Pathways In The Garden….at Chanticleer

– Posted in: Garden Design, Garden Visits, Miscellaneous

Pathways are the unsung heroes of the garden; they lead us through a unique, sensory experience. They can set the mood for what lays ahead; adding a sense of mystery or opening up a landscape. When designed poorly, the garden feels disconnected and jerky.  But when executed well, one garden area flows seamlessly into the other, allowing the focus to be on the gardens, not on navigating through the landscape.

Chanticleer’s paths are an excellent example of being both utilitarian and beautifully designed; with the use of materials chosen with great care. On my latest visit a few weeks ago, I photographed paths in only a few garden areas as shown below.

To read a previous article that I wrote, “Pathways In My Backyard”, click here.

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View of entrance where the pot is placed….seen from the courtyard
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View of courtyard leading to house with paths on either side (not visible)

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Courtyard flagstone ends with a different surface used as a transition leading to next garden area.
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Center view of path leading to next garden area
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Continuation of path seen in last photo looking back towards courtyard.  This quiet walkway facilitates an easy transition from one garden area to the next.


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The slightly undulating path with an outstanding circular stone design which is at the intersection of another path leading from the Tea Garden and sitting garden to the Tennis Court Garden.


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Looking back with a straight line view of grass path, circle stone medallion in the center and a stone walkway leading to the Tennis Court Garden.


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View of beautifully designed circular medallion that acts as the central meeting point of the different paths as well as a transition from one area to another.
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Looking from edge of medallion towards Tennis Court Garden


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A view from stone pavers, looking down steps, and onto the grass path in the Tennis Court Garden.
Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

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Fran Sorin
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Darla May 20, 2011, 10:18 am

Just beautiful all the way around. Love the Foxglove…drop by and show some support to the family of a gardening blogger who recently passed away….

Thanks for letting all of us know about the untimely death of Rain Gardener, Linda Karr. Here is the link to Darla’s website: You can find the address where condolences can be sent to Linda’s family. She will be missed by alot of gardeners in our community.

Landscape Lover May 20, 2011, 10:41 am

Fran, I was at Chanticleer in March with fellow blogger Carolyn of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. It was before the gardens were officially open to the public and not too much was in flower, so we were able to appreciate the bones of the garden. I remember being really impressed by the thoughtful design of the paths, with their different materials helping create different moods in each area. And their width is just right – wide enough for two to walk together in comfort, but still with an intimate feel.

Thanks for adding in the element about widths of paths. In some of the grassed areas, the widths of the mown grass surrounded by beds or unmown areas are larger, offering a more open, majestic feel. It is amazing, as you mentioned, the attention given to every detail at Chanticleer. It just gets better with time….am glad you were able to visit…even when not in full bloom. Fran

Zoe / pearled earth May 20, 2011, 11:00 am

I love Chanticleer, but I’ve always been so engrossed with the interesting species and their arrangements that I’ve never even paid attention to the paths. Thanks for the new perspective.


I’ve spent so much time at Chanticleer over the years that even though I am blown away by their plantings and designs each time I visit, I am now able to focus on other elements (including the outdoor furniture….several of which are handmade pieces). BTW, I only showed paths in a few garden areas. Fran

David C. May 20, 2011, 2:00 pm

What great design compositions – must see that place as well as Longwood, next time back east! (whenever that will be…) Pics #1, 3 & 4 say it all, with good hardscape angles and punctuating vertical forms.


Oh yes….Chanticleer is a must. It is like nothing else I’ve ever seen…. if you can get your hands on Adrian Higgins/Rob Cardillo’s book, Chanticleer, it offers a real sense of the place. Longwood is a great teaching garden but Chanticleer, a rare jewel ….and subtly a teaching garden. Check out Pam’s link (comment above) to see the pathways in the Asian woodland gardens at Chanticleer! Fran

Pam/Digging May 20, 2011, 2:40 pm

I went nuts photographing Chanticleer’s smaller, woodsy paths when I was there a couple of summers ago: . They inspired at least one path through my own garden — a sunburst stone path around my stock-tank pond.


I’m always surprised at how much I love the Asian Woodland Garden after being so filled to the brim with the exuberance of the preceding ones. Lisa Roper did a phenomenal job designing it. Your photos of the paths are magnificent. It seems that because the woodland garden is so calming and cool that it allowed for the paths to be more intricately detailed and composed of smaller sized material. Talk about painstakingly created! Thanks for sharing its artistry and a reminder to all of us about how critical pathways can be artistically as a major element in the garden. Fran

Cathy May 21, 2011, 6:18 am

We are visiting Chanticleer in July and we can hardly wait. The photographs posted recently by Ron Cardillo, and yours today have raised our level of excitement about this trip substantially. The Chanticleer website photos clearly don’t do it justice!

Your pictures ease one of my major concerns, that being accessibility. As one who often gardens (and visits gardens) from a wheelchair, it’s always an issue for us – are there paths that are wide enough to accommodate an outdoor wheelchair and are there any parts of the garden accessible by wheelchair.

I am somewhat ambulatory, but a long walking tour can easily exhaust me and using the chair means I get to enjoy it thoroughly. I can hardly wait! Thanks so much for the great photo tour!

Dear Cathy,

Am so glad Rob’s and my photos are ‘psyching’ you up…..I’m almost sure that Chanticleer is wheelchair accessible. You might want to call them though to assuage any concerns. Be in touch after your visit! Fran

James Golden May 21, 2011, 8:33 am

I love the surprise path continuation in the courtyard behind the main house, where you have to make a sharp turn (you’ll miss it if you’re not paying attention) to continue the journey through a narrow passage in the stone wall, passing some of Marcia Donahue’s humorous ceramic bamboo sculptures with red rooster combs, then descend the hill to enter the wider garden, pass the Serpentine, the Asian woods, and the pond garden. This little “interruption” in the flow of the main path is always a delightful surprise.

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