More than a passage from one area of your property to the next, a stone walkway is a versatile hardscaping tool that provides a break in the landscape and divides the garden. It can be a border for beds or can break straight lines with a curving path. It can physically and visually connect the focal points of your landscape. A well-designed path can add curb appeal to your home’s front yard, spotlight a gorgeous garden, and effortlessly guide you from indoors to outdoors.
Whether you are building a walkway from scratch or redoing an existing one due to worn materials or a poor design, you’ll need to plan, research, and survey the site before forging a new path. Among things to think about:
Budget: A path doesn’t have to cost a lot to look good. Sometimes simple and basic is the best solution.
Architectural Style: Choose something that goes with the architectural design or period of your house. A bad idea: Old-world cobblestones with a Midcentury Modern home.
Materials: Choose materials that are used on the exterior of your home or in other hardscape elements. Also, think about whether the material complements the home’s style and colors and is available in your region.
Size and Shape: Consider the width and length of the path, along with the shape. Do the size and shape relate to the scale of the home and landscape? Is it wide enough for a wheelbarrow or wheelchair?
Safety: Can visitors move easily along the path without obstruction from width or texture?
Maintenance: Do you want a special type of grass growing between the pavers, but you hate any kind of yard or lawn upkeep? Go for something simple and easy to maintain.
Durability: Will it survive foot traffic and the elements?
Texture: Slick and smooth can be slippery, while something with lots of bumps might be a challenge for people who use wheelchairs and need an accessible path.
Lighting: If the path will be used in the evening, plan to illuminate it for safe passage.
Drainage: You want a walkway, not a swamp. Choose a nonporous material for easy drainage, like permeable concrete pavers.
Discover materials, designs, and solutions for your next walkway project.
1. Embedded Pavers
One of the easiest ways to add some interest to your home’s front yard is to plant a colorful border of flowering plants to enliven your entryway. In this front garden idea, a mixture of annual and perennial flowers such as hydrangeas and petunias are used for a pop of color while a few evergreen bushes ensure year-round greenery. What makes this particular design so appealing is the use of window boxes. Not only do they help to beautify the entryway, but they also help draw visitors’ eyes to the house itself. This is a great way to add instant beauty to any home but is especially useful for guest homes, show homes, or houses that are on the market.
2. Mini Water Feature Entryway
You may not think that you have enough room for a water feature in your yard, but with a little creativity you can add a small fountain virtually anywhere. This small nook between the front door and the garage makes use of an otherwise underutilized space for a pondless fountain. A small pump inside the glazed pot keeps the water circulating. If you have a shaded corner where plants struggle to grow, a small fountain makes a great alternative to a rock garden (or weeds). This option is also well-suited to homeowners who like the sounds made by a water feature but do not want to care for a pond or large fountain.
3. Cottage-Style Planted Wheelbarrow
What could be better than a shabby chic wooden wheelbarrow overflowing with ivy and flowers? This sweet idea would be fantastic for almost any yard but is especially well-suited for cottage gardens. While many kinds of flowers would be ideal for this kind of garden display, petunias, fuschias, and other hanging basket favorites are particularly pretty when they spill over the sides. To ensure the best results, make sure to use a high-quality potting mix which will retain water in the wheelbarrow to keep your flowers happy during hot summer weather.
4. Multi-Season Flowerbed with Annuals and Evergreens
By mixing flower varieties that bloom during different seasons, you can ensure a constant display of colors throughout the entire year. In this example, evergreen bushes are interspersed with spring and summer flowers as well as annual greenery to create a lush cottage garden. Not only is the riot of pinks, reds, and greens complementary to the house’s style, but it makes it seem more inviting. The window boxes are planted with the same variety of annual seen in the yard’s border which not only draws visitor’s eyes upwards but also gives the front yard a more unified look.
