Having a garden is a great way to enjoy the sunshine, beautify your property and toil away the weekend doing something you love. Having a path to get from your home to your garden is something worth considering.
When thinking about building a walkway, you have quite a few options and features to consider. Materials, length, and width of the path, features along the path and all the little extras that can turn a seemingly innocent project into a large budget concern.
This guide will help take you through all the features and options and alert you to any monetary pitfalls along the way. We will attempt to inspire your creativity to give you a pathway that rivals the beauty of your garden itself.
Table of Contents
Here’s a calculator to provide estimated cost of building a walkway in your yard.
Your overall costs will be determined by some factors. The largest of which will be the materials you choose to make your path from and the amount of material needed for your garden path.
Your path can be straight and get you from point A to point B, or it can have curves and wind through your property. The more curves, though, the more expensive the path will be to install.
You will also need to decide if the garden path will be a contracted job hired out to a professional, or a DIY project that you will tackle yourself.
On average, the cost range to install a garden path is between $1,700 and $4,600.
2. Cost Items to Consider
There may be restrictions or extras that you need to think about for your budget. A permit, for example, can set you back anywhere between $200 and $1000 depending on your local laws and where you are located.
You may also need permission from your homeowner’s association before you can build on the property.
If you are contracting the work out, you should take between three and five bids. These bids should cover any requirements like permits, as well as labor and materials. Most contractors will over bid some materials in case of damage or errors during the install.
It is a wise choice to ask them if they will lower the final bid to cover only the materials they used, or if they will leave the excess material with you.
The single largest cost will most likely be from the materials your pathway is created from. The most durable and long-lasting materials will have the highest upfront costs; however, they will end up paying for themselves in the lower maintenance and longevity of the lasting beauty.
Gravel is one of the most common and least expensive materials for building a pathway. When choosing gravel, you will need to select the gravel size and decide if you will have a loose gravel path or a path of gravel embedded in concrete.
Gravel will come in many sizes, from coarse rock salt size to large boulders. The most common size is pea gravel, named for it’s smooth, round shape and size.
When dealing with gravel, it can cause a slip hazard if it is left loose. When using it in a path, it is also common to install concrete or stone stepping stones. Another option is to pour a layer of concrete as the base and set the gravel into the concrete as it dries.
Doing this will keep the gravel from being loose, but will cost you extra for the concrete slab.
Maintenance on gravel paths is the easiest of all of the materials. You just need to rake the gravel to remove debris and maintain the level of the stones.
A gravel path will cost you about $1.40 per square foot. If you have a concrete base, you should budget for an extra $6.00 per square foot.
Concrete is another inexpensive and popular option. Concrete is highly durable and very long lasting.
One drawback to concrete pathways is that they are fairly difficult to install. Getting the mix and pour correctly and leveling the concrete before it dries takes practice and skill. It should also be noted that if the concrete cracks during installation you will have to start over.
You cannot repair a concrete crack with any lasting effect. As such, it is highly recommended that concrete pathways be pours by professional installers.
A good thing about concrete is that it can take any shape and is easily made into winding and curve-filled pathways with relative ease.
You can also have the concrete dyed to virtually any color, so you are not left with the slate gray color concrete is normally associated with. Another option is to have the concrete stamped.
Stamping is when the installers use large shaped pressed to imitate a paver pattern on the concrete to give it a more expensive look and feel.
The national average for concrete is between $6 and $10 per square foot.
Pavers are large bricks that interlock to form patterns. They are highly popular and will last a very long time. Because of their longevity and the eye-catching designs they can make, they are becoming more popular.
Pavers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. However, it is a time consuming and tedious process to have them installed. You can consider pavers for a DIY option to save money on labor, but you will soon learn that it isn’t as easy as it may first seem.
If you are installing any curves in your path, the pavers will need to be cut to fit the curve. Unless you have a stone cutter, you will find it very difficult to install a paver pathway by yourself.
The average cost for a paver pathway is $10 per square foot.
Bricks are another option that is growing in popularity. With different styles and sizes to choose from you can lay bricks in different ways to create intricate patterns.
Maintenance on brick is fairly easy, a push broom and a garden hose are all you need. One drawback to brick pathways though is that they are not as durable as some of the other options.
It may also prove difficult or expensive to repair if a few bricks crack or break. Depending on the installation method you may have to remove more than you planned on and finding the same style or color of brick for replacement can be difficult.
