Creating walkways people will use

April 7, 2015

Walkways that don't get used are a waste of time and money.

Here are some simple tips to help you find the true walkways in your yard and to incorporate them into your edible garden's design, or if you're not ready to create new paths yet, how to get people using the paths you have already.

Why doesn't your walkway get used?

  • it's not the most direct path
  • it's inconvenient
  • there is another easier way to go
  • your walkway isn't going where people actually want to go
  • the walkway is damaged, often flooded, or in some way not pleasant to use -- stones are too far apart or too close together, unstable, etc -- easier to use the ground

When you're designing your edible landscaping, here are some ways to know that your walkway will be used and enjoyed for years to come:

1) observe where people actually walk

  • watch them actually walk
  • look for tracks in the snow or mud
  • chalk dust on your porch or driveway can help show tracks in the summer
  • look for worn areas in your lawn -- worn areas next to paths can show where there's a problem with the path itself

2) ask your family and friends what paths they take

3) ask people why they use one path rather than another

4)look for broken, damaged, unstable, or flooded paths, or where thorny or spiny plants are intruding into the pathway

If you're not ready to put in new pathways yet, here are some ways to direct people to the paths you want them to use. This is best used in cases where you have strangers trailing across your yard.

  • plant hedges blocking the path you don't want people to take -- barrier hedges such as dwarf pomegranate, cacti, and other thorned edible plants are most effective
  • if the problem is a damaged or otherwise unusable path, fixing that part of the pathway may solve the problem

Questions? Comments?

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