5. Easy-to-Update Potted Border
If you’re a novice gardener or often find that you’re too busy to keep your border looking its best, try this idea for an easy-to-update flower bed. While especially useful for bulbs which need special care and often need to be overwintered indoors, you can also buy potted flowers, evergreen shrubs, or creeping groundcovers and simply swap them out for new plants as the seasons change. This is an especially useful idea for neglected side yards which are left bare. You can also use this idea to add showy if short-lived annuals in an established perennial beds.
6. Showy Succulent Stone Planters
Modern yet rustic, dramatic but easy to care for, this succulent display is perfect for a xeriscape or low water yard. Succulents are available in many color varieties and require very little care. Be sure to use a mixture of textures and types including small yuccas or aloes for height and creeping succulents to fill in gaps for the best results. Western gardeners will appreciate how little water and care this kind of display requires, but this kind of succulent planter can be used in almost any climate. If you live in an area with cold or wet winters, bring your planters inside to keep your succulents happy.
7. Low Maintenance Evergreen Border with a Pop of Color
Do you want to steer clear of annual flowers altogether, but still enjoy a flashy bit of color in your front yard? While evergreens certainly keep a yard from feeling bare in the winter, azaleas have the added benefit of producing breathtaking floral displays during the spring and early summer. They come in a wide variety of colors from deep fuschia to white and are adapted to a large number of climates. Mixed with other non-blooming evergreens, as they are in this example, they add interest to an entryway display without the extra work of maintaining blooming annual flowers or bulbs.
8. Clematis Climbing Wall
Looking to hide an ugly wall, fence, or mailbox? As an alternative to ivy, consider establishing several trellises for clematis. This showy flower comes in endless varieties as there are more than 300 species in the genus. Keep it in cool, moist soil for the best displays, and make sure it gets plenty of sun. In colder areas, it is deciduous, while in warmer areas it can be an evergreen. Either way, you will be blessed with a proliferation of showy flowers every summer. While pink and purple colors are most common, flowers come in every shade from white to bright red to indigo and in many different flower shapes.
9. Upcycled Vintage Bicycle Planter
Add a touch of whimsy to your yard with a planter made from a vintage bicycle. By turning the bike’s front basket and rear pannier baskets into hanging baskets, you can create a fanciful shabby chic display. Lean it up against a tree or against a wall and use colorful annuals or ivy as seen in this front garden idea. If you want to add a more decorative touch, include antiqued signs or other rustic elements. As with all container gardens, be sure to use a high-quality potting mix which drains well but holds moisture to keep your flowers happy during hot weather.
10. Circular Shade-Loving Annuals Flower Bed
The area beneath mature shade trees can be challenging to properly landscape. Most annuals are sun-loving and don’t do well in the near-constant shade of established trees. However, there are some varieties of annual as well as many groundcovers which can thrive in this environment. Sweet alyssum, coleus, begonias, touch-me-nots, and pansies are all able to enjoy this kind of shaded ground. This well-structured bed is edged with pavers both to keep the flower bed tidy and to make it easier to mow around the tree without disturbing the tree’s roots. But a rough, unmortared rock wall could be used instead for a more rustic look.
11. Modern Industrial Cinderblock Planter Bed
If you think a cinderblock planter must look bland and utilitarian, think again. By staggering the layout of the blocks you can create small planters for succulents around the outside of the main raised bed. This kind of block wall creates a simple and clean look that compliments modern landscaping well. Instead of the plants shown here, you can use plants best suited to your climate such as evergreens, ferns, hostas, and so on. Keep in mind that the best way to replicate this front yard landscaping idea is by keeping the plantings sparse and the lines clean.
12. Simple Lighted Driveway Bed
Driveways benefit from the addition of a narrow bed along their length. Not only does this give your yard a tidier and more appealing look, but it allows you to add lighting to the edge of the driveway to guide guests to your door. These small lanterns aren’t only fun and whimsical, but are practical, too! Both solar and wired lights are available in most gardening and home stores and, along with the small boxwood shrubs, create instant curb appeal for any house. Edged with pavers and thickly mulched, you shouldn’t have many problems with weeds, making this a low-maintenance option for any entryway.
