Step by Step: DIY Budget Garden Walkway Projects for the Weekend Gardener

a garden with gravel and stones creating a pathway through the gravel, towards a decking area and garden room. There is a lot of plants and shrubbery in the garden with a rock garden landscape

Creating a garden walkway is a fantastic way to add charm and functionality to your outdoor space. Whether you’re an avid gardener or a DIY enthusiast, building a garden walkway can be a rewarding weekend project that doesn’t have to break the bank.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through step-by-step instructions for creating your own budget-friendly garden walkway, including tips on materials, design, and installation.

Cheap Walkway Ideas

From flagstone paths to bricks and pavers, it is quite simple to carve out a little garden walkway to stop your plants and grass from being trampled and bringing mud into the house on wetter days. Here are a few simple steps on how to make a cheap walkway.

Planning Your Garden Walkway

large paving slabs on a garden lawn, leading up to a garden shed

1. Define the Purpose and Path

Start by considering the purpose of your walkway. Is it purely functional, leading to a specific area like a garden shed or a cozy seating area? Or is it more for adding a feature to your garden, meandering through your garden to highlight specific plants and structures?

Once you have a purpose in mind, use a garden hose or string to outline the path. This step helps you visualize the flow and make any necessary adjustments before you start digging.

2. Choose Your Materials

The choice of materials can significantly affect the cost and look. For a budget-friendly option, consider materials like gravel, mulch, or reclaimed bricks and pavers.

Here are some popular and cost-effective options for garden walkway materials, along with their advantages and considerations:


a gravel walkway through plants and trees with plastic edging
A gravel walkway with plastic edging

Gravel is one of the most affordable and easiest materials to install for a garden walkway. It offers a natural look that blends well with most landscapes.

  • Advantages: Inexpensive, good drainage, and easy to lay. Gravel also comes in various sizes and colors, allowing for customization.
  • Considerations: It can spread outside the walkway edges without proper edging, and it may require periodic replenishment and raking to maintain a neat appearance.


Beautiful mulched garden path lined with colorful marigolds and wooden gate at far end. Sunflowers, corn and other vegetables growing in a sunny summer garden. Low angle view.
Image: Airtasker

Wood chips or bark mulch are excellent for creating soft, natural-looking paths through gardens. They’re particularly well-suited for casual, woodland-style gardens.

  • Advantages: Mulch is relatively cheap and easy to install. It’s also soft underfoot and can help retain soil moisture while suppressing weeds.
  • Considerations: It breaks down over time, requiring annual replenishment. Mulch can also be washed away by heavy rain, so it’s less suitable for sloped areas.

Stepping Stones

a garden with festoon lights, trees, a gravelled patio area and stepping stones leading to a garden shed
We created a gravel patio area at the back of our garden and used concrete pavers to create a little path through the gravel, leading to the shed

Stepping stones, such as flagstones or concrete pavers, can be spaced apart with ground cover or grass in between. This option creates a charming path that encourages a leisurely pace.

  • Advantages: They offer a stable surface for walking and can be aesthetically pleasing. Stepping stones require less material than a full walkway, saving costs.
  • Considerations: The ground cover between stones needs maintenance, and irregular stone shapes may require fitting adjustments.

Reclaimed Bricks or Pavers

Using reclaimed or recycled bricks and pavers can add character to your garden walkway while being eco-friendly and budget-conscious.

  • Advantages: Durable and low maintenance, with a timeless appeal. They can be laid in various patterns to create a unique look.
  • Considerations: The availability of materials can be variable, and laying a brick or paver path requires more skill and time than some other options.

Crushed Stone or Decomposed Granite

crushed stone pathway through a garden with lots of trees and plants

Crushed stone or decomposed granite offers a more refined look than gravel, with a similar ease of installation.

  • Advantages: Provides good drainage and a stable walking surface. It’s available in various colors to match your garden’s palette.
  • Considerations: Like gravel, it can stray from its designated area without solid edging and might need occasional replenishment.


Mixing and pouring your own concrete can be a cost-effective way to build a solid walkway, especially for linear, modern designs.

  • Advantages: Durable and low maintenance, with the flexibility to form various shapes and designs.
  • Considerations: Requires more labor and skill, particularly for mixing, pouring, and finishing. Concrete can crack over time and might not blend as naturally into garden settings as other materials.

When selecting a material, consider the overall style of your garden, the level of foot traffic the path will receive, and how much time and effort you’re willing to invest in installation and maintenance.

It’s also wise to think about the local climate and how the material will withstand weather conditions.

Reclaimed Wood Walkway

Using reclaimed wood planks as a garden walkway can offer a unique aesthetic appeal while being eco-friendly.

  • Advantages: Reclaimed wood is a sustainable choice, adds warmth and character, and can be cut to size. It can also be quite durable if it is treated or weathered.
  • Considerations: Wood requires regular maintenance to keep in good condition and is susceptible to water damage. It may also contain nails or screws which will need to be removed.

