The turf path (Fig. 127) is the most attractive of all. It is pleasant to walk on, restful to the eye, and blends delightfully with the varying shades of color in the plantings. It makes a harmonious groundwork for floral effects desired without fear of discordant contrast.
Bricks of rich, dark shades (Figs. 128 and 129) are very agreeable for garden walks. Occasional application of boiled linseed oil will darken the surface and give a more beautiful texture. The bricks should be laid in the basket (Fig. 50) or herring bone pattern (Fig. 52), with a neat border on end or edge.
If red gravel is used it should be spread over a base of crushed stone at least four inches deep, and there should not be less than two inches of gravel, rolled and thoroughly compacted.
The field stone or stepping stone walk (Fig. 53) is picturesque and gives an appearance of age to the garden. A single row of stones is much the best arrangement, as it leaves a greater portion of the walk in greensward.
Flagstones laid with turf interstices are a change and give a satisfactory transition from the lawn to the utilitarian feature. The stones may be laid regularly or broken in irregular shapes and laid in broken range. If a mortar joint is used (Figs. 44 and 45) it should be finished flush with the stone surface.
Slate slabs, laid the same as the flagstones, are very pleasing in color and are very serviceable. Slates may be had beautifully mottled with brown and gray.
Tanbark walks have fallen into disuse, most likely on account of the care and expense of upkeep. The color is good and the texture comfortable under foot. The sub-base for tanbark should be the same as for macadam, with an inch of the tanbark as a finish. A curb or border is necessary to keep the material within bounds.
When gravel, brick or tanbark is used in path construction it should be bordered with turf or Box (Fig. 129), or both. Turf borders should not be less than twelve inches wide and, where space permits, wider. If the turf border is too narrow the periodic edging reduces it to irregular widths. For this reason stone or brick on end or edge is often preferable.
Beds which may be reached from two sides can be six feet wide; those which can be worked from one side only should not be more than three feet wide.
The beds should never be placed next to a hedge, as the roots of the stronger growing hedge plants become very troublesome to the cultivated and enriched area. Under some conditions it is not possible to avoid having a bed next to the hedge; in such cases a three-inch concrete wall, two and one-half feet deep, constructed along the inside of the hedge, will help to force the hedge roots in the opposite direction.
A successful garden will depend greatly on the preparation of the soil, care in planting and the upkeep. Garden beds should contain from eighteen inches to two feet of good friable soil. If it is not possible to supply all beds with this amount of good soil enriched with well rotted cow manure, the available top soil on the garden area should be stripped, the manure dug into the bottom soil and the top soil replaced. If the bottom soil is heavy and does not afford good drainage, sufficient sand or coal ashes should be added in addition to the manure. A free circulation of air and abundant moisture are requisites of root growth; and soil preparation should be such that will make these readily available. Coal ashes worked into bottom soil will afford good drainage and, at the same time, supply moisture from the lower strata by capillary attraction.
Fig. 129. - Brick garden walk, laid diagonally on edge and bordered with Box. - See pages 155, 156.
Figs. 130 and 131. - "The construction and setting of the garden are second in importance to the floral ensemble." Contrast these two scenes ! - See page 159.