Tips from Tours: Paths Make the Garden Exciting

Fourth of five posts.

It’s garden tour time, and I’ve been on five wonderful tours so far, with a couple of more on the docket. I love garden tours, both for finding beautiful gardens to feature in Northern Gardener and for finding tips and ideas to use in my own garden. This week, the Notes from Northern Gardener blog will include five tips picked up on recent tours. Here’s No. 4:

Paths Make a Garden Exciting

I love it when a garden is entered through a path. There is something mysterious and, at the same time, comforting about moving along a stone walkway, then emerging into a full, lush garden. You almost want to say, TA-DA!! During garden tours, visitors can experience this delight over and over, as many beautiful gardens have paths that lead visitors from one view to another.

stone path leading to garden

Garden tourists stopped along the path to admire plants.

I really enjoyed the garden pictured above, which is located in south Minneapolis. The garden moves down gradually from the street to a garden in back that sits above a lake. The path starts somewhat wide and narrows as it goes. The gentle curves make the path fun to traverse and the gardener planted all along the side of the path. I like that she chose plants that are full, but don’t spill over into the path. You want paths to be well-marked and safe to walk. The area is also shady so visitors feel cool and protected as they move into the garden.

A path with treesThe path at right was in a St. Paul garden that overlooked a steep hill. The paths give you firm footing, which you definitely want in this situation! And, the trellis over the path seems to invite visitors into the area so they can look at the view below.

Paths do not have to be made of hard materials, such as stone or gravel. They can be grass, too. I toured a beautiful pollinator garden during the Plymouth Garden Tour earlier this month. This was a large property, with a steep hill going down to a lake. The hillside was covered with pollinator-friendly plants and was alive with all kinds of birds, insects and even turtles. While parts of the hill had stepping stones, most of it was mowed grass. The grass is comfortable to walk on and not as expensive as hard surfaces to install.

Whatever your garden style, consider adding a path to help people move through the space.

paths on hillside

These grass paths wound through the hillside filled with pollinator plants in Plymouth.

turtle crossing sign


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