Garden path ideas – curved and straight walkway designs in gravel, brick and stone for every budget

Looking for a fresh route through to your home? Let these garden path ideas inspire you...

garden pathway and flowering plants
(Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future PLC)

Whether it's a route to your front door, a walkway that meanders around your back garden, or a destination path that leads to a particular spot, our garden path ideas are here to enhance your front or back garden.

Get your project off to the perfect start with our garden ideas

Paths create depth and bring structure to your garden, as well as setting the tone for planting and style, so you'll need to pay attention to the materials you're choosing. From bricks and stepping stones, to decked and gravel options, check out these great ideas to inspire you...

Garden path ideas

1. Step up to slate

garden with gate and gravel pathway

(Image credit: Polly Eltes /Future PLC)

Slate is an effortly chic material choice for your garden path, and works just as well in urban, rural or coastal locations. Its silvery tones are modern yet rustic and look great with greenery and grey or blue paintwork.

See our garden fence ideas for more inspired pathway pairings.

2. Set slabs in gravel for an inexpensive, modern look

garden pathway with gravel and stone slabs bordered by flowering plants

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future PLC)

'Paving slabs are a great way to make your garden look more luxurious,' says Georgina Read, Director at Paving Superstore. However, they can be expensive, which is why she has a neat trick for those on a budget. 'To save money on laying slabbed path, use slabs intermittently with a complementary coloured pea gravel to fill the remaining areas.'

3. Mimic a river bed

garden with rocky pathway

(Image credit: Mark Scott/Future PLC)

Sloped gardens can present challenges where paths are concerned, particularly when it comes to creating a very natural-looking walkway. So look to nature for a little help. In this garden, the owner has created the feel of a riverbed using rocks of of different sizes. Use large, flat slabs as safe steps on one side of your 'bank'.

Related: Enjoy this stunning sloping garden makeover with plant-packed borders

4. Plot a route that offers protection

backyard garden with gate various plants and gravel pathway

(Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future PLC)

When you are planning your path, think about the weather conditions through the year – not just in the moment. If your garden is exposed to cold winds or the hot sun on a regular basis, site your path where it's a little more protected.

For example, next to outbuildings rather than through the middle of your garden plot. That way, you are shielded from the worst of the elements.

5. Interrupt your route

garden with stone pathways pond and flowering plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Julian Neiman)

Here, a pretty brick path leads up to a charming water feature, which can be negotiated by larger stone slabs, before the path resumes again. This creates continuity while at the same time breaking up areas into smaller pockets of interest. It's especially effective in making a larger garden feel cosier and more magical.

6. Use reclaimed red brick

garden with pathway and flowering plants

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Reclaimed house bricks make a characterful garden path, and are good way to ensure your walkway coordinates with the exterior of your home. They are also a relatively affordable option. We've found them on eBay for 80p a brick, but you may be able to get them for less on sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.

7. Draw the eye with an arch

garden with gravel pathway and flowering plants

(Image credit: Paul Dudley/Future PLC)

A winding path can make a small, one-level plot feel much more exciting. Use extra features, like this woven archway, to draw the eye up and onwards through the garden journey.

8. Create a cottage garden feel with cobbles

garden with stone pathway

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny/Future PLC)

A traditional, pale, cobble-stone effect pathway like this one looks charming in a country cottage-style garden. Tall, wild flowers overspilling on to the path will surround you with the scents and sounds of nature and give your garden an enchanting feel.

9. Go back to nature with wooden 'biscuits'

garden with log pathway

(Image credit: TBC)

A wooden path is a subtle way of adding a rustic style to your garden. These stepping stones have been surrounded by wood chips to fill in the gaps and add to the organic feel.

10. Deck a route through

garden with grey fence and gravel and wooden slat pathway

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Another way to landscape your garden on a budget is to use a mix of decking boards and gravel or pebbles to form a wide path. This method is super versatile, and can cover a multitude of sins, from uneven terrain to an ugly concrete base.

11. Paint a motif on stone

garden pathway with fish painted stones

(Image credit: Amateur Gardening)

A pretty paint job adds real character and a touch of fun. Personalise it to blend in with the theme of your garden or perhaps a particular feature, such as a fishpond!

12. Lay bricks that meander to your door

house with brick pathway and garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

While it's not a yellow brick road that leads to the kingdom of Oz, this winding red brick path is just as charming. It adds a lovely whimsical feel to this country front garden. The subtle orange tones create a statement while blending in with the brickwork of the house.

13. Take a softer approach with gravel

english country garden with gravel pathway and flowering plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

Bright, bold and beautiful, this vibrant walkway is a gorgeous addition to any garden. The use of gravel creates the sensation of being in a country park, admiring the view on the way through! Gravel is also a cheaper alternative for your path, with instant rustic appeal. Plus the sound it makes underfoot is rather satisfying, and gives you security as you'll always hear approaching visitors, uninvited or not...

14. Pave a neater path

garden with green lawn with edging and tiled pathway

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

In this multilevel plot, paving stabs are used to create both paths and wider seating areas for a modern, cohesive look. It's one of many patio ideas that works sympathetically with a garden path.

'Limestone or sandstone are stylish yet affordable path options for most gardens and porcelain has come down in price and is now also available at very competitive prices,' says Georgina from Paving Superstore. 'If you have a little more wiggle room in your budget why not opt for beautiful sawn sandstone or large format paving in porcelain to make your garden feel even more high-end.'

15. Step across square stones

garden with wooden benches stone slab and lawn

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future PLC)

When your garden is rich in hard landscaping, but you still want some lawn to enjoy, stepping stones are an excellent call. They provide a clear route from one end of the garden to the other but there's still enough turf for a kick about.

See more of this space: Enjoy a multi-zoned, sophisticated garden designed to suit the whole family

How do I make a cheap path?

'It's possible to saving on garden landscaping costs and build a garden path for next to nothing if you are willing to a bit cheeky,' says Ideal Home's Amy Cutmore. 'I managed to spend less than £10, yet now have a beautiful walkway in my front garden.'

'My first step was to pop a message on my local village Facebook group, asking if anyone had any old house bricks going spare. I was thrilled – and taken aback – by the positive response, and collected hundreds of free bricks from locals eager to ditch them.'

garden with brick and gravel pathway

(Image credit: TI Media)

'Granted, lots of them were covered in dirt and paint, but after a good hose down with a pressure washer, they looked great – not perfect, but rustic, exactly the look we were going for. I then dug out a route for the path, laid some ground cover sheeting to stop any weeds from growing up (our only major outlay), and put the sharp sand on top.'

'Even the sand was donated by a local builder, who had it left over from a project. He was driving by, saw what we were doing and dropped it off on the spot!

'I arranged the bricks in a pattern, filling the gaps between with the old gravel that had previously covered the entire front garden. We now have a pretty lawn, and an even prettier path!'

How do I keep my garden path clean?

Use a stiff brush to give paved paths a good clean.  If that doesn't shift the dirt, go one step further and use a pressure washer to blast dirt, stains, and moss from your paths and patios to give them a new lease of life. Keep on top of weeding to make the area look fresh and tidy.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.