Photo: egg on stilts (Flickr)
Paths are important in garden design. Not only do we need them for wheelbarrows and other equipment, but we need them to define planting areas. Designers advise that paths need to be wide enough to allow two people to walk side by side, especially if they lead to the front door of a home.
When we are planning a new garden, it is a good idea to put the paths in place before planting begins. The materials that are used should harmonize with the house and the type of garden that is envisioned.
Edging And Paths
Concrete, brick, stones, and mulch are often used as a surface and a good edging is needed especially if there is a lawn abutting the path. Paths that wind through a garden with plants spilling over the sides are charming, but we need to be careful to choose appropriate plants for such a role.
During hot dry summers, plants growing near hard surfaces which reflect heat must be drought tolerant. A planting that combines both daffodils and daylilies may be used and provides flowers in both spring and summer.
Sedums, Nepeta, and the Hardy Cranesbill
Low growing sedums are good edging plants. They come in a variety of colors and textures, shrug off heat, and drought. There are sedums that bloom at different times with red and green foliage, and different colored blooms.
Low growing nepeta (catmint) has grey foliage and reblooms if it is sheared off after its blue flowers smother the plants in the spring. Dianthus is also drought tolerant and forms attractive mounds of foliage. It comes in a variety of pinks, reds, and white.
The hardy cranesbill geraniums are also good choices for softening the edges of paths. New cultivars such as ‘Rozanne” and ‘Jolly Bee’ rebloom across the growing seasons.