Breeze Pathway

aloha2009May 29, 2011

We've decided to make a pathway out of breeze for various reasons.

One thing that I'd like to improve is the mundane look in the middle, even concrete has the stress joints every few feet to break it up some. The 4' wide path will be about 45' so that's a long walk of "nothing". It will be curved and we plan to put planting all around but it seems to me that it should have some type of breaks along the way. Have you seen anything that you thought looked good?

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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

If it is curved and well planted along the way, the walk will not feel empty once the plantings mature. At first, with everything around it bare, your focus will be on the path, and yes, it will look like a long walk of nothing, but not for long.

If money is no object, go crazy with paving designs using brick or tile, or leaf impressions in textured and stained concrete, add water features along the way, create different levels on the path, climb to a viewpoint, descend into a grotto, whatever suits the overall style of your garden. (You haven't given us any hints what that might be.)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:09PM
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We had to go with something where we didn't have to go down too far into the soil to prepare the area with since there are extensive shallow rooted maple tree roots, hence the decision to use breeze. Even though we could spend more, it seems one of the safest materials to go with and still provide us with a reasonably hard surface.

I googled for ideas and all of them seemed mundane even with a lot of plantings around the area. Acceptable yes, but I was hoping for ideas.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 7:08PM
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I had to google what breeze was - turns out it's small gravel.

Why do you need a reasonably hard surface? Are you going to be moving things across it? Does it need to be flat or just hard? It's 45' long, are the maple roots across the whole length?

I think catkim's idea of going crazy with paving designs is one way to break it up. I don't know that it would have to cost a lot of money.

You could get creative and have brick or flagstone accents. I just saw (here? on TV?) where someone broke up their sidewalk with sections of brick to make it look older, like the underlying brick sidewalk was trying to peak through. It ended up looking kind of like where people put in faux brick paintings when trying to make their kitchen look Tuscan. Whether that's your style or not, you could adjust it to work for you.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 7:54PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I'm searching my photos for elements that could be incorporated at intervals on your path. Perhaps these will stimulate your imagination a bit...

A very old walkway around a pool at Lotusland:

Salvaged broken tiles, Barcelona, Spain

Varying stone sizes and colors for contrast

A shady area set with flat stones and fine textured groundcover

Somewhere I have photos of stained concrete with leaf impressions, stay tuned...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 12:40PM
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Great inspiraton catkim! I'll be anxiously awaiting more from you.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 8:57PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

The owner's construction company created this concrete/stone driveway with no intrusive expansion joints and huge amounts of cubic yards of concrete -- way too expensive for most people. But interesting!

The overall look


    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 12:54AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Simple, but interesting composition, with curves to the right, and the intersecting brick bands to the left, yet this does not detract from the brick and stone near the elaborate Spanish revival portal.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 1:12AM
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I think if you Googled enough pathway sites you'd get some more ideas.

One thing that breaks it up to me is being willing to lose the edge--plantings that spill over so it's narrower or wider at different points, but in a natural way and not like a snake that ate a rat. Also like the idea of a diverticulum along the way--an expanded area with bench or special plantings at ground level or an elevated planter. I've seen some paths I like where there is a stretch of flagstones, then more gravel. It depends on how formal and how secure the footing you need as to the ways you can interrupt it. Again, depending on the use, you could put in one of those pre-fab wooden bridges for no reason, though to make it look right, you would want to position it just so and have just the right plantings to make it look like it was necessary to go "over" something--you can plant things that look like they would grow in water or under a bridge! and ground the entry and exit so it looks like it's been there awhile. Or another example, if you are going over tree roots, you could take the path intentionally over large roots if you raised it with a bridge or deck, but then veered back to the flat zone for the gravel. Or if you are handy, make your own or make some kind of decking observation post or gazebo. Or make a zig-zag to a destination and then back somewhere else instead of just a more direct flowing line.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 12:54PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Bend the path around tall shrubs (or very tall perennials) so the entire path isn't visible at once.

For variety, add a piece of garden art, an interesting boulder, an occasional potted plant, a birdbath, odd surprises. Attract butterflies with a shallow dish buried at ground level: they love over-ripe fruit, juice, and stale beer, and will gather together to lap minerals from wet soil.

Perhaps a wide arch that supports a flowering vine; let it hang low here and there like a living curtain. Set it at an angle to the path rather than perpendicular to the path. If you have room, add a smaller arch beside the path to form an L-shape.

Vary the openness: have sections where tall shrubs or plants are closer to the path, and other areas where the plantings are low (perhaps highlight a particular view).

I've seen eclectic hardscape that included chunks of broken pottery and all sorts of found objects added to gravel or placed between stepping stones. (What I remember included large-sized beads, tiny bright plastic toys and toy pieces, tumbled pieces of colored glass, seashells; visit local thrift shops and yard sales if you want to go this route.)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 2:53PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

As suggested by frankie and m-t-o, paths with a bit more mystery around the bend...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:20PM
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Also, I am not sure if I understand your site conditions and limitations. If you are making the path over maple roots you will be limited in what you can grow beside it--you will not achieve the lush greenery in some of these photos. So to some extent I am trying to think, are you limited to making the path itself interesting (as in decorative, look down at me) or does the path cover ground that might support the types of plantings that give the above mystery and appeal.

You can still get some plantings of interest even with maple competetion--just have to choose carefully and plan for a more spare and restrained look.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 4:46PM
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These are great ideas and great inspiration pics.

I showed my DH the pics and he thought it was like an overgrown jungle, to me it was lush and tranquil.

To answer some of the questions. I don't know how far the roots extend. Even using with breeze we have to dig down to set a base, so we are anticipating finding a LOT of roots the further we go down.

The path itself extends from the driveway, along the side of the house. The side yard though is approx 300 sq' so we have a lot we could do. From that point, we will need to go down approx 10 steps and then an additional trail to our beach and/or a patio.

The lake if the focal point of the whole yard, so I don't want/need to get very elaborate. I do love to garden though, so a lush area is very appealing to me. I'll try and draw something up this weekend, with various plants and see what you might think.

Thanks for all of your ideas, this really helps.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:19PM
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