Not all wood is suitable for outdoor use, especially in contact with the ground.

Choose durable, rot-resistant woods like cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated lumber for a longer-lasting walkway.

3. Design Considerations

Think about the width of your walkway; it should be at least 2 feet wide for comfortable passage. Consider adding curves to create a more natural, meandering path, which can be more visually appealing than a straight line.

Building Your Walkway

a garden levelled with membrane to stop weeds growing over it and gravel on top
We built a graveled patio with landscape fabric and Cotswold stone and then laid paving slabs to create a garden walkway
a gravelled area with paving slabs and bricks to edge the gravel in a garden. The paving slabs lead up to a garden shed
The finished result

4. Clear and Prepare the Area

Clear the walkway area of any grass, stones, and debris. Use a shovel to dig out the path to a depth of about 4-6 inches. This step ensures that your walkway will have a stable foundation and helps to prevent weeds from growing through your path.

5. Lay the Foundation

A solid foundation is crucial for a durable walkway. Lay down landscape fabric to prevent weed growth, then fill the excavated path with a 3-inch layer of crushed stone or sand for drainage. This layer should be compacted using a hand tamper or a plate compactor for larger areas.

6. Install Edging

Edging keeps your materials in place and gives your walkway a polished look. You can use plastic or metal landscape edging, wood, or even stones. We used old bricks we found when we dug up our garden to lay our patio and these are perfect at separating our patio stone from the lawn.

Install the edging along both sides of your path, ensuring it’s secure, level, and at the desired height.

7. Add Your Walkway Material

a brick pathway being built
Laying reclaimed bricks to create a garden path

Now, fill the path with your chosen material.

  • For Gravel or Mulch: Pour the material over the base layer, spreading it evenly with a rake to the desired thickness (usually about 2 inches).
  • For Pavers or Stepping Stones: Start at one end and place each piece snugly against the next, keeping them level. For irregular shapes, you may need to adjust and fit them together like a puzzle. Use a rubber mallet to tap them gently into place.
  • For Bricks: Lay bricks in your chosen pattern, using a level to ensure they are flat and even. Sand can be used to fill gaps and keep bricks in place.

8. Finishing Touches

a garden walkway with lots of flowers on either side, spilling onto the path

For gravel or mulch walkways, consider adding a top layer of finer material, like pea gravel or wood chips, for a more refined look. If you’ve installed bricks or pavers, sweep sand over them to fill in the gaps, then mist lightly with water to settle the sand.

You could consider planting flowers, ground cover, or ornamental grasses along the edges of your walkway to enhance its natural beauty. If you have loose materials, give the walkway a final rake to even out and compact lightly.


Additional Tips for Success

a brick pathway being built in a garden
Using reclaimed bricks is easier if you want to create a winding garden path

9. Curves and Corners

If your walkway has curves, you may need to cut bricks or pavers to fit. Use a masonry chisel and hammer or a wet saw for precise cuts. For mulch or gravel paths, flexible edging is best suited for smooth curves.

Clean off any residue from solid walkway materials to ensure a neat finish.

10. Maintenance

A small garden path with pebbles and flagstone

Every walkway requires some maintenance to keep it looking its best. For gravel and mulch paths, replenish the material as needed and rake it regularly to keep it even.

For brick and paver walkways, periodically check for any movement, erosion, or weed growth between the joints and address as necessary, especially after heavy rain or in freezing conditions.

11. Decorative Touches

Personalize your walkway with decorative touches. Line the path with solar lights, plant low-growing herbs or flowers along the edges, or add stepping stones with handprints or mosaics for a personal touch.

Building a garden walkway is a project that can dramatically enhance the look and feel of your outdoor space. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can create a beautiful and functional garden walkway on a budget, even if you’re new to DIY projects.

a gravel pathway with brick edging and lots of plants
A gravel pathway with brick edging, is probably the easiest and cheapest way to create a garden walkway

Remember, the key to a successful garden walkway is planning, choosing the right materials, and taking your time to install it properly.

With a little effort and creativity, you’ll have a garden path that not only adds to the beauty of your outdoor space but also creates a more inviting and accessible garden for you to enjoy.

Do I need to remove the grass before laying a walkway?

Yes, it’s advisable to remove the grass and any other vegetation from the area where you plan to install the walkway. This helps prevent unevenness and future growth that could disrupt the walkway’s surface.

Is landscape fabric necessary under a garden walkway?

While not strictly necessary, landscape fabric can be very beneficial. It helps to prevent weed growth and can also aid in stabilizing the base by separating the base material from the underlying soil.

How do I prevent weeds from growing?

Using landscape fabric beneath your materials can significantly reduce weed growth. Additionally, ensuring a sufficient depth of your chosen material and regular maintenance will help keep weeds at bay.

Can I build one over an uneven yard?

Yes, but it requires extra preparation. You’ll need to level the ground as much as possible and may need to use additional materials like sand or gravel to create a stable and level base.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.


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