Flagstones And Pathways: Effects On Accessibility, Drainage, And Maintenance

Posted on: 21 May 2017

If you are trying to decide whether to add concrete paths or flagstones to your garden in an effort to avoid stepping in mud, you do have to take into account how each would affect the particular part of the garden they are in. Adding these is not just a matter of planning where they go and then installing them. You have to consider if they'll help or hurt drainage, make areas inaccessible to those with mobility issues, or cause you to have issues with maintenance. Put these fixtures in the wrong place, and you could find they don't help that much. But choose the right ones for each spot in the garden, and you can really make that garden a place everyone likes to be in.

Smooth Rides and Trip Hazard

Installing a concrete pathway can be disruptive in areas where plants are close together, obviously, so flagstones are best for those. But in areas where there is ample room for a pathway that's a few feet wide, choose that option so that people who have mobility issues can venture out into the yard. It's not just wheelchair users that could benefit; anyone who needs a smooth, stable surface to walk on would do better with a concrete path. There's the additional problem of flagstones being a trip hazard if a frost heave manages to dislodge the stones a bit. While frost heaves are a problem for concrete pathways, too, it will be easier to see if a concrete segment has become uneven.

Runoff and Extra Drain Space

Concrete can absorb a little water; watch as how those first few raindrops seep into the surface. But overall, concrete is going to make water run off to the sides in moderate to heavy rain. That could make plants and soil off to the side become waterlogged. Flagstones that are set in the soil might be better as they leave more of the soil's surface open to rain -- the amount that ends up next to the plants is much more moderate. So, flagstones would be better for areas right by plants, while concrete paths would be better out in the lawn, which can usually handle more water.

Replacing Stones and Replacing Segments

If a flagstone is damaged, you just have to replace that flagstone; if concrete is damaged, you might have to replace an entire segment, which would be much larger than one flagstone. But with flagstones, if you have them surrounded by gravel, for example, you may have to repeatedly replace gravel and clean up pebbles that have been kicked out of the main path. That could become very messy over time.

To have flagstones (which can be made of concrete) or a full concrete pathway installed, talk to concrete contractors who can help you plot out which could go where in your garden. There's room for both; you just need to find the right places for them.