Garden paths contribute a lot to the atmosphere of a garden, especially the shapes and the materials used. What should you choose, gravel or wood, natural stone or clinker? All materials have their advantages and disadvantages. When choosing, make sure that the paths match the style of the house. Don’t use too many materials for different paths! Less is more, otherwise harmony falls by the wayside. There is no unity in the design. Solid surfaces that are non-slip and safe to walk on are suitable for the main paths. You can also use loose slips for the byways. Gardens that are close to nature are more likely to be criss-crossed by curved paths, while formal gardens are better suited to a straight network of paths.

Advantages and disadvantages of different types of stones

Natural stones have a warm appearance and are robust, but usually also quite expensive. You get granite, sandstone, limestone, travertine or basalt as slabs in different sizes and treated differently (roughly hewn to finely ground). Concrete blocks are cheaper. They are available in countless shades of color and sizes. These stones are particularly easy to care for and look very modern, but also a bit sober.

Clinker brick is a popular material, especially in northern Germany. With their warm tones, the long-lasting, clay-fired bricks fit into romantic farm and cottage gardens. They are also used for stairs and walls. Wooden walkways have a warm and natural appeal, but they don’t last as long as stone. Woods such as oak, larch, robinia, pine, Douglas fir and others are used. The wood should be pre-treated to make it last longer.

paved paths

There are different types of paving stones that can be used for garden paths. What they all have in common is that they look rather rustic. Paving made of natural stone is very attractive and at the same time very ecological. Water can seep away easily due to the relatively large number of joints, especially with cobblestones. These paving stones fit best in a country house garden or for naturally designed edges of a garden.

Concrete blocks – advantages and disadvantages


  •  A wide variety of colours, shapes and surface structures can be produced using additives and manufacturing processes
  • There are deceptively real-looking natural imitations and dirt-repellent surfaces
  • Today’s modern manufacturing processes ensure that the gray basic color no longer comes through. The color pigments have become more weather-resistant.
  • Very weather resistant and long lasting
  • Uniform shapes, colors and sizes available, looks very uniform.
  • Can also be used for parking lots, garage driveways, terraces and for securing banks and embankments
  • Large price range, so there is something for every budget – between 8 and 40 euros per square meter.


  • Concrete blocks of better quality are priced in the region of natural stones
  • Older stones that were still made using traditional methods will fade over time.
  • Can also happen with cheap products! Pay attention to the liability of the manufacturer!!!

Bricks and clinker – advantages and disadvantages


  • Are made of clay, a natural material
  • Clinkers do not absorb water and are very hard and frost-resistant.
  • In addition to the typical red bricks, ocher yellow, bluish gray and violet color variants have also been available for a number of years. Even black and white bricks are possible.
  • Very popular stones with an antique look (rough surface and chipped edges)
  • There is a wide range of prices, between 15 and 80 euros, so you can choose according to your finances.
  • You can also use clinker for terraces and driveways, but you have to use higher stones!


  • Bricks are open-pored, relatively soft and not as frost-resistant as clinker. They are fired at lower temperatures.
  • Stones are not the same size, so they cannot be laid seamlessly.
  • Variety of forms is not very large. A distinction is only made between the classic rectangular clinker, small square clinker slabs and clinker in mosaic paving format.
  • If you want clinker with a special look, it will be quite expensive. Only the simple clinker bricks are inexpensive.

Natural stones – advantages and disadvantages


  • Absolutely colourfast
  • Granite, basalt and porphyry are very hard and extremely durable.
  • Large selection of formats.
  • Cobblestones and slabs that have been fractured are the cheapest and also look good. They only get broken. However, it is more difficult to move.
  • Small granite pavers are the cheapest, starting at around 35 euros per square meter.


  • Most expensive stones (dismantling and processing complex)
  • Durability depends on the stone. Sandstone not as durable as other stones.
  • Sandstone is coarse-pored and therefore easily absorbs dirt and stains. A big problem is acid rain. He breaks down the stone. However, sandstone can be impregnated.
  • Natural stone paving from Asia is usually cheaper, but the quality is often not suitable for our climate.
  • Marble slabs are very expensive, about 100 euros per square meter.
  • Transport costs are often high because natural stone is not available in every region and the stones are heavy.

How to pave correctly

A stable substructure is correct. The better it is, the more durable the patch and the higher the load it can withstand. The thickness of the substructure depends on the path function, the soil conditions and the climate.

