Building an economical garden path

The trouble with DIY jobs is that they can often become unnecessarily expensive when sometimes all you need is a simple approach to get just what you want.

A simple gravel path in your garden can pretty much be as straight or as meandering as you like, depending on how formal you want it, and the gravel necessary is a relatively inexpensive material that’s easy to top up.

Several types are suitable for gravel paths including pea rock, crushed gravel or crushed limestone. They last for a long time and also act as a weed barrier. If a lawn mower or wheelbarrow will be going up and down your path, pick crushed stone, not smooth pebbles as the crushed stone will fuse together over time and become firmer.

Smaller stones tend to be more comfortable underfoot, but larger stones tend to stay put a bit better so it’s up to you.

In terms of edging you could use tightly fitting stones (either originals or concrete that has been tumbled to look like stone and is cheaper), bricks, timber or even metal.

Having made your design choices, you basically cut out the turf where you want the path to be using a spade or sod cutter, set in the edging to be about an inch higher than the gravel itself (use a spacer to keep the path width consistent – a stick would do), cover the open soil with a fabric barrier to limit weeds and stop the gravel from mixing with the soil (a plastic barrier will just trap water), spread your gravel evenly over the path and tamp it down (you could either hire an electric plate tamper if your path is long or use a hand tamper), and there you have your new path – easy!

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