Walks are used to guide pedestrian flow in the landscape. Walk width should vary depending upon the number of expected pedestrians. Walks can be solid or broken as with step stones. Walk materials vary widely and are usually selected based on budget, use and architectural merit. In general, walkways are broken down into wet and dry laid methods. Wet methods refer to the use of mortars or concretes while dry methods are usually less expensive and are built without mortars or concretes.

Low Budget :The least expensive walkway materials are crushed gravels (redrock, limestone, shells). These materials compact well and can take foot and automotive traffic. However, because they wash, they should not be used areas with moving water unless subsurface drainage is provided. Crushed gravels can also track and are not good for high heel shoes. Riverrock (rounded gravels, with sizes ranging from pea gravel to 4” stones) is a beautiful and useful material. Riverrock can be inexpensive but will probably cost more than crushed gravels. Riverrock does not compact and tends to move, but can take water movement. Sometimes it is best to compact the gravel into clay. All gravel surfaces will require edging materials (wood, metal, brick, or stone). With mortar involved, the price typically goes up. Stepping stones are another low budget option and come in many shapes and sizes. These can be made from concrete, natural stone, or terra cotta. They are versatile and require no edging.

Medium Budget: Asphalt and poured concrete are both more expensive than gravels but form a solid permanent surface. Asphalt is better for vehicular rather than pedestrian use because of aesthetics. Concrete is extremely versatile, is great for almost any use and can be stamped, colored, textured and stained. No edging is required.

High Budget: Pavers can be made of either concrete or brick. Pavers are great for front walks, driveways, parking areas and patios. Typically these are dry set on sand over compacted limestone. Usually they are held in place with polymeric sand and plastic edging. These form a hard surface, will last for decades, and go with many architectural styles.

The most expensive walkways are flagstones, slates, and tiles set in mortar and grouted. These materials are very versatile, permanent, beautiful and expensive.

All walks represented in this section were designed and built by John Russell Landscape Architect, Inc. and can be found on our projects.