Reduce lawn space and water use with these stylish, water-conscious pathways
1 of 12Thomas J. Story
Varying slabs of concrete form a solid foundation for this outdoor seating area. Intentional slits create a visual pattern, while guiding water into the soil.
2 of 12Thomas J. Story
Perfect for front yard paths, or large backyards, bluestone is consistent in surface as it is in dimension. Swap the water-guzzling lawn for a series of elegant pavers surrounded by gravel.
3 of 12Stefan Thuilot
Get creative with sloping paths by filling concrete-framed steps with decomposed granite.
Design: Stefan Thuilot, Thuilot Associates, Berkeley (thuilot.com)
4 of 12Bill Ross
Update grassy strips with stone bricks. This Portland property forms a curving path that double duties as an even and porous walking ground.
5 of 12Thomas J. Story
These petite, round pebbles work well around plants and within pathways. Its small structure makes it relatively easy to maintain, and tracks less than traditional gravel. Be sure to structure the filler with a border and build it on top of a flat surface. Don’t forget to rake regularly.
6 of 12Thomas J. Story
Sit cement circles on top of a mulch foundation for a low maintenance pathway. This lawn-free backyard maximizes water use by filtering irrigiation throughout the tree and shrub-laden area.
7 of 12Thomas J. Story
Loved for its flat surface, warm tone, and permeability, this low maintenance stone is not only attractive, but also barefoot friendly. Use flagstones when forming paths, steps, or paving patios.
8 of 12David Fenton
Salmon Bay pebbles
Fill a backyard dining area with Salmon Bay pebbles. The rounded rocks offer a hint of color to this shaded space, while letting water seep into the earth instead of the surrounding grounds.
9 of 12David Fenton
Turn the backyard into art with a mix and match mosaic. This stylish design uses multi-colored brick and stone. The gaps between each cut out allow water to flow beneath the surface.
Design: James Pettigrew and Sean Stout, Organic Mechanics, San Francisco (organicmechanics.comor 415/567-6367)
10 of 12Holly Lepere
Mexican Beach pebbles
Bring in a touch of the coast with these large beach pebbles. Slabs of stone form the bulk of this path, resulting in an earthy, water wise combo.
11 of 12Norm Plate
This permeable gravel gives gardens an approachable, earthy vibe. When the rain hits, crushed basalt absorbs water, trickling into adjacent planting areas.
12 of 12Norm Plate
Pacific Gold gravel
This decorative rock dribbles water into the earth, fueling nearby roots. Its gold tone also evokes a sense of tranquility alongside this garden’s foliage.