Creating a pathway in your garden doesn’t have to require the typical stonework you see in most gardens. In fact, you can achieve a rustic garden path look without using any stonework at all.
We’ve gathered several unique and rustic garden path ideas without stonework to give your garden that extra oomph it needs to stand out among the rest.
From crushed gravel to bricks, you can create a unique take on garden pathways.
Materials for Rustic Garden Paths
Before you start making way for your rustic pathway, it’s important that you find the right material first. Choosing a pathway material is important.
Your landscape, weather, and location may play a factor in what kind of path you build.
If you’re unsure of what would work best in your garden, consult a professional landscaper. You can still do the work yourself, but they may be able to help point you in the right direction of what to get first.
Here are some options to consider when building your rustic pathway in your garden.
If you’re ready to step away from the stone walkways, crushed gravel is a great option. You can create winding paths or straight walkways with crushed gravel while also staying with practicality that walkways need.
Gravel is one of the cheapest walkway materials you can buy, and they’re easy to manipulate as well.
One thing you will need with crushed gravel is a way to line the walkway itself. You can use bricks or mulch to keep the gravel in the shape you desire.
To get the gravel down on the ground, all you need to do is remove the sod from the ground and place the gravel in its place. You’ll be pleased to know that crushed gravel covers much more space than grass, which means you will get much more bang for your buck!
Edging the walkway is very important. You can use bricks or mulch, as mentioned previously, or you can opt for rubber lining that keeps the edges the shape you wanted them to be.
The crushed gravel comes in many different colors, which leaves you the ability to customize your walkway from color to design.
Most people don’t think that mulch can be used to create walkways, but it can. In fact, mulch is a super inexpensive option and creates just as beautiful a walkway as any stone.
Mulch is also a rustic material that will give the walkway the look you’re going for with its natural and organic appeal.
To create a mulch walkway, there are a few tips you’ll need to follow. To get the sod up from the ground to make way for the mulch walkway, you’ll need something to help with removal.
A gas-powered sod cutter is great for getting the sod up and out of the way, and quickly! Or, you can choose to use a garden spade to get the sod off of the ground if the area is smaller.
Create the edging so that it is about one inch above the material. This will keep the mulch inside the pathway and not on the outsides. You should also cover the soil with landscape fabric (breathable mesh) so that you can avoid any weeds from growing up between the mulch.
Mulch is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to maneuver. You will love this rustic garden path!
Down to the Roots
When you hear the word granite, you might automatically think of stonework. However, granite isn’t necessarily the stonework you are used to.
A great way to bring rustic pathways to your garden is by using decomposed granite. The granite is worn down into small particles, leaving it with a rustic, all-natural look so many desire.
To create the pathway, get the decomposed granite from your local granite dealer. If they do not have it on hand, you can order it online, provided that you are sure about the amount.
Then, place your edging around the outside of the pathway to keep the decomposed granite inside the pathway. You could use small boulders to create your edging. This will give the pathway an even more rustic feel, leaving you feeling like you’re truly out in the desert.
Getting your rustic pathway to look like it just stepped out of an untouched part of the woods is easier than you think.
One thing that most natural pathways don’t have is edging. The natural world around it serves as the edging the pathway needs.
However, in your garden, your rustic pathway will need some help staying in place. That’s where edging comes in.
If you want something a little outside of the box and more rustic looking, we have some great options for you. Check out the unique and rustic look of these edging ideas to help keep your pathway looking fresh all year round.
Using brick as your pathway material might not be on your list of design desires. But you can still use brick to line your pathway.
Bricks can be found in various locations, making them sometimes free of charge. If you play the game just right, you could find enough bricks to create your pathway edging without spending a lot of money.
Check out home building sites and ask the builders if they have any leftover bricks. If they do, they may just give you the excess bricks for free. You could also visit local trash dumps to see if anyone has thrown out bricks they no longer wanted.
Some home improvement stores may have bricks they used to boost other materials up off of the ground that they no longer need anymore. Don’t be afraid to ask around to see what kind of deals you can get on bricks. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
Bricks can add the rustic feel you are looking for to your pathway by becoming the edging you need. You can lay them flat on the ground, or you can put them half in the ground to create a unique jagged look.
