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Pathways around raised beds

We are thinking forward to our next garden project which is to put in raised beds.  We are quite confident on how to make the beds themselves, but less so on the pathways around them.

What do other people have? I think we would ideally like the 'crushed compacted stone' type pathways, but not sure how we would create them.  Would be interested to hear what others have around theirs - the pros and cons (and prices) of each.



  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,996
    I had bark paths laid on permeable weed control fabric round the raised veg beds in my last garden.  Pros:  comfortable to kneel on for weeding; cheap.  Cons:  needed frequent topping up; grew weeds, especially when compost/soil was accidentally spilt on the bark (but this would apply to any loose surface, of course).

    The main disadvantage with my paths was that I didn't make them wide enough to allow for easy access when the plants were in full growth.  
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 7,802
    We've got a mixture of bark paths on the wider bits and between the sloping raised veg beds, compacted gravel with old paving slabs as stepping stones. Both are good for us, we just use shredded material to top the bark ones up when needed.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 29,115
    are these beds in a smart , formal area of the garden, where it's important they look smart,  or in a veg area were it's not so important how they look?
  • jayne10bjayne10b Posts: 94
    Hostafan1 said:
    are these beds in a smart , formal area of the garden, where it's important they look smart,  or in a veg area were it's not so important how they look?
    It would be more a case of the former. I would like them to look as nice as possible.  Thanks.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,024
    Well four years later, my raised bed paths are still bare earth, but I fantasise about paving in stone setts/paviors bedded in sand and incorporating proper drainage. In addition to good looks, the advantage of a hard surface is longevity and easy maintenance- wheelbarrowing, brushing up spilt earth, a quick whizz around the joints with the weed burner now and then or cultivating ground cover aromatics in the cracks. The disadvantage is well, drainage if not done properly and heat build-up to the detriment of your water bill due to quicker evaporation - both equally applicable to compacted gravel. Grass or bark paths are higher maintenance, but cooler, breathe and drain better, allow for better microbial soil activity and are better for both your raised beds and the wider environment. So your aesthetic choices are very much governed by other key factors, such as initial budget, watering requirements, available time to devote to maintenance and environmental considerations.
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