Brick pathways will cost you an average of $8 to $12 per square foot.
Flagstone is the most expensive material used in pathways on the market today. A flagstone is any stone cut or sliced into thin, flat layers.
Flagstones are known for their natural beauty and remarkable durability. Maintenance can be as simple as hosing the stones off, or as complex as an annual sealing and coating.
Most owners of flagstone paths prefer the natural look and fade of the stones and will not seal or coat them. However, if you prefer the shine and “first-day installation” look, you will need to apply sealant every year to keep their looks.
You can save money with a DIY option with flagstone because a lot of flagstone pathways are not “complete” pathways. Instead, the flagstones are used as stepping stones, and few are placed in small groups to lead the way.
Doing this will save money on material cost but can be harder to maintain as grass and weeds will continue to grow between the stones.
A full pathway set of flagstone can grow very expensive but will look great for many years to come. You can expect to pay an average of $15 per square foot for flagstone.
Another option is an asphalt pathway. These are fairly inexpensive options that have a very long lifespan. Also, unlike concrete, asphalt can be mended and repaired easily if cracks develop.
One major drawback to asphalt pathways is that there isn’t a lot of natural beauty. Some people don’t mind the look of asphalt running through their garden while others will oppose it.
Maintenance is fairly simple, using a broom to remove debris and a garden hose to wash it off is all it takes.
If you are so inclined, an asphalt pathway can be poured for between $3 and $12 per square foot.
Your pathway doesn’t have to end ad a flat surface to walk on. You can add features to your pathway to enhance the beauty and functionality as well.
If your path goes up or downhill, you can install steps in your path instead of a gradual slope. Steps will add attractive and simple décor to your pathway and also a safety feature if the slope or grading is steep.
Steps can be made from the same material as the pathway and budgeting for them will be about the same per square foot for the raw materials.
A path is nice to walk down while viewing your garden. Providing a place to sit and look around along the pathway is also very nice.
You can put benches along your path, and the size and type are entirely up to you. You can have wooden benches or stone benches or any other material you can fathom.
You can even create a DIY project and build your benches to add customization to your pathway.
Lighting your pathway not only adds a safety feature but also adds nighttime attractiveness to your garden.
Path lights come in many styles and sizes. You can usually pick up bulk amounts for low costs at most home improvement stores as well. You will find battery-powered options, solar powered options as well as electrical options.
How many you require will be up to you. You can place them as far or as close together as you want. The average is about every 3 to 3 feet on both sides of the path. If you alternate sides you can extend the linear footage between the lights as well.
All gardeners need some place to keep their tools. Small storage boxes along the pathway is an excellent option to add functionality to the path.
You can use old wooden crates and decorate them with DIY options to match your garden pathway or find other fabricated options.
Having a storage option that is mobile will also increase the productivity and ease of your gardening days.
Alternative options for you to consider will need to be added to your budget ahead of time. Some extravagant options could end up costing more than your pathway itself.
A. Water Features
A garden always looks better with a few birdbaths or fountains. They add style and beauty to the edges of pathways as well.
You can find birdbaths virtually anywhere that sells garden supplies, and fountains can be as small or as large as you want to make them.
Another water option is a pond. You can have a pond installed along your pathway for about $1500. If you stock it with fish, such as Koi, you will need filtration and maintenance added to your budget as well.
Adding small fencing such as latticework or small pickets will enhance the appeal of your walkway while providing a clear line between where feet should be and where they shouldn’t be.
Fences also help keep pets out of the garden area, and you can use fencing as a vine trellis to give your garden a vertical place to grow.
C. Flower Beds
It may seem counter-intuitive to place flower beds along a garden path, but you can find amazing ways to display your green thumb abilities by using them.
Wheelbarrows and old boxes make excellent garden planters, and you can have fun with rare and unique designs that will accentuate your garden path.
5. In Conclusion
Whether you go with flagstone or gravel, have a pond or solar powered lighting, your garden pathway should be something you enjoy creating and designing as much as you enjoy using.
Thank you for your interest in our walkway cost calculator.
The results of this calculator are NOT a professional quote. This is a free online walkway cost calculator that provides an APPROXIMATE cost of a walkway. There are many variables that go into a walkway, including expansive price ranges for every material as well as labor costs by region. This calculator is intended to be used merely as a guideline to give you an idea of how much a walkway may cost according to select variables, materials and sizes.