Do you want to get more use out of your backyard? Then what you need is to add elements that will encourage outdoor use. And many of these elements all revolve around the use of pathways in the yard. What key ingredients of pathway construction and accessorizing can get people outside? Here are five things to include.
1. Both Paths and Walkways
Most people think about yard pathways as just one thing, but there should actually be two types of walking paths. The first is a walkway, which is wide and straight and utilitarian, usually facilitating the heavy lifting of outdoor use. Then, add pathways that are more meandering, narrower, and have a decorative purpose. By incorporating both, you widen the possibilities for outdoor use.
2. Stable Footing
A good pathway must provide stable and solid footing during use. Insecure paths actually discourage use, both because they are unwelcoming and because the homeowner becomes leery of the added liability. Start with a good base underneath, and you can use just about any flooring material you wish, even the most inexpensive.
3. Good Lighting
Can people use your paths and walkways during and after dusk? If not, you're discouraging use during 1/3 or more of the day. In some areas, good lighting may mean overhead lights — particularly those with motion sensors — but it can also include hanging lanterns, solar stake lights, uplighting, and rope lights. And make sure people can see this good lighting from the house and entertainment areas.
Don't add a pathway in the yard just to add one. Instead, give people a reason to use it. This destination can be practical, such as a walkway to the garden shed, or recreational, like a bench under a tree or a pergola. Consider moving some of the entertainment zones — like a fire pit — farther into the yard and then adding paths that lead from these into other parts of the yard.
5. Visual Interest
What will people see as they traverse each path? Like a tour guide, you want to give users interesting points along the way. These points of interest might be yard statuary and art, certain flowers and shrubs, beautiful views, and little landscaping surprises. The more people want to see what's out there, the farther they will go into your yard.
Could your yard's pathways be improved in any of these areas? Can they help you plan better use for your yard in the future? If so, start by consulting with a landscaping company like Owen's Mowing in your area to begin planning today. Undoubtedly, you'll start seeing improved use of the yard tomorrow.