An outdoor walkway can add ambiance to your landscape and enhance your home’s curb appeal. It’s a great way to create an inviting entrance, a beautiful garden path or a functional passageway to the backyard. With proper planning, outdoor walkway installation can create a lovely landscape design for your northern NJ home.
When planning an outdoor walkway, there are important considerations that will impact your walkway. Before you begin, take a look at 10 important walkway tips that you should include in your plan.
1. Outdoor Walkway Location
Whether your outdoor walkway is in the front or back yard, it needs to be a functional pathway that leads from one point to another. An outdoor walkway can add beauty and interest to your landscape, but it should be there for a useful reason – to connect point A to point B. Hire a reputable landscape contractor who can advise you on any outdoor walkway installation problems.
- Front Yard – A front yard walkway is a great way to create a warm, inviting entrance to your front door. It can flow from the street, sidewalk or your driveway. It can create a straight path or a winding path.
- Side Yard – A side yard walkway can be very useful. Creating a walkway from the garage or back door to the side of the house can provide a functional path for taking out the trash or watering the plants. A functional walkway will create a safe, slip-resistant path and keep your grass from developing a bare foot path.
- Backyard – A backyard walkway can serve many purposes. It’s a great way to connect your patio or deck to a garden area, a swimming pool and hot tub or a remote outdoor kitchen area. A backyard outdoor walkway installation will provide a safe foot path for children and family members and for entertaining guests.
2. Outdoor Walkway Design
Outdoor walkways can be built in various designs and styles. They can be straight, curved or winding. They can be plain and simple or intricate and ornate. They can be self-edged or designed with a contrasting edge. The possibilities are endless, so it’s important to think about the right design for your Bergen County home and landscape. Hiring a professional landscape contractor who can help you choose the best design and layout will ensure the best results for your outdoor walkway installation.
- Size – The length and width of your outdoor walkway will be influenced by your property layout and the chosen path for outdoor walkway installation. The size of the walkway, especially the width, should be proportioned to the size of your yard. Don’t build a walkway that’s too small or too large for the landscape area.
- Shape – The shape of your walkway doesn’t have to follow the landscape layout exactly. If you need a short walkway, it’s best to keep it straight. For longer walkways, you can build a straight, curved or winding walkway as long as it works in your landscape.
3. Outdoor Walkway Materials
There’s a variety of materials that can be used for outdoor walkways. These include concrete, brick, natural stone (granite, marble, limestone, sandstone, travertine and slate), flagstone, river rock and gravel. Choose a material that compliments your home and landscape and provides a safe path for walking from point A to point B.
Outdoor walkway installation procedures will vary with materials. Many materials come in outdoor pavers with interlocking joints that don’t require grout. Materials that require a slab installation require a skilled professional contractor with proper knowledge and equipment.
When selecting materials, consider how your walkway will be used. Natural stones require a sealer for protection from stains and freezing temperatures that can cause damage such as cracking or chipping. Talk to your landscape contractor about the best material for your home.
4. Style of Your House
An outdoor walkway should enhance your home and property. If done correctly, it will immediately add beauty and style to your home. Make sure materials compliment the architectural style of your home.
- Contemporary – Concrete, granite, sandstone, slate and even gravel are great choices for contemporary architecture. They have a clean look with simple lines.
- Traditional – Brick, marble and limestone create a classic look with timeless appeal. If your traditional home already has brick on the exterior, go with brick rather than introducing another material.
- Transitional – Limestone, sandstone, slate, flagstone and river rock work well with transitional or rustic style architecture. They provide a natural, casual appearance that blends easily into the landscape.
5. Mixing With Your Landscaping
Your outdoor walkway installation should blend naturally into your landscape, as though it had always been there. When considering walkway design and materials, consider your landscape. If you have a formal landscape, create a design with materials that have a more formal, elegant appeal. If your landscape is casual and care-free, create a design with materials that echo that same casual outdoor setting.
- Texture – Consider the textures in your landscape when choosing materials. Look for textures that compliment the surrounding landscape and architectural materials on your home.
- Color – Choose materials in colors that compliment your home. If your home and landscape don’t have much color, go with neutral colored materials. You can always add color with plants and flowers along walkway borders.
6. Outdoor Walkway Lighting
Remember, an outdoor walkway is a functional home feature that should always provide a safe foot path from point A to point B. Adequate pathway lighting is essential for safety. When selecting fixtures, make sure they are the right height to properly illuminate your walkway with adequate levels of light for safety.
Outdoor pathway lighting enhances the look of your home at night by accenting architectural details and landscape features. It provides added security and safety for your home. Outdoor pathway lighting comes in a wide variety of low-voltage, LED and solar fixtures in beautiful outdoor finishes to compliment your home. It provides a safe passageway while highlighting walkway textures and colors.
7. Borders for Walkways
Create beautiful borders and edging for your outdoor walkway installation with foliage, plants and flower beds. Your new outdoor walkway will look more finished and appealing with some type of border or edging material. Plants and foliage will soften the hard walkway surface and add visual interest and texture.
Colorful flower beds can create a beautiful border for outdoor walkways. Choose flowers that enhance your home and landscape. To keep a colorful border year-round, select flowering plants that bloom at different times throughout the year in northern NJ. Your landscape contractor can help you with proper plants and flowers that will thrive in your soil and specific landscape conditions.
8. Irrigation Systems
When designing and planning your outdoor walkway installation, you must consider your sprinkler and irrigation system. You don’t want to locate your walkway in the path of your sprinkler system or in a location that will hinder your irrigation system from doing its job.
Your outdoor walkway will require prep work such as digging and leveling the soil, gravel or drainage materials and packing materials like sand and mortar. Your landscape contractor can advise you on the best location without disturbing your irrigation system.
9. Outdoor Walkway Installation Costs
Your costs for outdoor walkway installation will depend on the material you choose and the required installation method. Your landscape contractor can help you choose the best materials that meet your budget needs for the project.
- Materials – Concrete and concrete pavers will probably cost the least. Brick pavers are about the same price as concrete pavers, but offer a more traditional appearance. Natural stones will probably be your most expensive options.
- Installation – The material you choose will impact installation costs due to required installation procedures. Discuss specific installation costs with your landscape contractor.
10. Care and Maintenance
Consider required care and maintenance when choosing your outdoor walkway material. Most outdoor materials will require minimal care and maintenance.
- Concrete Pavers – Concrete pavers are suitable for all outdoor uses. They have a slip resistant surface that’s easy to clean and maintain. They are resistant to freezing temperatures and resilient to ground movement. A sealer should be used to protect against stains and color changes over time.
- Brick Pavers – Brick dries quickly from heat and sun, but can form a slick mossy film if used in moist shady areas. Brick pavers can be sealed, but will hold up well without a sealer in most outdoor conditions.
- Natural Stone – Natural stones (granite, marble, limestone, sandstone, travertine and slate) are porous and need to be sealed once or twice a year for protection from spills, stains and outdoor weather conditions and optimum wear.
- Rocks – Flagstone and river rock don’t require a sealer for outdoor walkway installation. They wear well in their natural state. A sealer can be added for stain protection if desired, but be sure you use a matte sealer unless you want to add a sheen.