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Upper Midwest Gardening: The Perfect Path

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Paths help make a garden accessible. Lowe's Upper Midwest garden contributor Rebecca Kolls shares how she created a garden walkway.

A recently installed garden path shows promise.

By Rebecca Kolls

I can't believe I was finally doing it - losing the lawn! Yep, for years I'd been wrestling the mower down a rock wall to cut this small terrace in my backyard. But last fall I armed myself with grass killer and weed killer and said, "Adios!" It worked! The terrace turned into nothing but a canvas waiting for anything but lawn - but first things first. I needed a walkway.

The blade of my shovel made carving the perfect path easy and quick. To keep the mulch from moving, I dug out about an inch of the soil from the pathway. A rake helped smooth out the lumps and bumps, then I covered the ground with landscape fabric.

A stone temporarily helps keep landscape fabric in place.

But here's the catch: The fabric is straight; my path is curved. No problem. Using some strategies learned from Sewing 101, I created pleats, which allowed the fabric to bend to the curve of my path. Stones kept the fabric from blowing away. I highly recommend having stones on hand before you lay the fabric down.

Laying mulch was easy enough. I added about a 3-inch layer, which looked a bit hefty, but rain helped settle it into place.


Creeping Jenny is a groundcover that moves a lot!

I really liked the green that lawn provided but I didn't want the work. (Remember, I'm the lazy gardener!) So I selected a groundcover called creeping Jenny, also known as moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia).

I use this stuff everywhere I don't want lawn! I have it in the shade and sun. It's a perennial, so it will be there every spring. The glossy lime-green foliage adds a great pop of color, especially in shady corners. And there's an added treat: The groundcover produces tiny yellow buttercup flowers toward the end of June. Creeping Jenny does prefer soil on the moist side, which makes it a perfect groundcover in damp areas.

Also, I should mention, there is a reason it's called "creeping" Jenny - it moves... a lot! This groundcover can be invasive, so use it only in places where you really want cover! I transplanted small sprigs. They were hard to see at first, in a month or two it was off to the races.

Now it's on to my next garden question - what should I plant? Stay tuned. This back terrace is bound to be a blooming success by summer's end!


See more Midwest gardening articles.

Here's my video on installing a garden pathway.