Exterior Design

Modern Landscaping Design Walkways and Materials

July 7, 2020

Modern Landscape Design Walkways and Materials
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One of the key elements we use in Modern landscape design includes walkways.  When you visit the significant city gardens, they so effectively use pathways to guide you through the garden.  There are many options and materials out there to use as pathways through the yard.  Jet Lee, Architectural Designer is walking you through his choices to enhance your yard design.

Pathways in Modern Design

Walkway Inspiration:

     Jet thought about many possibilities to use in our yard. Our design used several paths throughout the yard. To add visual interest, we wanted to use several options. As an Architectural Designer with over two decades of experience, he shares some of his favorite options.

Walkway and Patio Material Options: 

     Pathways through a yard reminds Jet of being a kid and riding his trike and bikes. We used curves and circles as a recurring theme in our yard.  It is adorable to watch our three-year-old ride her bicycle in endless patterns around the patios and pathways in our yard.  

Pavers for walkways

Pavers for Walkways

These are a good option for pathways and patios. They are good at blocking weeds and creating level areas for seating and firepits. Pavers are the most expensive of the choices we considered for our pathways and patio. One important consideration is the way they lay the pavers do not compromise here. It will cost more, but using Polymer Sand is critical.  It will lock in the pavers like a mortar and bond it to create a firmer foundation and inhibit weeds. 


Brick a durable paver option with considerable color variations. We do not have any brick on our house, and it was just not the right look for our project, but it is worth consideration.

Traditional Pavers:

They come in a wide variety and many colors like a brick. We decided to use two different types with different colors and sizes.

Flagstone Rock:

We liked the look of flagstone rock patios, and it was a close second on our list.
It takes an artistic eye to lay the rock like an intricate puzzle. Remember, these are natural stone pieces that vary in shape and depth; it isn’t easy to get them to lay perfectly level. We wanted to have access to a wheelchair, and we wanted to limit the tripping hazard, so we decided on pavers.

Composite Patio Tiles

Composite Deck Tiles:

These are relatively new to the market, and there are new options with color patterns and sizes. We love our composite deck, and this is an option we would look at with future projects.
We decided on pavers since the landscaper had some incredible modern remnant pavers that fit perfectly. We have not used these, but we will update you when we have tried them.

Flagstone Chips

Flagstone chips:

If you have not heard of these yet, it is time. The color is warm and ties in the warm tones that are in our rocks. It is the flagstone rocks broken into small chips. I was afraid of the texture of this option, but I was so surprised. They are so comfortable to walk on, they lay so flat they don’t poke into your shoes, and you can even walk on them barefoot. We liked the look of these and used them for many walkways through the yard. The flagstone chip paths are favorite in the yard adds exciting texture and appeal. Again this is an eco-friendly option to use flagstone pieces that are not big enough for other applications.

Decomposed Granite Walkway

Decomposed | Crushed Granite Walkways:

This pathway is the one we use to get our bikes and paddleboards from the garage to the bike path behind the lake and to transport our paddleboards and canoe out to the lake. Decomposed granite is an excellent material for keeping out the weeds and having a very natural look that almost looks unfinished. However, you get the benefit of it not turning into a muddy mess when wet. Low cost readily available. One thing we have noticed with our path is that it can get loose and feel like sand.
We wet it and drove the lawn mover over it to pack it back down and so far so good. Decomposed granite is an eco-friendly option that can use recycled and remnant granite.

Pea Gravel


Here is the thing about rock; it is not a favorite of mine for pathways. I don’t like the feel of gravel or rocks under my feet. I have sensitive ankles and have tripped on them. The only place we used the stone as a pathway was in areas with limited use. We used pea gravel in the full side yard where we have the Yoshino Cherry Trees and around our garden boxes. The pea gravel adds another distinct look, but you sink into the gravel, making it difficult to walk through. The rock in the yard helped Xeriscape water-wise approach to our hard design. We used stone throughout the yard in sections, but they were not walking paths.

Edging Materials

Once you have decided on your materials for walkways, you need to consider barriers and edging between pathways and sections of the yard.

Edging options for your Modern Landscaping:

Rubber Edging

Rubber/ Resin:

These edging options are clean and straightforward, thin barriers to separate two sections. We used this in a small part of our yard to separate rock and a grass section. Jet liked this since it is difficult to damage, and you can drive over it with your lawnmower. This option is perfect for curved areas. It was more challenging to keep in straight over a distance.

Concrete Edging


Concrete edging is also a favorite of modern design. We used concrete edging around the exterior of the yard to where we put the fence. Near the grass, we used two specific concrete edging sections with the rock in between for the fence posts. If you’re going to use concrete, it is a more permanent solution, so be sure where you want to use it.

Rock Edging


We used rock heavily for our xeriscape and modern design that using it for edging would not work for our yard.

Pavers Edging


We did use pavers as edging, where we used the pavers for path or patio. You can lay these in patterns that create compelling visual interest. Keep in mind paver color and even the edges straight square edges work well with a modern design. Again I would recommend putting with the polymer sand.

Metal Edging

Metal Edging:

We used metal edging as the primary edging option throughout our yard. There are paths throughout the yard to take you through the features. During the design phase of the yard, Jet remembered that my dad, Barry Atwood, had these long metal edging pieces. My dad happily agreed to donate them to the yard design. It was quite the adventure to load them to a trailer due to the weight and length and drive them an hour and a half to our house. They were perfect for separating the sections of the yard and creating the look of curves to create the look that we were striving to achieve. The walkways add texture and color to the design using diverse materials:

For more Modern Landscape Ideas:

Modern Utah Lakeside Dream Yard
Selecting Plants for Modern Landscape
Planning your Dream Yard
How to Select the Best Landscape Professionals

     Creating our Utah Lakeside Dream Yard has been a labor of love for us.  We think the modern landscape design is enhanced significantly with the walkways we added and the variety of materials we used throughout the yard. We find every excuse to go out to the yard for breakfasts, dinners, and spend as many nights out by the fire as weather permits. We find that a yard is a place where we take a break from electronics and connect and find space to talk about our dreams. Get your Free Guide to Selecting the Best Landscape Professionals, and you will get our newsletter that tells you about all the projects we are working on at Lilies and Jets.

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