13. Water-Wise Western Water Feature
If you live in an area with unreliable rain or where water resources are limited, consider planting your front yard with drought-resistant foliage and flowers. As you can see in this example, water-wise gardening does not have to mean a spartan aesthetic! Many traditional garden flowers such as roses are actually quite hardy in drier yards, and flowering herbs like rosemary, lavender, and thyme do amazingly well with little watering. In this particular yard, a small water and rock feature has created an appealing backdrop for a wide variety of drought-resistant plants and creates a rustic cottage feel to what might otherwise be a rather ordinary entryway.
14. Elegant Mediterranian Inspired Fountain Bed
Mediterranian features not only make a yard feel more balanced and elegant but are another great option for drought-prone gardens. Broad paved pathways converge to create a small plaza in the middle of this yard. The entry gate is flanked by planted urns which add interest and height to the garden, and also help to highlight the simple but charming fountain and its flower bed. Petunias are hardy plants and will continue to flower in hot weather, making them an ideal choice for this type of display. Water-wise annuals and groundcovers ring the fountain without crowding it.
15. Easy Care Evergreen Entryway
Have a black thumb? No time to garden? Want an entryway landscape that you can virtually ignore? Evergreens like junipers require relatively little watering, stay green year round, and are hard to kill once they are established. As a bonus, they are easily sculpted into topiary forms which provide a lot of visual interest to a home’s entryway. At this home, a small fountain has been added as well as a few annuals for some color. If you’re looking for the bare essentials, you can’t go wrong with several evergreens in a well-mulched or stone filled bed.
16. Clean and Modern Stone Gravel Planted Beds
If you enjoy the clean lines and serenity of stone gravel beds, you’ll enjoy the spa-like elegance of this landscape design. The contrast between the planted beds and the neatly clipped lawn make this aesthetic ideal not only for a residence but for businesses, too! By primarily choosing low-maintenance perennials and shrubs, you can not only create more height variety and therefore visual interest, but you’ll also create a low-maintenance landscape that changes with the seasons. The large concrete orbs in the gravel bed create a focal point, but you could easily replace them with topiary evergreens or with large natural stone boulders for a more rustic vibe.
17. Rustic Log Planters
Planters are a great way to enliven a specific area of the yard, and a hollowed log or stump is a great natural alternative to concrete or plastic. As a bonus, you probably already have a stump or log in your yard you can use for this kind of display. If not, try searching the free ads in your area, and you are likely to find someone who is more than willing to give you their downed tree. While a log planter looks great in many yards, it will truly look at home in a rustic cottage garden.
18. Porch Full of Petunias
Petunias are often overlooked by green thumbs and experienced landscapers, but this humble but tough flower can not only add to your front yard landscaping idea but can even be the star of the show. In this yard, petunias are used both in the hanging baskets on the porch but as a highlight in the flower beds as well. This is not only practical but helps to visually tie the look of the home and yard together with color. Because petunias don’t mind dry soils and bloom for an extended period of time, they are a perfect choice for hanging baskets no matter where you live.
19. Structured Evergreen Garden Beds with Colorful Planters
No matter what style of house or what kind of climate you have, a permanent and structural evergreen landscape with colorful planted containers makes for an easy to care for and easy to update look. The classic low boxwood hedge draws visitors eyes and feet to the front door while topiary evergreens and a white barked multi-trunked tree bring height and year-round drama to the entryway. As spring flowers fade in the planted containers, exchange them for summer favorites, then add hardy kale or mums in the fall. This style of front garden is almost universally flattering and easy to care for and is worth replicating!
20. Modern Craftsman Lighted Path
These metal garden path lights are a sleek alternative to the lantern-like pathway lights normally sold at home stores. While pathway lights aren’t always necessary, they tend to offer a more welcoming feel to a home’s entryway. By choosing to update this one element, you can take your landscape design up a notch. Paired with a cut flagstone path and a pleasing mix of grasses, annuals, and evergreens, this front garden idea is a solid mix of modern and classic elements.