  • The substructure for garden paths and terraces consists of a base layer and a paving bed.
  • The sub-base serves as a stable base, drains off rainwater and prevents the ground from lifting during frost.
  • The base layer of gravel or crushed stone should be 15 to 20 cm thick. In the case of soft or very heavy soils, it should be 30 to 40 cm after compaction. Even in areas with severe frosts, the layer must be so thick!
  • The height of the paving bed made of sand or fine gravel is 3 to 5 cm in the middle. You have to add about 1 cm for later compacting.
  • Distribute sand or grit evenly over the base course
  • The irregularly thick natural stones are individually hammered into the bed by hand with a paving hammer.
  • In the case of concrete paving, first provide the bed with a straight edge and pull-off rods so that the laying height is correct. Then lay the covering. Check the height based on the laid cords
  • You work your way forward on the concrete pavement by kneeling on the piece of path that has already been laid.
  • With natural stone paving you kneel in the sand bed and work backwards.
  • For circular areas, start in the middle. From the center you work outwards.
  • The individual stones are laid with a slight spacing. They must be on the same level as their neighbors!. You have to check the height again and again, preferably with a spirit level. Correct if necessary!
  • Absolutely avoid unstable cross joints!!!
  • At the end, compact everything by going over the surface with the vibrating plate or the hand tamper.
  • Then you sweep the paving sand into the joints until all the gaps are filled and everything is firmly in place. The sand can also be washed into the joints with water. Any gaps must be filled!

elective way

Gravel paths evoke memories of elegant and generously designed driveways to mansions. But gravel is also good for elegant city gardens. The material goes well with old buildings, but also with modern architecture. Gravel paths look good both straight and curved. Gravel can be used very flexibly. It can be easily combined with other path coverings. However, the maintenance effort is somewhat higher. If you want the garden path to look good over the long term, you have to rake it regularly. Even weeds can be removed, despite the weed foil. The wind also blows seeds from above. Also, a path limiter is needed to keep the gravel from spreading everywhere.

Benefits of Gravel Paths

  • Good price
  • Water can drain well
  • No paved area

Disadvantages of gravel paths

  • Difficult to clear of snow
  • You hear when someone walks over it, so to speak, an acoustic motion detector
  • The sharp edges are often uncomfortable for pets. Alternatively, use rounded pebbles!
  • Many seeds nest between the gravel and weeds sprout. You have to keep plucking.
  • rake regularly
  • Running wet with dirty shoes over gravel, everything falls off and into the gravel layer. Soil will eventually cover the gravel, although it may be washed in from neighboring beds.
  • limit margins
  • It’s not going well (many users think). Very bad without shoes.
  • Difficult to clean!
  • Pebbles covered in moss in the shade.
  • Gravel on shoes is carried into the house

Create a gravel path

There are different ways to create a gravel path, easy and more difficult, for short periods of time, for longer periods of use. It’s better to do it right the first time before you have to do it again later. That is usually more complex than building up the gravel path properly. A gravel path on which one only walks does not have to be quite as thick as one on which a bicycle or wheelchair is supposed to be able to navigate. A stable base is important here.

  1. You mark the path with a string, you can stretch it on straight surfaces. Then the marked area is excavated to a depth of 35 cm.
  2. Then apply a 15 cm thick layer of crushed stone. This must be compacted with a surface vibrator.
  3. A 4 cm thick layer of bedding sand or bedding chippings is placed on the compacted ballast. Even then it has to be shaken again. It is important to level the surface!
  4. It is ideal now to lay soil combs on the surface for filling with gravel. You can easily saw the plastic material to size.
  5. When all honeycombs have been laid, gravel can be filled in. It must be distributed evenly! The honeycombs must be completely filled. The gravel layer should be about 2 cm higher than the combs are high.
  6. The garden path can be used immediately. It will last a long time as it is very well constructed.

It is favorable to install an edge as a limitation. In this way, the pebbles cannot move to the side and turn into lawns and beds. Lawn edging stones are suitable. They must be installed deep enough so that they do not pose a problem for the lawn mower when the lawn grows afterwards. They should also be flush with the gravel pavement.

Many swear by weed film under the gravel surface. Of course you can do that. The bigger problem, however, are the weed seeds brought in from above. You are powerless against them. The film is also an ideal base for adhesion and retreat for the root networks of weeds. Weeds are encouraged rather than prevented.

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