Walkway Width MattersConsiderations for determining the best width for a garden path
Here the walkway leading to the front door is wide so that two people can walk side-by-side. Garden Studio Design in Newport Beach, CA.
A perspective drawing of curved steps that are 48" in width.
A perspective drawing of a meandering path with a minimum width of 36"
A perspective drawing of a straight path 36" in width.
- 18" minimum
- 24" functional
- 30" one person
- 36" standard
- 48" 2 people
A good rule of thumb is to make garden walkways at least four feet wide. This minimum will allow two people to walk comfortably side-by-side. This is especially important for paths that will get frequent use, such as the one leading to your front door. The more a path is used, the wider it should be. Where the path originates from and where it ends will impact how frequently it is used. Conversely, a path that gets infrequent use can be narrower. Examples of this type of path are side-yard entrances and backyard trails. Remember, that is always better to err on the side of caution - an overly wide path is better than an overly narrow one.
A design trick that many professionals use is to vary the width of a path at certain points in the garden. Widening a walkway suggests that the visitor has arrived at a destination. Good places to widen a path include when it is nearing a patio, when you would like people to stop and admire beautiful flowers or a breathtaking view, or when there is a nice shady bench to rest on under a tree.