GARDEN PATHS AND STEPPING STONES
At the moment, I am in the process of creating a garden path for a client using Stepping Stones with handcarved lettering and designs. This is a unique way of creating an orginal garden and a special way to commemorate a person or an occasion. You need to think carefully about what words should be used and how long they are as space is limited.
The use of a path is popular in many gardens. It is, first of all, a method from getting from A to B but it is also much more than this as it provides symmetry, texture and creativity to the garden.
There are many different types of path that can be used in a garden:
Gravel is one of the cheapest forms of path which can provide excellent drainage but it is subject to weeds, and is not very environmental.
Mulch using wood chippings is a cheaper method of creating a path as its a natural material but it can be dirty under foot.
Mown paths using the lawnmower to cut through the garden is the cheapest form of path but it can soon become overgrown and needs constant maintenance.
Stone, Brick and Cobbled paths are more expensive but often more effective. Dry under foot, they need little maintenance over the year but will need cleaning from time to time to prevent moss and algae forming.
One of the more original ways to use a stone path in the garden is to use Stepping Stones. The path can be made from cheap off cuts of stone and drains well. To add more creativity to the garden, the paving stones can be hand carved with words, poetry or symbols to make it more unique.
JAPANESE GARDEN PATHS
The Japanese Garden often uses paths in its design. The four principals in this type of garden are rocks, water, plants and ornaments. These provide symmetry, enclosure, scenery, balance and symbolism. Sand and Gravel represent water, clouds and purity while The Japanese Bridge represents artistic feelings.
The path will lead you through the garden but you will experience it in different ways. A wide path allows you to walk faster and with other people while a narrow path will be a more intimate and slower affair. Stepping Stones mean you have to walk with your head down taking little jumps and be more careful where you tread which will give you a different experience. In Japanese gardens, Stepping Stones are often referred to as Flying Stones or Skipping Stones (tobi-ishi). These paths are designed to lead you to The Tea Garden and The Tea Ceremony arriving in a more meditative state.
LITTLE SPARTA AND IAN HAMILTON FINLAY
In Scotland, the garden at Little Sparta created by the Scottish Poet, Ian Hamilton Finlay, uses paths of stepping stones with poetry and symbols to great effect.
The garden in The Pentland Hills near Edinburgh opened in 1966 and was orginally known as Stonypath but in 1983 became Little Sparta in homage to Edinburgh being known as The Athens of The North.
Ian Hamilton Finlay created the five acre garden with his wife Sue carving his poems into stone known as ‘Concrete poems”. The garden also has a wide range of sculptures and two temples.
If you would like to create a garden path using bespoke handcarved stepping stones with lettering and designs, please contact Simon Burns-Cox at The Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop for further details. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at http://simonburnscox.co.uk/