Importance of Circulation in an Outdoor Space

Your landscape is a great space to enjoy, but if you can’t get around that space, you won’t enjoy your outdoor living nearly as much as you could. From patios and decks to gardens, flowerbeds, sheds, play areas and more, circulation is critical to make the most of your landscape and enjoy every inch you have so thoughtfully cultivated.

Where Are You Going?

Before you start planning pathways and circulation space in your landscape, it is important to recognize where you are going and what pathways you will use the most. This is your landscape’s hierarchy of circulation, and depends on what features you have and how you use them. The locations of access points, such as doors or gates, and how they relate to the biggest features of your yard – a pool, deck, patio, hot tub, gazebo, garden, play set, etc. – will help determine how pathways should flow through your yard. The widest, most welcoming pathways should be between the most frequently used features and access points to make moving around your outdoor space safer and more convenient. Lesser used features, such as a private meditation niche or a shed that stores seasonal tools, may have smaller, narrower paths, or may not even need circulation pathways at all.

While you are considering the circulation between major spaces in your outdoor living area, don’t forget smaller circulation concerns as well. For example, a comfortable seating area with a fire pit or dining table won’t be so comfortable if guests aren’t able to move around furniture or other obstacles safely and easily. Also be sure that pathways aren’t crossing undesirable areas, such as passing closely by private windows or leading guests around less aesthetic features, such as utility boxes, air conditioners or trash cans.

How Will You Get There?

Once you have plotted where the pathways belong in your outdoor space, you need to decide what types of pathways will meet your needs. Factors to consider include…

  • Width – The path should be proportional to the yard and allow for easy access to the space
  • Material – Pavers, gravel, mulch, timbers and natural stone are all popular pathway options
  • Layout – Paths can have gentle curves to wind and flow or may be more straightforward
  • Architecture – Design pathways to coordinate with the house style and landscape design
  • Elevation – If steps are necessary, be sure they are safe and secure for all types of visitors
  • Views – Envision pathway routes to be sure they are as pleasing to the eye as the feet

There are many different ways to plan proper circulation in, around and through an outdoor space, and careful consideration of these different factors will ensure you enjoy every step along the paths you create.

Make Paths a Pleasure

Circulation is not just a necessity in your outdoor space, it can be a pleasurable part of your landscape, especially when you consider the journey as well as the destination. To make the most of your circulation paths and help each one enhance your landscape…

  • Enter Elegantly – Use a gate or archway to mark the entrance to your paths and welcome guests to step into your landscape. Natural arches or structures can both be fun options.
  • Add Borders – A bordered path has a finished, elegant appeal. Opt for contrasting textures, angled pavers or even fun plants to frame your pathways.
  • Provide Niches – An unexpected niche or node along the path can be a treasure to find. Benches, fountains, specimen plants or other accents are all beautiful options.
  • Light the Way – Lighting is essential for safe pathways, particularly where there may be stairs or uneven terrain, but fun lights such as lanterns or rope lights also add personal flair to the path.
  • Consider Customization – Add fun, customized surprises along pathways, such as quirky stepping stones, children’s handprint rocks or even initials and other personalization.

From the first step to the last, how you move around your landscape is essential to be sure you can access the spaces you want and enjoy getting from one to another. Our experts can help you plan the best circulation for all your outdoor living spaces – contact us today to take your first step to a landscape you’ll love to move around in!