16 Cheap DIY Garden Path Ideas & Plans You Can Build Today! (With Pictures)
If you have a big, beautiful, and diverse garden, a pathway is a must! No matter how exotic, lush, or grandiose the plants, flowers, and bushes are, if you don’t have a garden path, the backyard won’t look like much. Besides, it can serve as a perfect “guideline” for guests that aren’t familiar with the layout. How do you build one, though? Will you have to pay a contractor? And how much is that going to cost?
Good news: DIY garden paths aren’t at all hard to build! As long as you’ve got some basic tools and a sleight of hands, you’ll be able to handle everything on your own. And it won’t cost much! The following list includes 19 user-friendly, easy-to-build, and durable garden path plans/ideas that you can build right now. Let’s see what they’re all about!
The 16 Cheap DIY Garden Path Ideas & Plans
1. Simple Gravel Garden Path
|Materials Needed:||Gravel/crushed stone, landscape fabric/newspaper|
|Tools Needed:||Spade, steel rake, garden hose, hand tamper|
Gravel is one the most common, easy to work with, and cheapest materials out there. So, if this is your first DIY project, you might want to start with a simple gravel garden path. It does involve hauling heavy stones and some digging and tamping, but that’s it. As long as you have enough gravel (or crushed stone) and some fabric, along with a spade, you’ll be done in no time. On average, it takes 2–4 hours to complete the project.
Just dig down an inch or two, lay down the landscape fabric, fill it with gravel, and enjoy! While it’s not very fancy, this cheap DIY garden path will last for many years, if not decades. If you want, add edging on the sides.
2. Flagstone Pathway Plan
|Materials Needed:||Flagstone, groundcover, flour/gypsum, compost, granite|
|Tools Needed:||Rake, spade, hand tamper, line level, string, brick chisel|
Don’t have any power tools, years of experience, or an entire week to build a garden path, but still want something fancy? Then this flagstone pathway plan will be right up your alley. Don’t rush yourself, follow the guide closely, and you’ll be done in 4–5 hours. As for the “blanks” between the stones, use groundcover, Irish moss, or dwarf thyme. There are no strict rules about this.
The reddish color of the flagstone fits perfectly if you live in a hot area where the sun is always up. For the pathway to look “expensive”, use stones of different sizes.
3. Stone Garden Pathway
|Materials Needed:||Gravel, limestone, mulch, soil, wall stone, sand|
|Tools Needed:||Spade, rubber mallet, level, wheelbarrow|
Why not go with the classics—a good old stone garden pathway? You won’t have to do any cutting, drilling, or fitting. This is a time-consuming project, though, and might take up to three days to complete. On the bright side, it won’t cost much and can be done manually. A wheelbarrow to carry the heavy stones, a spade to get the soil ready, a level, and a rubber mallet will help you with that.
This is a “universal” design, by the way, and can work not only for a garden but for a sidewalk or a walkway as well.
4. Planted Stone Path with Edging
|Materials Needed:||Large stones (flat), landscape fabric/staples, gravel + plants, sand, wood timber|
|Tools Needed:||Flat spade, shovel, hand stamp, wheelbarrow, level, knife, a set of stakes, hammer|
If the previous DIY plan is a bit too basic for you, this planted stone path with edging might be the right choice. The required tools are mostly the same (but also include a knife, stakes, and hand stamp). This also applies to the materials but this time around, you should go with large, flat stones and gravel. The estimated cost for this pathway is $2.50–3.50 and it takes 10–12 hours to build. It will fit perfectly in a rustic farm, a rural landscape, or any backyard garden.
A bed of sand to hold the stones in place, some gravel to fill the space between the stones, and wood timber for the edging—that’s all you’ll need for this plan.
5. Paver Garden Path
|Materials Needed:||Paver panels, paver sand, weed blocker, gravel|
|Tools Needed:||Shovels, compactor/tamper, tined rake, line bubble level|
Paver is a combination of natural stones, concrete, and clay brick. It’s relatively small and varies in size, color, and texture. More importantly, a paver garden path is very durable. To make it last even longer, dig down at least 4 inches deep and fill the area with crushed gravel and a layer of sand. What about the pattern, though? Most experts recommend the so-called basket weave pattern, but you may choose whatever fits your garden best. The hardest part here is to place the curved pieces properly.
