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Garden Path

I am hoping to lay a path down the garden, it won't be long, maybe 15 feet. I'm trying to decide what material to use. Idealy I want something that:

  • Not slippery when wet
  • Not muddy
  • Sustainable
  • Long lived
  • Doesn't hurt when walked bare foot (gravel is out).
  • Low cost

Can anyone suggest anything? I'd like to avoid paving slabs if I can, but they are looking increasingly like the least worst option.



Slate shale (they call it scalpings round here) with a weed-suppressing membrane underneath.

Somewhere I have pics of the one I did. I'll see if I can find them.


Reclaimed bricks tick all those boxes.
Can be very labour intensive to do a proper job, but if you like the 'rustic look', could be laid quickly.
wellington womble

Do they not grow endless weeds? Our block paved driveway did.

Do they not grow endless weeds? Our block paved driveway did.

I'd say yes, in a similar way to the small stretch of old quarry tile path we have. I laid it on a bed of sand and every year the dandelions appear.


Wood chips. I used to use all my chips from the workshop for paths and they pretty much did all you ask. Only snag for you would be that you need to keep them coming but if you know of any wood workers or turners they often struggle to get rid of their chips.


Do they not grow endless weeds? Our block paved driveway did.

Depends how you lay and joint them.
Yes block paving with sanded joints will eventually succumb to weeds.
I meant bricks as in house bricks. Laid on a proper base with 10mm joints and mortar pointing there should be no weeds. Or just chuck em on the ground and go for the rustic look.
Graham Hyde

I know what you mean about the look of paving slab pathways but can you do a 'stepping stone' effect with a shaped concrete paver rather than the usual square? Can look softer when set into grass or even into a bed of pea gravel.
Be careful of using 'common' bricks as pathways as they sometimes fracture and crumble in frosty conditions when used as paths.
I don't know if 'common' is still used as a class of brick in the UK....maybe called 'house bricks' now,.... don't know.

They're still common. Yes bricks should be suitable for below ground use / frost resistant, which most facing bricks are. Done right they should be ok for a decade or two. Will not last as long as (concrete)block paviors tho.

Used/surplus block paviors can be picked up v. cheap on ebay.

Slabs and shingle are a good combo.
2-4 inch gaps between slabs - will need occasional weeding, but easy to lay - no cutting or jointing and no worry about falls and drainage.

Concrete is easy to lay, cheep and if you leave a rugged surface rather than smooth should be non slip. Looks are not great though.
We used old house bricks on our allotment and they worked well, the weeds really are not to much of a problem. If you have a source of of bricks this is probably the best option.
Resin bonded gravel is a more expensive option, looks like gravel but hard and smooth.
wellington womble

I’m still trying to puzzle out an ideal combination of paths and beds. Here, I’ve got raised beds of paving slabs with proper slabbed paths. It’s makes such a difference to be able to walk around on a proper path. The beds are rubbish, though (too low, too wide and falling down. No possibility of repair) And the concrete pavers aren’t exactly romantic. I’ve had weed suppressing membrane and wood chip (rotted and grew more weeds than the beds. Especially bindweed) and weed suppressing membrane and conswold chippings. (Better, but got mud all over and couldn’t be swept/pressure washed, also tough to walk on compared to a proper hard surface)

I’ve had scaffolding plank raised beds which rotted after a few years, and either restricted the length of the beds, or went at the joins. Also, digging/heavy duty weeding wasn’t good for them. I’ve had little mini walls which jut fell down (digging didn’t help)

I reckon the way forward for me is going to be either gravel boards or railway sleepers (well, old rafters as I have a huge pile of them) and then either ugly concrete pavers or Hoggin. All the National Trust trails and wot not use Hoggin, and it seems to work really well. It will need edging, and I’ll need to get someone in with a compressor thingy, but I have to do a driveway anyway, and I think it would be worth it for solid paths underfoot. I hate sliding around in the mud all the time.
Mistress Rose

Sleepers work fairly well but are heavy to put in place. We have used oak board for our raised beds and they lasted a reasonable number of years but are falling apart now. We have some western red cedar to plank up so will see how they do. Hoggin is quite good, but will pothole and can be rather obtrusive as is usually orangy or white. gz

It is interesting how different areas have different words.
Oggin here could be slate or other rock in gravel sized bits downwards, but Scalpings are what is scraped off when they're replacing the road surface.
wellington womble

I might have got it wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time. Slim

It gets weirder. In New Zealand they call gravel roads "metal roads"

Do you have black locust in the U.K.? That would be my ideal raised bed material. "Lasts ten years longer than stone"

I'm quite pleased with my loose lay block brick paving.
Lots of people have excess at the end of a project and give or sell very cheaply
As for weeds you get some, but they struggle and are easily dealt with. Being loose lay you can easily fix any subsidence though of course a decent base helps that not happening.

[quote="Slim:1483361"]It gets weirder. In New Zealand they call gravel roads "metal roads"

Then they spray concrete finely on them add "Tar Seal" and sealed/unsealed roads too
wellington womble

Do you have black locust in the U.K.? That would be my ideal raised bed material. "Lasts ten years longer than stone" .

Not that I’ve heard of. I shall investigate.
Mistress Rose

If you are looking for long lasting, oak or chestnut are the best in the UK.
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