Path­ways with a plan

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Al­though Elvira didn’t fol­low a spe­cific plan when de­vel­op­ing her gar­den, she had a clear vi­sion of what she wanted for the path­ways. She was to­tally hands-on – not only plan­ning them but lay­ing them her­self, with the help of a few as­sis­tants. Only the en­trance path was pro­fes­sion­ally re­done three years ago.

“It’s re­ally not that dif­fi­cult to do it your­self,” she says. “And you can save a lot of money.” Here’s her ad­vice:

• I found us­ing a hosepipe to play around with the shape and curves is help­ful. You can leave it for a few days to think about it and ad­just it be­fore you get started.

• I think a path­way with curves is more in­ter­est­ing than a straight or an­gu­lar path­way. Be­cause you can’t see around the cor­ners, you don’t know what sur­prises await you!

• Use a spirit level to get the gra­di­ent and level of the path­way right. Af­ter years of creat­ing paths, I’ve learned that it’s bet­ter to put two sleep­ers next to each other and leave a gap rather than po­si­tion them with equal spa­ces be­tween them. It makes travers­ing the path­ways much eas­ier. When sleep­ers or pavers are put in the right spot and the path needs no fur­ther struc­tural changes, your work is done for a long time! One of our path­ways was con­structed 22 years ago and has never had to be ad­justed.

• I place peb­bles in-be­tween the sleep­ers to re­duce main­te­nance; they sup­press weeds and look very neat.

• Dwarf mondo grass also works well be­tween pavers in shady ar­eas.

• Low-grow­ing plants look good along a path. De­pend­ing on whether it is in the sun or shade, I choose, among oth­ers, minia­ture aga­pan­thus, low-grow­ing Plec­tran­thus, mondo grass and Cras­sula.

A col­lec­tion of suc­cu­lents and cac­tuses adorns the base of a pot­ted quiver tree.

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