6. Crushed Rocks and Bricks Path
|Materials Needed:||Bricks, concrete, soil, rocks|
|Tools Needed:||Shovel/spade, mason line, measuring tape, grinder (angled), protective gloves|
Using crushed gravel to form the foundation for a pathway is a common practice. But how about we build a beautiful crushed rocks and bricks path instead? It won’t take much effort, and the budget for the whole project is more than fair. An angle grinder is the most expensive required tool. A spade, mason line, and tape won’t cost nearly as much. First, get rid of any grass in the area. Next, add some soil and make sure it’s nice and tamped.
To get the measurements right, set up a string line and follow it. Use the grinder to cut the bricks and place them evenly on both sides. Finishing up, add as many crushed rocks as you need.
7. Broken Concrete Path
|Materials Needed:||Wood board, gravel, concrete pieces, construction sand|
|Tools Needed:||Level, hammer, string line, wheelbarrow, shovel, gloves, rubber mallet|
Concrete is a low-cost and reliable construction material. So, if you’ve got some broken concrete pieces lying around, we encourage you to use them to build a garden path. The idea here is the same as with the flagstone and the pavers. Choose whatever pattern you want and stick with it. This broken concrete path DIY plan requires patience, but it will be well worth your time. Use a level to make sure the pathway is even. Next, add some gravel and construction sand to strengthen the concrete.
8. Brick Garden Path
|Materials Needed:||Bricks, sharp sand, dried sand|
|Tools Needed:||Sledgehammer, shovel, angle grinder|
Sometimes, you get lucky, and a neighbor decides to demolish their old house and build a new one. That means you can ask them to hand the bricks over to you, and they will serve as the foundation for a beautiful garden path. There are no strict rules here. As long as the brick garden path fits the landscape, there’s nothing to worry about. You will need LOTS of bricks for this, though.
9. Reclaimed Wood Garden Path
|Materials Needed:||Gravel, wood planks/boards|
|Tools Needed:||Gloves, shovel, miter saw, cordless drill, screws, rake, paint (optional)|
If bricks from an old building work for a pathway, why not use reclaimed wood for the same purpose? Gardeners that have a drill and miter saw should definitely try the reclaimed wood garden path plan out. It might not be the ideal choice if you’re the proud owner of a Japanese-style, formal, or English garden. On the other hand, for people that want a bold, eye-grabbing pathway, reclaimed wood will be just right.
Cut the wood planks with a miter saw, place them on the ground, add some gravel, and that’s it!
10. Metal Edging Garden Path
|Materials Needed:||Stone, gravel/pavers, steel/aluminum edging|
|Tools Needed:||Hammer, level, protective gloves, and goggles, shovel|
We already mentioned rock and wood timber edgings. Yet, there are still some options left on the table, including a metal edging garden path. Aluminum is the recommended choice here, but galvanized steel is cheaper and quite reliable. For the actual pathway, you can use gravel, pavers, or stone, to name a few. The average cost per linear foot of metal edging is $3–7.80, which is quite alright, especially for a large garden.
11. Brick Edging Path
|Materials Needed:||Brick pavers, plywood, crushed gravel, sod, sand, paver edging|
|Tools Needed:||Circular saw, brick saw, wheelbarrow, knife, spade, hand tamper + maul, hammer|
Bricks can also serve as a great material for the edging. The idea is quite simple, but the result looks spectacular. One brick on each side and gravel or paver in the middle—that’s all a brick edging path is all about. The hardest part here is cutting the brick and making sure it’s of the right size. A gravel base and a sand foundation will make sure the path lasts for decades. If there’s a landscape supplier in your area, they’ll be able to provide bricks, gravel, and sand. If not, look at home centers and brickyards.
12. Natural Wood Logs Pathway
|Materials Needed:||Sand paver base, regular sand, wood logs, shellac|
|Tools Needed:||Chainsaw, protective gloves, and goggles, sledgehammer, rake|
This right here is one of the most unusual and attention-grabbing DIY garden paths. As the name suggests, instead of stone, bricks, or gravel, the natural wood logs pathway is completely made out of wood blocks of different shapes and sizes. It doesn’t get any more natural than this project, and it’s also quite affordable. Use a chainsaw to cut the logs into smaller pieces (that will take 4–5 hours), cover them with shellac, and lay the logs down onto a thin layer of sand.
