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Nectarine tree laden with fruit in the middle of a flower border
Nectarine tree in
a flower border

- summer

You've successfully completed the layout and preparation of your cottage garden paths.

Now we're going to finish the job. You'll be able to visit any part of your garden using the paths you're going to build and they'll be wide enough to push or pull a wheelbarrow along as well.

We built three types of path in our garden:

  1. Stone paved for heavy duty use (driveway and side path to the back gate, patio by the back door and the orchard patio);
  2. Decking boards (wood) for medium use - from the sun pond bridge to the compost heap;
  3. Wood chippings for the paths between the flower borders.

Step by Step Guide

Tools required for the job:

Materials we used to fill the trenches:

This is the moment when you get the major benefit of having sorted out all the materials you removed while preparing your soil:

Money - builders rubble is all free! If you find as much rubble as we did of course. If you don't, get creative before buying materials - we're on a tight budget, right? Ask yourself:

They'll have building rubble to get rid of, for sure - there's always a skip or dumpster parked nearby, loaded with rubble to go. You'll be helping your neighbours and the construction crews and you'll be recycling too!

We obtained all the paving flags we required from John's previous address, several friends and neighbours. Thank you all - seemed like all of you were trying to get rid of them at the time!

Precast Concrete Paving Flags,
Main Path or Patio

For the driveway - large sizes:

  1. Fill the 40 centimeter deep (1 foot 3 inches) trench with coarse rubble to a depth of 24 centimeters;
  2. Then walk over the entire path, stamping your feet down with each step as you go along;
  3. After your walk-about, add rubble to any depressions in the ground so the surface is more or less level;
  4. Next, add a layer of fine rubble 5 centimeters deep on top of the layer of coarse rubble;
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 above - you now have a remaining depth to fill of 11 centimeters;
  6. Lay a bed of sand 5 centimeters deep, walk it in gently, rake it and add sand till it's flat and level, 6 centimeters below the surface of the surrounding soil.

Wooden Decking Board Path


Wood Chippings Path

Start. - a Gardener's Practical Guide to Natural Cottage Gardening

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