When planning a driveway and walkway always attempt to make the design as straight as possible. This, of course, refers only to those walkways that are under 50 feet in length. The only real reason for curving a driveway or walk that short is unusual terrain or some natural obstacle in its course that you cannot or do not want to move.
Location of Walk
The rule of the thumb for locating a walk or pathway is simple and logical: “Place the walk where people will walk whether there is a walk there or not.” Like most general statements this one has its exceptions, but it is nevertheless a good guiding principle.
Walks should not be sketched into your plans until the rest of the public area has been mapped out. (This, of course, is impossible if you already own your home – unless you can afford to establish new walks.)
Walks are frequently laid by home builders long before either the home owner or his professional landscape designer has had an opportunity to discuss what areas around the house will require plants.
Planning is made needlessly difficult, and in many cases even a fair job of foundation planting is rendered impossible.
If you are building and must have the walks put in before the landscape planning is completed, then a good general rule is to keep all walks that parallel the building at least 6 feet away from it.
Distance from House to Walk
By maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between house and walk, you’ll we provide a fairly generous amount of space for the proper growth of plants used either next to the entrance or at the corners of the house in the foundation planting.
When you plant a young specimen just purchased from a nursery, it may look small and dormant. But in a few short years it will have reached maturity, or at any rate a point where you will have to control its size with pruning shears. You will then be glad that you left enough space between the house and walk.
If the plants in such locations are crowded into tight quarters, under the weight of the moisture following rains or during snows, they are very likely to spread out and hang over the walk. This, needless to say, makes the walk useless at the time it is most wanted – when the ground is soggy and muddy under foot.
Since walks and drives are nothing more than necessary utilities, they should be kept as inconspicuous as possible. Do not call attention to them by using conspicuous colors or ornate designs.
From this it also follows that you should not plant flowers, or shrubs, or even small clipped hedges, along the edges of driveways and walks. These emphasize the outlines of what are essentially service features that it would be better simply to ignore.
This and many other common gardening practices will appeal to your sense of economy. The fewer plants you use, the less expensive will your landscaping job be.
There is no reason in most cases to skimp on planting. Simply by avoiding over-planting and using only those plants that are proper in a given situation, you will effect a significant saving.
Use of Ground Cover
Substitute ground cover for grass in the following situations: where there is fierce competition from shallow tree roots; where you have to plant very steep inclines; where the ground is completely shaded by buildings. Because it looks better, you should probably try grass in any spot that seems doubtful. But do not be afraid to use ground cover whenever it is needed.