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Sweeping Curves or Right Angles - Which Path Will You Take?

Think of pathways and walkways as the map for your outdoor world. They help guests navigate safely through your property, and highlight features such as a fountain or a formal garden. Paths take walkers on a journey to outdoor living areas like the pool, back patio, gazebo or firepit area.

But what shape will your path take? Will you opt for the formal feel of a straight walkway with right angles, or an informal path with sweeping curves? Each brings a different aesthetic to your home. Depending on your yard space and what you want to achieve with your path, one choice may be more fitting than the other.

Start with your home style

The main walkway will most likely lead to your front door, so you want to make sure that it takes its cue from the style of your home.

A traditional home with two stories and a symmetrical façade is best suited to a straight path with 90-degree angles. Brick-inspired pavers like Town Hall or Copthorne are perfect for this style of home and walkway.

For the modern contemporary home with clean, sleek lines, look for straight, uniform pavers with a smooth texture such as Artline, Senzo, Beacon Hill Smooth, and Promenade Plank Paver.

A home with the old-world charm of stone facades, dormers and arched entrances is beautifully set off with a meandering pathway framed by your garden beds. The look of aged cobblestones like Courtstone is ideal for this setting.

Consider the size of your yard

If you’re leaning towards a curved walkway, keep in mind that this style requires more yard space than a straight path. A path with slight curves won’t achieve the look you want. A curved path requires enough room to generously sweep around the different features of your landscaping.

If your lot is on the smaller side, you may be better off with a straight option that will not only help preserve space, but also make your yard look more spacious.

Match your landscape “personality”

Does your yard have lush, manicured lawns with clean borders, formal gardens and mature trees? Straight pathways are ideal for a classic design style. They highlight the formality of the setting and lead the eye to focal points such as a statue, a fountain or a bench. A straight path also emphasizes the clean lines of an impeccable lawn and garden. In a formal setting, it is common for two paths to intersect at a right angle to form a “T” pattern.

If your yard has corners with informal gardens, natural plantings and intimate seating areas, a curved, meandering walkway will lead visitors to these features and highlight your landscaping. Use landscape lighting strategically to enhance the curves even more.

Make pathways with purpose

A straight option leads the eye to the end point, and takes people directly where you want them to go. However, many individual straight paths that lead to multiple features can have a confusing, crosshatch effect.

A curved option provides an enjoyable walk and encourages people to take their time. But be strategic. An improperly designed curved path could lead to mobility issues and make your guests want to take shortcuts across the lawn or through the gardens.

Straight or curved, pathways will pave the way for guests and residents to your property’s finest features. Talk to a professional landscape contractor about wayfinding options that make sense within your outdoor world.