Best Material for Sloping Path: Garden Path

Best Material for Sloping Path: With paths leading your steps through the different spaces, or simply making the path leading to the garage of the house passable, your garden becomes much more pleasant to live in. 

Vegetables or minerals are many materials for garden paths, with different aesthetic and resistance properties. I support you in the range of materials for garden paths, to help you make the right choice based on your garden design project.

Parameters to take into account

The slope of your garden

Whether you want to create a garden path for vehicles or for getting around on foot, when choosing the material that will make it up, you must take into account the slope of the land. 

Indeed, certain materials are particularly unsuitable for sloping terrain. This is particularly the case for pebbles gravel, and other loose mineral coverings, which do not hold together well enough and risk sliding down the slope over time. 

It is then better to opt for a hard material for your driveway:

  • concrete
  • paving stones
  • wood planks

Please note that, if the slope of your garden exceeds 15%, you will need to consider earthworks before starting to lay out a path. Expect between $35 and $70/m3 ( rubble removal included). [Best Material for Sloping Path]

Read also: Concrete Garden Path: Everything you need to know about the price

Garden style

There are numerous materials for garden paths, and they offer varied aesthetic effects. It is therefore important to ask yourself about the style of your garden, in accordance with that of your house, before choosing the covering. 

If your garden cultivates a zen and very natural spirit, it is recommended to opt for a path made of authentic materials, such as:

  • wood chips
  • the pebbles
  • wood
  • the crushed material

These types of floors are also perfect for surrounding Japanese steps (stone slabs arranged to naturally accompany the walker’s steps).

If your garden or house is more modern-inspired, it is recommended to opt for more recent materials:

  • concrete, which comes in a few colors
  • paving stones, allowing you to create numerous patterns
  • slate mulch, with a very graphic style
  • tar, with an impeccably smooth result

For a warm and traditional garden path, you can also turn to a material like brick. With a gravel garden path, you don’t take any aesthetic risks: it’s a timeless solution that goes with everything.

Best Material for Sloping Path: the question of maintenance

If you want your new garden path to require almost no maintenance work, it is better to choose a path built in a mineral coating such as concrete or tar. 

These materials are particularly durable and perfectly resistant to bad weather. The pavers may end up wearing out through traffic, or even breaking: always keep a few extra pavers at the end of the work to be able to replace them. 

Read also: What is the budget for a garden shed?

The same goes for slabs. Choose them that are frost-proof, to prevent them from cracking due to frost. The plant covering is easy to maintain: placed on geotextile felt, it does not require weeding. A simple raking can make the driveway clean. 

Even though it can decompose naturally, ground material and shavings are long-lasting materials. In addition, you will easily find bags of these materials, to complete piecemeal the aisles where they seem to be starting to run out. [Best Material for Sloping Path]

What material for a garden path according to your budget?

Finally, the budget allocated to the development of your garden path allows you to make a choice among the different materials. 

The least expensive coatings are gravel, shredded material, or wood chips. The wood plank driveway remains the most expensive driveway.

The masonry garden path

The masonry garden path is one of the most classic. It can consist of paving stones, stone paving, or bricks.

  • the paving stones: are particularly solid, aesthetic (possible patterns), and easy to maintain, they are however not suitable for sloping paths (except self-locking paving stones which do not slip). Expect between $30 and $120/m² depending on the type of paving stone, supplies (paving stone, mortar, sand), and installation included.
  • stone paving: varying in size, shape, and color, the paving is very resistant to bad weather, but requires gentle cleaning (soapy water is sufficient, as a high-pressure cleaner could damage the surface). Allow on average $90/m² depending on the type of slab, supplies (slabs, sand, mortar, plots), and installation included.
  • bricks: with a wide choice of textures and colors, durable and easy to maintain, the bricks will need to be cleaned twice a year. Expect between $50 and €100/m² depending on the brick, supplies (brick, sand, mortar), and installation included.
  • concrete: solid and easy to maintain, offering many finishes, concrete can unfortunately crack, is not draining, and only offers a few colors. Expect between $50 and $150/m² depending on the finish, supply, and installation included.
  • tar: impeccably smooth and easy to maintain, it can however blister or soften if exposed to high temperatures. Allow on average 25 to 70 $/ m² including installation depending on whether it is passable or only pedestrian.

Free mineral coatings

Free mineral coatings are materials of mineral origin that remain individual, as opposed to bound coatings, such as concrete or bitumen for example. Three materials for garden paths fall into this category, the specificities of which I detail. [Best Material for Sloping Path]

The gravel

Gravel is a great classic for garden paths. It indeed offers several major advantages:

  • It comes in various shapes, sizes and colors
  • It adapts to the relief
  • It lets the water pass through

The price of a gravel garden path is generally between $50 and €70/m², installation included, depending on the size and color. For a driveway, it is recommended to choose gravel with sharp edges, in order to benefit from better stability.

Be careful, however: with gravel, it can be unpleasant to walk around the garden barefoot or in heels. Besides, every step is loud. This is why this material is mainly used for a driveway connecting the entrance to the land to the garage.

Slate mulch

A driveway covering made of slate mulch is distinguished by:

  • it’s aesthetic: in the sun or in the rain, the reflections vary, and the slate mulch offers changing colors and a graphic appearance
  • its ease of highlighting garden plants, with its dark color
  • its ability to protect the soil in the event of heavy rain
  • its ability to prevent weeds from growing

You can choose the size of the crushed slate pieces in order to achieve the desired aesthetic effect. Depending on its origin and size, slate mulch can cost $6 and $15/kg excluding installation. 

If you choose particularly fine pieces, which can easily be washed away by the rain, you must regularly add slate in order to maintain a homogeneous mulch.

The pebbles

Pebbles are one of the most aesthetic materials for garden paths. It takes between 6 and 20 $/ 25 kg excluding installation. 

They cover the ground effectively but allow water to pass through less well than gravel, which makes them less recommended in very rainy regions. Their style is very suitable for a Japanese or dry garden. [Best Material for Sloping Path]

Plant coverings

This type of coating is of natural and organic origin. They are nice if you like to walk barefoot and dream of an eco-friendly garden. However, each has its own specificity:

Shredding

you can produce it yourself if your shredder is powerful enough, and your garden big enough. The price of such a garden path is therefore potentially zero. 

In the trade, it is necessary to count a cost of 10 to 20 € / m 2 (5) excluding installation (around 50 liters for 1 m²). 

It has the advantage of producing compost that is perfectly usable in the garden after a few years;

The cores

maintenance-free, original, and filtering, the cores constitute a material called granulate whose price is around 1 $/ kg excluding installation (it takes approximately 21 kg to cover a surface of 1 m 2 of a standard thickness of 4 cm). 

Suitable for both vehicle and pedestrian paths, they have a lifespan of approximately 15 years.

Cocoa shells

decorative and effective against weeds, they are however quite expensive for a relatively short lifespan and tend to stick together. 

If you plan to install them yourself, be aware that a 50 L bag costs around ten euros excluding installation. You need approximately 50 L for 1 m².

wood chips

the price of this coating is similar to that of shredded material. It is suitable for a driveway or pedestrian path, is ecological, and limits the appearance of weeds. 

For 60 L, the price is around $15 excluding installation depending on the species chosen. You need approximately 60 L for 1 m².

Wooden planks

in strips or slabs, resistant and rot-proof if treated, a wooden path requires more complex installation than other plant coverings because it is necessary to create a real structure, like a terrace. 

It is also necessary to maintain the wood so that it retains its beautiful color. Its price can vary from 60 to 250 $/ m2 depending on the species chosen, excluding installation. [Best Material for Sloping Path]

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