Garden walkways need to be comfortable enough to tread on. After all, you'll need them to view the perimeter of your home. Their width should be determined by how many people you expect to walk in your garden and whether it connects with a high-traffic area. So, how wide do you need walkways to be? We have researched answers to find out.
The width of your walkway depends on the usual foot traffic within the area. Generally, it would be best if you paved at least 48 inches wide, enough to allow two people to walk side by side. However, it might need to be wider if you consider people who use wheelchairs or motorized scooters.
Walkways are meant to improve your outdoor scape, so you want it to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. You need to consider various factors to achieve this. If you are interested to learn more, keep reading below.
How Wide Should Walkways Be?
Although experts say that 18 inches should be the minimum width of your walkway, you need at least 24 inches of space so it can be functional. Twenty-four inches would be just enough for one person, and they would need to tread narrowly before brushing against your plants.
For one person to tread comfortably, you will need to have 30 inches of walkway width, at least. Thirty-six inches is the standard width if you want to fit two people, but it would be uncomfortable if they walked side by side.
To make your walkways truly functional and comfortable to walk along, you need to pave 48 inches of the walkway. However, you may need to increase it to 68 inches to accommodate people who use wheelchairs or other walking devices.
Things to Consider Before Building a Walkway
Walkaways make your outdoor scape feel more welcoming, especially surrounded by lush flowers and manicured grass. Apart from visually complementing the rest of your house, you need to make it functional, especially if you expect a lot of traffic.
Before building your walkway, you need to plan it thoroughly. Ask yourself what would improve its functionality and how you want it to look.
Here are some things you need to consider before building your walkway.
Read: "15 Landscaping Ideas Around House Foundation."
Who will use the walkway?
Ask yourself first who will be using the walkway. If you have children in the house, you may want to increase the width so they can run around the garden.
If you want to walk your pets, you also need to make sure the walkway can accommodate your four-legged friends.
If you need to tread the walkway while carrying groceries, you also need to think about the space you'll be brushing against if there are bordering walls or landscape vegetation. If you build a 30-inch walkway without calculating the amount of potential bags you'll be carrying, you may accidentally brush and ruin your flowers and greenery.
People having a physical disability that requires the assistance of crutches, a wheelchair, or a walker should also be able to comfortably tread in your walkway. You may not personally know anyone with that condition, but it never hurts to be prepared.
What's the foot traffic?
If your walkway is connected to the front gate or the driveway, more people could tread on the walkway.
You want the people walking to appreciate the surrounding greenery instead of focusing on not tripping and falling on the narrow walkway.
So, you should consider the number of people who might walk from the gates to your porch. Though 48 inches could comfortably accommodate two people side by side, you should consider visitors during informal gatherings.
Walkway's Aesthetic Appeal
The design of your walkway is, arguably, an essential part of your outdoor scape. After all, it's the first thing people will see when they enter your home, so you want to create a good first impression.
You can make them look rough and tumbled if you want a rustic and effortlessly chic look, or you can make your pathways polished with granite stones and brick.
Go with gravel if you want your walkway to blend with nature better. It's a versatile solution that makes the walkway part of the greenery while still being convenient to tread on.
Should you install lighting?
You should also consider whether you want to install recessed lighting on your walkway or if you're planning to have hanging lights instead.
If you're planning to install lighting on the walkway itself, you need to make the light fixture water-resistant, so they don't break in the rain. Installing them directly on the path will make your walkway look more elegant, especially during the night.
These light fixtures would also make it safer for people to tread on at night. You'll be able to see stray pebbles or slippery spots more easily and avoid accidents.
Make sure the light fixtures are evenly-spaced so the lights would cast their light more effectively. Consider the angle as well; you need to have a wide coverage as much as possible. To achieve this, get sharp-angled light fixtures.
Should you install a shade?
Take a look at your intended pathway and see if you have enough space to install shade covers. Shade covers are functional, but they could also block the view of your home or yard.
You could work around this by blending the shades with the outdoor scape. For example, you can install light-colored drapes hung against black poles. That way, you can protect yourself from sun damage or even raindrops while still retaining the visual appeal of your walkway.
Walkway's Real Estate Value
Decorative concrete pavers increase the value of your home the most, but other materials can still boost it, although not as high. A unique pattern, regardless of the material, will also attract buyers if you plan on selling in the future.
Curb appeal is one of the criteria that people look for when purchasing a home. As long as your walkways are accessible and look visually cohesive with your outdoor scape, it will consistently add value to your home--as long as you know how to maintain it.
Is it high or low maintenance?
Consider your lifestyle as well when planning your walkway. Although marble would make an opulent and elegant walkway, it is known to be very high-maintenance because of its porous quality.
If you don't have the time or resources to maintain your walkway, you are better off with well-designed and high-quality gravel or cobblestone pavers.
If you still want something elegant-looking but somehow still low-maintenance, go for brick pavers--just pattern them out, so your walkways have a unique rustic charm.
These pavers are durable, and you won't have to worry about water damage or regular sealing. Walkways are supposed to improve your landscape's functionality, so choose one that won't consume too much of your time to care for.
Read: "How Thick Should Driveway Pavers Be? [And Should You Seal Them?]"
What are wheelchair-accessible pathways?
Accessible walkways are better for everyone with varying physical abilities. They minimize accidents and fatigue, and they are easy to navigate.
The material of your pathway should be safe for everyone, and it should be professionally installed so there would be no inconsistencies on the surface.
Ideally, your walkway should be able to accommodate everyone, including those who use mobility-guiding devices. This would make your home welcoming in every sense of the word--and not just aesthetically.
Clay Brick Pavers
Non-slip brick pavers can seamlessly shift with your landscape--provided it was installed correctly--making them accessible for everyone with different abilities.
Make sure that they are evenly layered so people who use wheelchairs can easily navigate the way. The walkway's rise should also not be too steep to avoid accidents.
Aside from being accessible, they are also more eco-friendly as they were made with natural resources. They also have a timeless appeal, making them look classic and elegant even after years of use.
Clay brick pavers are known to be highly durable though they may incur chips due to ice or moisture. Even then, they will still look lovely against your garden and will continue to be accessible.
Boardwalks are ideal for improved mobility, especially for those who use wheelchairs and walking devices. However, since they are often elevated, make sure you provide a sturdy ramp that they could step into.
Boardwalks are smooth and easily shift with the ground movement. They are easier to tread since they are evenly layered and softer on the joints--just make sure they were installed by a professional so you won't suddenly find holes on the surface.
Walkways are supposed to improve your daily routine, especially when you want to admire your garden. Make sure they are not only aesthetically pleasing but accessible to everyone as well.
As with all home fixtures, regular maintenance is key to making it safe for everyone.