See Also: 15 DIY Small Garden Ideas On a Budget Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)
13. Wooden Boardwalk Path
|Materials Needed:||Pea gravel, wood boards, finishing screws (steel), deck screws, hardboard siding, joist hangers + nails, marking paint|
|Tools Needed:||Speed square, router, miter, circular, and jigsaw, drill + bits, wrench, belt sander, level, spade|
If reclaimed wood/log isn’t your cup of tea, this wooden boardwalk path will be exactly what you want. It’s cheap (won’t cost more than $250–300), looks amazing, and is ideal in wet and humid areas. Now, the list of required tools is quite large, but this DIY plan is very simple and easy to build. You won’t have to do any digging or haul heavy stuff like stones/bricks. We do, however, recommend asking a friend to help. Together, you’ll be able to finish the project over the weekend.
See Also: 20 DIY Projects with Bricks Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)
14. Cheap Concrete Path
|Materials Needed:||Jointing sand, plastic sheeting, concrete mix, concrete form, cement color|
|Tools Needed:||Level, Shovel, broom, finishing towel, wheelbarrow|
No, we’re not talking about broken concrete anymore. Instead, for this cheap concrete path, we’ll be using forms to shape the pathway to our liking. This way, you won’t have to spend days placing the individual pieces on the ground. Instead, put the concrete mix into the form, let it harden, and move on to the next part. To make the garden path look even more attractive and last longer, use a cement color to paint it.
15. Cobblestone Path with Moss
|Materials Needed:||Ready-mix concrete, form, moss, water, gel cubes|
|Tools Needed:||Blender, protective gloves and goggles, shovel|
What’s the difference between the cobblestone path with moss DIY plan and the previous one? It’s not that big, but instead of coloring the concrete, we’ll cover it with moss instead. Yes, this is a popular trend these days and gives the garden a nice touch. Again, use a combination of form and ready-mix concrete to build the path. Only then mix the moss with gel cubes and water in a blender and smear the “solution” into the cracks.
See Also: 14 DIY Vertical Garden Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)
16. Wood Mulch Path
|Materials Needed:||Stepping + flat stones, metal or bricks for edging, mulch (two sets)|
|Tools Needed:||Rake, hammer, yardstick, protective gloves|
Mulch is often looked down upon, but it’s known to serve as an excellent foundation for a garden path. It does a nice job of keeping water, dirt, and sludge away. The wood mulch path plan is quite versatile and can include flat stones (put them in the middle of the walkway), edging, and different colors of mulch. If you have enough space in the backyard, use light-color mulch for the path and a darker tone for the sides to create a beautiful contrast.
See Also: 15 Different Types of Garden Tools & Their Uses (with Pictures)
Garden paths are great: they are cheap, easy to build, and look terrific. Now, some of these projects require extra time, effort, and skills, not to mention pricey instruments. But most DIY garden paths on today’s list are user-friendly, straightforward, and can be built in a day or two. On average, they will take you 5–10 hours at a moderate pace.
So, if you’ve got a spare weekend, pick a plan/idea from our line-up, and use it as a guide for creating your dream garden pathway! Gravel, stones, bricks, pavers, and mulch—use whatever you see fit!
Featured Image Credit: ArtTower, Pixabay
- 1 The 16 Cheap DIY Garden Path Ideas & Plans
- 1.1 1. Simple Gravel Garden Path
- 1.2 2. Flagstone Pathway Plan
- 1.3 3. Stone Garden Pathway
- 1.4 4. Planted Stone Path with Edging
- 1.5 5. Paver Garden Path
- 1.6 6. Crushed Rocks and Bricks Path
- 1.7 7. Broken Concrete Path
- 1.8 8. Brick Garden Path
- 1.9 9. Reclaimed Wood Garden Path
- 1.10 10. Metal Edging Garden Path
- 1.11 11. Brick Edging Path
- 1.12 12. Natural Wood Logs Pathway
- 1.13 13. Wooden Boardwalk Path
- 1.14 14. Cheap Concrete Path
- 1.15 15. Cobblestone Path with Moss
- 1.16 16. Wood Mulch Path
- 2 Conclusion