However you decide to use bricks, you can be assured that you’ll have the rustic look you want without much hassle.
Another great resource for edging your pathway is a metal edge.
While it might not have quite the rustic feel that your pathway may be looking for, you can easily hide the metal edging with flowers or other materials while still letting it do its job. Luckily, the metal edging doesn’t have to be exposed too much in order to keep the pathway intact.
The recommendation calls for having the edging only one inch above the material to ensure that it stays in place. This means you can easily cover it up with bushes or large flowers.
Installing the Metal Edging
You can easily install metal edging for your pathway with only a few simple tools.
First, mark how much of the metal edging you’ll need by measuring with your garden hose. Lay the hose down in the desired design you want the metal edging to go. Mark off how much you’ll need by measuring the garden hose length as it is lying down.
Then, dig a small trench just deep enough to push half of the metal edging down into. The metal should stick up at least one inch above the pathway material (which means it might need to be more than one inch above the ground depending on the type of pathway material you use).
Push stakes into the ground alongside the metal edging to help it stand upright. These should be placed every couple of feet on alternating sides of the metal edging to help it stand up correctly. Keep the stake about 1 ½ inch above the ground.
Hammer the stake into the ground and keep it level with the top of the metal edging.
Now you have a metal edging that will help keep your rustic pathway intact through wear and tear. Plant beautiful flowers or low-to-the-ground bushes to help cover up the metal edging if that is a concern for you.
Another great option for your rustic garden path is wood edging. The great thing about wood edging is that they come in pre-cut sections, which make it easier for you to put them in place. Be sure to measure the pathway before heading to the store to purchase wood edging, though.
You want to ensure you have enough of the edging to complete the project the first time.
Wood edging comes in different styles and colors. It will certainly bring the rustic feel to your pathway that you’ve been looking for.
To lay down the wood edging, you’ll need to dig a wide trench (same width as your wooden edging). Be sure that you don’t bury the wood edging too far into the ground as it should stick up at least 1 inch above the pathway material.
You don’t need to plant any stakes into the ground for this type of edging unless the wood you’re using is thinner. Thicker wood edging won’t need help standing upright.
You could opt for 2x4s as your wood edging, which makes your installation process a lot quicker. Or, you could go for something more decorative as the picture shown above. Either way, the wood is durable and will stand up to the weather (just be sure to get it treated properly).
This will give you a rustic pathway in no time!
Maintaining Your Rustic Pathway
The word rustic does imply a sense of all-natural design. However, the one thing that every pathway (rustic or not) should be is maintained. To keep your pathway in the shape you want it to be, you will need to perform weekly maintenance.
Things to look for when working on your rustic pathway are weeds, wood decay, and animals.
Weeds can easily overtake your entire pathway in no time. While weeds may seem rustic to some, they are also a nuisance and can cause your pathway to be unsightly. There are great weed killers you can spray on your pathway weekly to keep them from popping up.
If you prefer to use natural products, you can spray vinegar on the pathway. Some people opt for adding dish soap the vinegar to create an even more deadly solution for weeds.
Who knew that you had all of the ingredients you need to kill weeds right in your own home.
There are some industrial strength weed killers you can use. Your local home improvement store should have a wide selection to choose from. Ask a professional for more guidance and to find out what will work for your specific pathway.
Be Mindful of Pests
Wood decay is also a concern you should watch for if you use wood edging. Termites, carpenter ants, bark beetles, and powderpost beetles are known for ruining the wood.
You can easily protect your wood edging from these wood destroyers by hiring a professional exterminator. These highly-trained professionals come to your home and spray the wood down with repellant.
This is the best way to keep your wood from rotting or becoming unusable over the years.
Also, pay close attention to small animals that may burrow underneath your pathway. These may include moles, snakes, and even rats. Depending on your geographical location, you may experience these animals visiting your pathway when you least expect it.
To keep them away from your perfectly groomed garden pathway, hire a professional to help get rid of them (if they’re already present) or keep them away for good (if they haven’t yet infiltrated your space).
Holes and other unsightly evidence may pop up in your pathway when you least expect them to, which means weekly maintenance is important to keep these critters at bay.
Having rustic garden paths is easier than you imagined. Add it to your weekend to-do list and watch your garden transform. You won’t be disappointed, we promise!