It’s important for garden walkways to be clean, clear and easy to walk through. Whether the surface is stone, dirt, bricks, wood chips or something else, plants along the walkway should be controllable so that keeping them out of the path isn’t a constant battle. To insure the best view of the garden, plants closest to the walkway should be low, lush and blend in with the rest of the garden. Use small, hardy plants between bricks and stones to give a soft, natural look to the walkway.
Use grass by itself to create an interesting, soft walkway. Although most turf won’t stand up to large amounts of heavy foot-traffic, for many gardens it is an ideal way to create a soft space with a texture that contrasts with the plants around it. Create long, curved sections of grassy pathway using natural or man-made edging. Fill in with sod or start from seed. Choose a grass type suited for your climate. Look for varieties that grow thickly, are suited for the amount of sun your pathway receives and are hardy enough to withstand the amount of use you anticipate.
A fast-growing, hardy groundcover, miniature brass buttons (Leptinella gruveri) has tiny fern-like leaves and grows to be less than an inch tall. It is ideal for growing in between paving stones and other areas of walkways. Brass buttons has very small, greenish flowers in early to mid summer. It is easily divided and has a high tolerance to foot traffic. This plant needs moisture and dry weather can trigger dormancy. It is best suited for walkways with full or partial shade in zones 7 to 9.
Maiden Pinks (Dianthus deltoides ‘Confetti Deep Red’) are small, mounding-type flowers that do well along the side edges of a garden walkway. This plant creates a bold spot of color with its bronze leaves and tiny, bright-red flowers. Growing about 4 to 6 inches tall, maiden pinks is a hardy, easy-to-grow plant that can tolerate full sun and dry conditions. This perennial flower can be grown almost anywhere and is hardy in zones 2 through 9.
Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii) grows very low to the ground, is hardy and is ideally suited for use in garden walkways. It grows well in dry soil of almost any type but can also be planted in areas of dampness, and is attractive when grown among flagstones or other paving materials. Corsican mint does well in shade but can handle sun in cooler climates. It produces very small purple flowers in the summer. This plant does double-duty on walkways, releasing a soft scent of mint when it’s stepped on. It is hardy in zones 6 through 10.