People love being outdoors to refresh and reconnect with nature. As busy schedules become more and more hectic the time spent outdoors is becoming more and more appreciated. Homeowners are dedicating a great deal of thought and effort in planning their outdoor spaces. Gravel pathways are becoming extremely popular to add architectural interest, beauty and utilitarian function to homes and gardens.
The first step in creating a gravel path is to adequately consider the lay of the land and make a wise decision on laying out the path. For example, if the lot is steep it will be necessary to reinforce the sides and make periodic breaks in the path to prevent the gravel for washing away in a rainfall. When faced with this situation it is important to keep the gravel level with the reinforcement to prevent tripping and awkward stepping from spot to spot. If the land is level and has no natural obstacles it is possible to lay the gravel and bleed it down on the sides to make it level and easy for walking. It is important not to ignore the general terrain and try to work with it instead of against it. Putting down gravel without considering how weather conditions will treat it will make the effort futile.
Once the general path layout is selected it is a good idea to consider the aesthetics of the path. For example, a path can get to where it is going in a straight line but often it is much more inviting if it meanders to reach the destination. Try to put a little interest into the general layout so it is pleasing to the eye. As the path is planned be sure to select a width that is adequate for walking on. Also consider if two people will need to walk side by side and be sure to get the width comfortable for walking. The ground underneath the gravel needs to be cleared of weeds, grass and undergrowth and smoothed out to be as level as possible. No one wants to be battling weeds and grass coming through the gravel so doing a little preparation will be much appreciated later.
As the path of gravel travels it is nice to select landscaping to enhance the pathway. A nice surprise of a blooming plant around the bend is always inviting to the walker. Depending on the length of the pathway it is also helpful to have a place to sit and rest from time to time. A bench or tree stump can add visual interest and be very helpful if the path is long or steep. It is important to remember that not everyone using the path will always be fit and ready to endure a long walk.
Selecting the correct type of gravel is important to creating a pleasing pathway. Gravel comes in many types, textures and patterns. While the pathway is supposed to be attractive it is critical to remember that walking is the primary purpose so the selection of a gravel that is comfortable to the feet is very important. One type of gavel that is often used is crushed rock that compacts nicely. If the gravel selected is large it will tend to roll under shoes and be dangerous and uncomfortable. Color selection is often determined by the environment it is placed in. Blending things to be naturally appealing works nicely. White rock would look out of place in a wooded area but might look very nice in a pathway leading to a coy pond.
Once the rock is selected and placed in the path it is important to compact it down to be sure it settles nicely into the path. Rollers can be rented to accomplish this or for small areas a concentrated packing can be done with a shovel or other flat surface. It is usually necessary to add additional gravel after a general break in period of a new path as the natural settling of the stone will create the need for more gravel.
Taking care of a gravel path is fairly easy with the addition of new stones as the seasons take their toll. However, a natural path of gravel will give many years of service and enjoyment.