Do you love the look of cottage gardens? The whimsical and almost magical features of the many elements that make up a cottage garden draw many to wander through one of nature’s beauties, the garden. We love the look and feel of cottage gardens. Last year we completely gutted our overgrown front yard and added grass. This year, we are adding elements of whimsy with a cottage garden walkway.
When considering installing a garden walkway, one of the first things to do is decide what material you will use. There are many different options that give very different looks. Let’s run through a few of those options.
Other materials you will want on hand are: gravel base, paver sand, shovel and a level.
Plan or layout the cottage garden walkway. Because we had the materials on hand (we recycled stones from an old kitchen bar) we started placing stones down and created a pattern we liked. Things you will want to consider as you plan your walkway are: the distance it will run, the elevation (will it be level with the ground or be raised), the amount of use it will get, the design of your yard and look of your property as a whole and what material you decide to go with.
We took our time laying the stones as we had many different shapes and colors we were playing with. Adding a curve gives a feeling of adventure and interest and is commonly found in cottage gardens. Arranging the stones in an eclectic, mosaic pattern with the mix-matched stones leans to a wonderfully authentic and relaxed feel.
This walkway needed to be at ground level because it was beginning at the cement patio and ending near the stairway path on the side of our house. That meant we were digging out some of the soil to place the stones in the ground. After we had removed enough soil, adding gravel base and paver sand were the next steps. Why did we use a gravel base under the walkway? Your pavers/stones are only as stable as the base they are sitting on. When properly laid, a gravel base essentially eliminates settling. The paver sand then acts as the main stabilizing material for in between the cracks of the pavers/stones. Then you can place the stones in the ground.
Finishing the Look
After the walkway is in place, you’ll want to finish off the look. We chose to add bark chips because we like the look and to help retain some moisture around our flowers and bushes. It also helps to keep the weeds down to a minimum. Then we added a few hydrangea and rhododendron bushes. Planted a few herbs, common flowering and self sowing plants and flowers. In our space we added cosmos, zinnias, bachelor buttons and amaranth. These are all elements that are found in cottage gardens. Next year we will add a few more varieties into our front yard garden beds. This year we were thrilled to install the walkway and rip out a few more dead trees.
What flowers and/or bushes do you plant in your yard or gardens?
Joleen & Jess