Making Paths & Walkways,
by Paige Gilchrist Blomgren;
Whether you need to create a garden path that is totally practical or more of a design element, this book is a helpful guide. There are chapters on different types of materials and how to construct walkways with each. Photos, clear illustrations, lists of tools and step-by-step instructions make it easy to use.
The author poses all the questions you need to consider: will the path be used for carrying groceries from the car, wheelbarrows full of soil or dragging the garbage can? For heavy usage, you need a path that's wide and quite straight. Will it be for a quiet stroll through flower beds? A narrow path that meanders can work nicely.
Is the setting formal or informal? Is there a slope? Does the site get lots of rain? Working through these questions helps you determine the types of materials, from natural-pine needles, bark mulches, straw, grass and earth-to more formal-gravel, cut stone, concrete and brick-that are most suitable for the job. It also lets you know the level of difficulty involved in creating the various walkways.
In addition, the book meanders down a few interesting paths of its own. There are lovely little essays on the history and purposes of walkways, and items on famous footpaths, such as Rome's Appian Way and the Ancient Ridgeway in Britain. So even if you decide not to construct a path, you'll have the pleasure of a good read.