Pathways vs. Walkways—What Yard Owners Need to Know

Posted on

Do you want to add paths to your yard's landscape? If so, the first thing you may want to determine is whether you will need walkways or pathways. What is the difference? And how can you plan in a way that takes advantage of each type's strengths? Here's a short guide.

How Do Walkways and Pathways Differ?

While they sound very similar, walkways and pathways have important distinctions. A walkway is a more utilitarian walking area, usually leading to and from key points in the landscape that are used daily or often. The focus for walkways should be on ease of use, durability, and straightforwardness.

A pathway, on the other hand, is often more narrow and used less often. It tends to be a decorative feature with a practical side. Some pathways may even be designed to receive little to no actual use by yard visitors. 

What Materials Should You Use?

Because of their focus on the decorative or the utilitarian, different materials may be preferable for each. Walkways need to be solid ground one can use while carrying things, moving equipment, or doing yard maintenance. They are often made from solid materials like concrete, asphalt, or tight pavers.

On the other hand, you can be more creative with pathways because these are decorative first. While every pathway should be safe and comfortable, you can opt for looser and less durable materials like pea gravel, stones, bricks, mulch, wood, or even dirt. Choose materials that will add to the style and theme of your yard. 

How Should You Approach Design?

Like materials choice, the design of each walking surface should be handled differently. Practical walkways generally avoid unnecessary elevation changes and take a straight approach instead of meandering. They should serve as the skeleton of the yard and be efficient in helping you get from point A to point B comfortably. 

Take a more playful and aesthetically pleasing approach when designing pathways. Use these to offset the more structured walkways and prevent the entire yard from being too conservative or even boring. 

However, both pathways and walkways should keep to the same safety standards. Use good lighting, ensure the stability of the underlying materials, and encourage regular maintenance through good access. 

Where Should You Start?

Want help planning your walkways or pathways? No matter how many materials you need or what type, begin by consulting with a contractor who specializes in landscape materials. They will help you find the right mix for any area and create the perfect complement for your yard. 

If you have more questions, reach out to a business that sells landscaping materials.