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Guidelines for Walkway Design

This article was written by Len Hordyk, DynaScape Product Manager – Design Solutions. Len has over 20 years of experience in the landscape industry.

It’s no secret that curb appeal is essential when it comes to your client’s landscaping. In fact, according to the University of Vermont, landscaping can increase a home’s resale value by up to 14%. Installing a new walkway is a great way to improve your client’s curb appeal, but finding the right walkway design for their home can be a challenge. That’s where DynaScape comes in.

When designing residential walkways (and pathways) it is important to think about the basic guidelines of width and slope for them to be functional.

Width Guidelines:
The width of a residential walkway depends on what type we are talking about: Primary or Auxiliary. A primary walkway example would be a main walkway connecting a driveway to a front entrance. An auxiliary walkway could connect a driveway to a side door entrance.

Primary Walkways
Primary walkways should be a minimum of 48” (1.25m) wide. This width is to accommodate two walking side by side. This width would accommodate wheelchairs as well. This does not mean all front walkways need to be this wide on every design. This is the minimum width – actual width should be proportional to the space and the size of the residence.

Auxiliary Walkways
Auxiliary walkways generally only need to accommodate one person at a time and therefore 24” (.60m) is essentially all you really need. This seems a bit narrow for some scenarios so I generally bump them up to 36” (1m). In some cases stepping stones could suffice instead of a solid walk.

Slope Guidelines:
Primary residential walkways generally should not slope more than 2% unless it is designed for wheelchair access. Any slope greater than 2% can be dangerous when covered in ice. Auxiliary walkways can have slopes up to 5%, but if it is well-used consider adding steps if ice can be a problem.

All walkways should have some slope to ensure proper drainage. So, how do you know if your walkway is exceeding 2% slope? A 2% drop over a distance of 10 feet (120 inches) is 2.4 inches. If your walkway drops more than 2.4 inches over 10 feet, you know you are over 2% (drop ÷ distance x 100 = % slope).

Whenever your slope exceeds 2%, use steps in your design. The key to the proper use of steps is to keep them all at a consistent height. 6 – 7 inches is the preferred height, while anything less than 4 inches is considered a trip hazard.

Guidelines for Walkway Design

Materials Used For Walkways

During the planning process, you’ll want to ask the customer about the design and style they have in mind. This will narrow down your choices for which materials to use for the walkway design. As years progress, landscape design is becoming broader in the materials used for projects. The choice of material not only depends on the style preference of your customer but on the intended usage of the walkway design. Some examples of popular materials used include:

  • Clay Brick Pavers
  • Gravel
  • Natural Stone/li>
  • Coffee
  • Poured Concrete
  • Interlocking Concrete Pavers

Questions to Ask

There are a lot of ways to design a walkway. Determining the walkway width and primary use is the main focus during the planning process. The more you find out about the customer’s vision about their walkway, the better the outcome of the project will be. Here are some questions to ask the customer before beginning:

  • Will people use it while walking side-by-side?
  • Will children be using it to play and ride bikes on?
  • What kind of traffic will it potentially be seeing?/li>
  • How visible is the intended area?
  • Are there points of interest along the walkway such as a garden?

Get Creative

Although these are guidelines for walkway design, there is no set of laws that say you can’t use any combination of materials to make a customer’s dream come to life. Whether that means creatively designing walkways on a slope, or using material you have never used before, making those lasting connections with a customer come from going above and beyond for them. Using DynaScape Landscape Design Software will allow you to sketch these visions and organize the project, making the planning process more effective.

DynaScape for Walkway Design

DynaScape Design is a CAD landscape design software that enables you to transform your walkway design ideas into quality, impressive 3D designs to wow your clients. What’s more, DynaScape allows you to view your walkway design from above from multiple angles so you can show your clients walkways on a slope, flat path, or behind trees. Show your clients multiple design ideas for their property including a different walkway width, surrounding shrubs and flowers, and more.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

By using DynaScape Design for your landscaping projects, not only do you improve the way you show your walkway design concepts to your clients but you also improve customer satisfaction. Landscaping clients want what’s best for their property and they want to be sure that they’re not choosing a landscaping design that they’ll change their mind about later.

With DynaScape’s landscape design software, you’re better able to cater to your client’s needs and show them various designs for their walkways and landscaping. Show your clients where the sun will hit their yard, how trees and shrubs will affect shade, and what different walkway materials will look like.

When your landscaping clients are able to see the different designs you provide them, they’ll feel more confident in your knowledge and expertise. Customers that feel well-taken care of by their contractors and landscape companies are more likely to recommend them to friends and family. They’re also more likely to leave you a great review online.