Should you have live pathways in your garden? Gardener Scott's top tip will help you decide

Live pathways can look stunning - but are they right for you?

Green and white garden colour scheme, Chenies Manor in May
(Image credit: Elizabeth Debenham / Alamy Stock Photo)

Could living paths be right for your garden? A living path can look very attractive –and is much more wildlife-friendly than a paved garden path. Gardener Scott was recently asked about living paths and their pros and cons on YouTube, and gave a top tip for determining whether they might be for you. 

If you are currently exploring garden path ideas, use this tip to decide if green, or living paths, should become part of your garden design.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Scott admitted to really liking the idea of living paths. 'I think there are a number of pros to using live pathways,' he said. He does caution that you need to live in an area with adequate rainfall – or you'll have to be watering them regularly. 'It doesn't make sense to me to water my pathways when I can put down woodchip mulch and not worry about weeds growing.' 

This is where Scott's biggest concern about living pathways comes in. He stresses that living paths are not care free, just because they're paths and not garden beds. He explains that 'if you've got grasses growing, it'll tend to choke out the weeds, but you have to think of those green pathways just like you would of any other garden bed.' 

Ultimately, the thing to understand about living paths is that 'they're going to be weeded, they're going to be watered, they're going to be maintained.' This is the one thing you'll have to consider before deciding to go ahead with rewilding your garden in this way. 

grass pathway in garden

(Image credit: Evan Sklar / Alamy Stock Photo)

Scott's summary of a green path is that however beautiful, it 'needs maintenance. Anticipate that it's going to take some of your time to care for the pathways.' If you already prefer low-maintenance garden ideas, you may decide that a paved, gravel or woodchip path is easier.

For small gardens, Scott recommends using ground cover plants like thyme and clover for low-maintenance live pathways. These plants are low-growing and fragrant. 'Think of that as an option, using a plant that's aromatic,' he says. 'You can walk through the garden and have those aromas constantly fill the air.' Low-growing thyme also requires minimal pruning, so you may have your easy-care living path option here, if you're only covering a small area.

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.