Vegetable Garden Layout – Choosing Materials and Layouts For Garden Paths
When designing your Vegetable garden layout, it is important to consider what materials you will use in making your garden paths, how wide you will make these paths and where you will position them.
Loose materials for garden paths
Gravel, scoria, wood-chip, blue metal, leaf mulch, straw
These can be less expensive than bricks or paving stones but after a while, they can allow the weeds through. It is best to line the pathways with weed-mat to hinder this weed growth. These loose material paths must have a solid edging (like timber) to prevent the materials from migrating into your garden beds. Bear in mind too that the organic mulches such as wood-chip, straw, and leaf mulch will eventually break down and will need replacing and that gravel-type materials, once in place, may be very hard to move should you want to rearrange your garden layout especially if they get into the soil.
Grass pathways are a labor-intensive idea. They require regular mowing and weeding, and the grass in them can invade your garden beds. Herbs such as chamomile or creeping thyme may be a slightly better option since they don’t need mowing and they can release a wonderful scent when you walk on them. But both herbs and grass can get muddy in the rain and also get worn by too much foot traffic.
Paved garden paths
Bricks, paving stones, concrete blocks
This is a more expensive option. You will need to take into account the size of your bricks when planning the width of your paths to avoid a lot of unnecessary cutting of the bricks to fit the width. You can make some interesting patterns with bricks or paving stones: stack bond, running bond, basket weave or herringbone amongst others.
Width of your garden paths
For ease of access, paths should be a minimum of 2 feet (60cm) wide although if you wish to push a wheelbarrow between your garden beds, 3 feet (90cm) would be a better width. Consider the sort of people and equipment which will be likely to use your paths. Do you need to allow for wheelchair access? A walker? A lawnmower? Two people side by side?
Vegetable garden layout – positioning your garden paths
Because garden paths are semi-permanent features you will need to make a vegetable garden plan to avoid costly (money and time) mistakes.
Your vegetable garden layout will determine where your paths will be placed. You may choose a symmetrical layout in which your garden paths will mark out geometrical garden beds (such as a four square garden or potager kitchen garden). Or you may decide on a less formal layout with random raised garden beds. Whatever you decide, it is a good idea to get your design down on paper or on the computer so that you can see if everything will fit.