to introduce additional planting beds to make the walk become a ‘journey’ through the garden. A subtle, elongated ‘C’ shaped path also works well and the back-bone of the ‘C’ can also double up as an edge to planting borders which helps to ensure these retain their shape. The ideal choice of material for curved pathways is cobble setts or clay pavers as these can be easily crafted to follow the flowing curved shapes. Alternatively, consider edging a curves path with cobble setts and fill the centre of the path with a decorative stone for a more economical option. Finish the look by edging other planting beds in the garden with the same cobble sett edge as this not only ties the style together, but it also ensures you can mow straight over the grass and the cobble setts without needing to worry about edging the lawn with an edging spade. 

If the garden allows, consider having the path make its way around the back of a planting bed in places to avoid uniformity and create some intrigue. If you cannot see the entire route of the path, this makes the garden far more interesting. 

For a more informal approach, stepping stones may be used to create a practical pathway that is much more subtle and easy on the eye. It is often asked how far apart stepping stones should be positioned and so often, they are placed too far apart requiring you to leap between them. Instead, they should ideally be positioned a normal stride apart, so this would typically be around 15-20cm gap between the end of one stone and the start of the next. To work out the number you need, take the size of the stepping stone, add 15 or 20cm onto each measurement. Then measure the length of the area where the path is to run and then divide this down by the measurement of the stepping stone + gap combined. This will give you the rough quantity, but as always, add on a few more for good measure. 

If your garden has a more structured, angled shape, then consider making a stepped shaped pathway using paving either as a continuous run, or spaced within the lawn. Try to run it either along one side of the garden or another option is to run a straight path with spaced slabs positioned a third across your lawn. This then becomes a style feature rather than dividing the garden up. 

If you require your pathway to split into different directions to access the shed and the summerhouse for example, then with a soft, curved path, create organic lines that run through the garden and branch off accordingly. With a straight, formal garden, try to keep to using the same right angles of the design and again, branch off from the main path. 

Other ideas are to create pathways using different materials to add more interest. For example, you could have a clay brick pathway in one area and a gravel path interspersed with occasional slabs in another area. Always try to use the same materials elsewhere in the garden to bring them into the design for a well-planned appearance. 

We hope these ideas have provided you with some inspiration, but feel free to contact us for more advice.