This garden path was inspired by "Alice in Wonderland" -- the owner sought to create the curvy tunnel Alice spirals through after drinking a shrinking potion.
The path, set randomly in aged brick, leads to a secluded patio. The owner loves going through "a wild place that surprises and delights to a serene space."
A worn-out lawn provided the opportunity, and mythology provided the inspiration for this pebble mosaic in a Washington state garden.
The mythical creature Ouroboros -- a snake or dragon that represents the cyclical nature of seasons in many cultures -- winds its way around a 12-foot ring.
The imaginative design garnered Nagel an Award of Excellence in Sunset's Western Garden Design Awards program.
Even a novice can install a mortarless flagstone path like this one. Its wide and gentle curves form generous planting pockets filled with Mazus reptans, a flowering ground cover native to the Himalayas.
At first glance, this area looks like a dry creek bed somewhere in the Cascades. Actually, it's a cleverly designed footpath that leads from a driveway to a house. The path is composed of flat stone slabs edged by rocks that shore up planting beds.
This stairway of tumbled flagstone tames a slope between the front and back yards of this home.
The stones are dry stacked, thus avoiding the region's freeze-and-thaw cycles that cause mortar to crumble.
A galaxy of tiny, pale blue stars fills this garden path. This ground cover, Pratia pedunculata, also known as blue star creeper, blooms from late spring through much of summer.
Landscape designer Vi Kono spaced baby plants 6 to 8 inches apart in gaps between the flagstones. For the border, she chose tall Phygelius x rectus 'Moonraker,' with its tubular yellow blooms, and a purple coneflower called 'Magnus'. The blue star creeper is watered daily in hot weather.
To add a whimsical touch to their garden path, the family covered plain concrete steps with mosaic art panels depicting a wiggling snake, a leaping frog, flowers, ladybugs, and other natural forms.
The mother drew the designs on paper, and then used carbon paper to transfer them to the steps. Her daughter used tile nippers to cut ceramic tiles and old plates into pieces; she then affixed the fragments to the concrete.
After the adhesive had dried thoroughly, they applied tile grout to fill in the gaps between the pieces. Finally, the father framed each panel with redwood 2 x 4s.
Renovating a patio or path provides the perfect opportunity to bring fun and color to the garden.
With the ground as your canvas, you can use patterns and colors that echo the hues of your flowers and outdoor furnishings.
Or think bigger: Imagine seeing the Milky Way overhead and replicating it underfoot. All you need are tiles (or tile pieces) in colors that complement their surroundings, and a little imagination.
Special stepping-stones add character to a garden path. Add some character of your own by embellishing common bricks with found objects. Or make your own concrete pavers with bas-relief images of flowers.