These seven English garden design ideas prove that the paths leading you through your yard can be as important as the plants.
I’ve been fascinated by transition spaces in gardens for a long time, especially paths and walkways that create a sense of anticipation, excitement, or curiosity. Sometimes this comes down to the garden design including a focal point at the end. But, sometimes the materials used make all the difference. Here are six amazing paths from Hidcote, one of England’s most famous gardens, and a seventh from Sissinghurst–plus why I think they’re terrific.
Garden Design Using Cypresses
2. At Hidcote this path winds between perennial beds and cypresses spaced so far apart, they make me think of mythical beings like ones you might see in a Tolkein novel. At the end of the path is a single, tall deciduous tree with a sculptural shape. The combination renders the entire experience magical–it seems that you are on a journey somewhere with an audience watching.
Garden Design With Living Branches
3. Also at Hidcote, a spectacular arbor formed from living bushes. I love the way the sunlight splatters between the branches, making for a shady floor and creating a rich palette from different shades of green.
Garden Design through Shrubs
4. Talk about incredible! This series of living arched doorways just makes you want to wander through and see where they lead. I also love the contrast between the evergreen walls and the roses at the entrance.
Path through Trees in the Garden
5. At Sissinghurst, this allee of fluffy-looking trees creates a sense of whimsy around this straight stone walkway. It makes me think of huge, living lollipops–like something from Alice in Wonderland! I also love the colorful juxtaposition with the red flowers in terra cotta pots. This path makes me want to run down it. It would look spectacular at night with lanterns or small electric votives in decorative bags that allow the light to shine through.
Grassy Path through Trees
6. At Hidcote this allee also has wonderful lollipop-like trees, but the grass path down the center renders the experience entirely different. To me this space feels highly architectural, almost like walls surrounding a lush green carpet. Because the view at the end has many elements to it, I feel like there’s going to be an outdoor “room” where I can stop and rest.
Garden Design of Path Between Garden Hedges
7. This highly geometric path at Hidcote seems almost too perfect manicured to be real. Between the neatly sheared hedges and the extremely fine grass, I want to take a giant marble and roll it down the hill to see how fast it will go!
By Travis Neighbor Ward. Copyright Pearl Multimedia, LLC. 2014.