At the Chelsea Flower Show this year, while most people cooed over the flowers, I was looking past their ankles at the materials, laying patterns and styles of the show gardens’ paths.

Routes and pathways through gardens aren’t often given enough thought in the design stage. How tempting they are to follow is all about how beautifully they’re crafted. Here are a few to lead you in the right direction…

chelsea path deck myers

The smart horizontal hardwood strips in Robert Myer's garden cut through the stone like a catwalk, adding dynamism to this terrace.

chelsea path thompson gravel stone

Another inset, this time of slate laid to contrast with the honeyed gravel and to lead the eye down this semi-formal path.

chelsea path gravel thompson

A second path in Jo Thompson's garden; I like the use of quartzite finely grained gravel.. lighter and fresher than traditional aggregate, it reminds me of French boules grounds.

chelsea path stone step flemings

Solid, stone-faced steps are made even more permanent-looking with moss-like Soleirolia soleirolii creeping between them. The gentle curve up and around tempts you further into the garden.

chelsea brick path

These look like hand-made bricks, laid random-coursed and running bond to lead us round to the seating area. I haven't seen 'suburban retro' red brick in the seven years I've been attending Chelsea; the start of a new trend?!

chelsea path stone rustic

Another use of good old brick, this time laid on side and in grey, which provides quite a modern edge to what would otherwise be a traditional cottage garden path through this blowsy planting.

chelsea path cinder

A cinder track leads through this garden showing how planting rejuvenates after fire. Black always adds drama to gardens. This path would also add dirt throughout the house.. but it's interesting!

chelsea path metal deck gould

To prove that gardens can be fashioned from the most unpromising wastelands and materials, here is a rusted grille walkway leading onto reclaimed boards, suspended over a waterway below. The colours match while the textures contrast.. and new ways to introduce water safely in family gardens are always good.

chelsea path slate edge

Weird and super-space age... but made from one of the most traditional paving materials? This is slate stacked tightly on end. Perhaps use this technique and texture to add contrast to a smaller area within slate slabs; it's a bit much for a whole path at home...

chelsea path gravel rill frost

Another fine bound, honeyed gravel pathway, this time one of many in a grid to zone and restrain the productive, abundant planting in Adam Frost's family garden. A nice blend of practical and smart; informal and attractive.

chelsea path stone setts

Ulf Nordfjell created this garden for Laurent-Perrier and I thought at first it's smart, champagne-hued square setts were made of sandstone. Of course it's top-banana Travertine marble. Sandstone would have been cheaper...

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