Pretty Paths

The red door has much symbolism in differing cultures. It can mean luck in China, prosperity in Feng Shui, and in Colonial America, that the owners are welcoming individuals. It also can mean status. Well, I choose to use the welcoming meaning from our forefathers, although the other meanings are quite nice as well.

For Garden Walk Buffalo, the welcome mats were laid out and the entries made inviting. Over 50,000 guests were invited into intimate garden spaces, up beautifully enchanting garden paths, leading you through and into the picture perfect gardens. What is interesting and important in architecture and garden design is not only the destination, but the gateway and journey. Garden paths can be on a grand and elegant scale or be narrow, dimly lit corridors that break open to light and color. Surprise is one element inherent to good path design.

Punctuated by arbors and gates, paths set the stage for the drama or serenity to unveil. They can end at a focal point, create an axis or lead to no where in particular. But they invite and illicit curiosity, non the less.

Paths provide a variety of functions. They lead, they structure, they delight. Many materials can be used and that is usually dependant on the style and character of the home and garden.

Paths are psychological as well. They invite an innate or child-like desire to explore. They can cause the viewer to slow down or speed up, stop or linger. The use of certain materials or path design can cause the viewer to look at the ground more often, contemplating every step. They can give a sense of formality or old rustic charm. You feel different in a space by how and where the path leads, is used or created.

The above image is a path to nowhere in particular. The image to the right is a very narrow path that is heavily landscaped and accessorized. How would both paths make you feel? Would the top one make you want to know where it goes? The arbor reinforces that sense of wonder. The narrow path so full with foliage and color invites you to see if the path leads to a greater experience.

Material changes also serve to change the pace of travel or indicate a change of mood, like above. Materials also can compliment the architecture and use of planting as is seen here.

Sometimes change of material is necessary if you need to alert the traveler. It can signify a change in direction or alert to a hazard. The texture of a path also determines how a path is used. Gravel makes a sound when tread upon. It also slows travel. It can create a sense of casual relaxation, like might be experienced at the beach.

Paths can be long or can be short. This path above is very short, but is very well articulated. It ends in a very beautiful use of color and appointment. Some paths are virtually unseen, creating and reinforcing a sense of mystery.

Other paths use soft materials under foot that suits the carefree and varied plantings.

Paths can curve and disappear.

They can be straight and direct.

Depending on how circulation is determined by the path, the mood of the journey is much different to the viewer. What they see along the way is greatly changed. Curving paths are more informal and allow visitors to meander and see more of the garden. Straight paths can lead directly to the desired destination.

The image below shows how a tree can be trained into an arbor. The arbor signals the beginning of the path into the property. Such a unique touch.

Guess who got sunburned today.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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1 Response to Pretty Paths

  1. daria says:

    Your posts have been wonderful and informative. Please give more information about you and your garden! I liked the post on porches, and am waiting for you to post on your porch design.

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