Find The Right Balance Of Landscaping And Hardscaping
Your property should have a good balance between hardscaping and landscaping to allow people to walk around without damaging greenery and without adding to mobility or access issues. The ratio you have and the designs you use really depend on your specific needs, but whatever you are planning for your new garden should try to have just enough of both concrete and plants to allow everyone to enjoy the space.
Enough to Move Along, and Usually No More
Hardscaping is the concrete and other hard surfaces in the garden — your patio, the stepping stones, the benches, and more. If you're planning to have a lush garden and not just a lawn, having pathways that don't turn into mud is very helpful. However, you don't want to overdo the hardscaping. Typically, you want a couple of places to sit and some paths that let you access each bed so you can care for the plants easily. Stepping stones are nice and unobtrusive, so they are great for areas where you won't need to kneel down on the ground a lot. However, see the section on accessibility, too.
The Greenery Is the Star of the Show
Whatever you plan, your greenery — the plants, flowers, trees, herb gardens, and so on — is the star of the show. Any hardscaping you add should not overpower the greenery in terms of looks. In other words, if you place a bench in the middle of a bunch of flower beds, you don't want to place the benches between tall hedges so that you block the view of some of the beds from the rest of the garden. Try to position benches so that it is easy to see and move around them, or place them near the edges of the garden so their "backs" are to the wall or fence.
One other issue to remember is that you don't want to leave any areas where pests could set up a home. Scraggly bushes up against the wall or fence surrounding the garden must be trimmed regularly, or you can set up a small concrete path that encircles the whole garden, separating the plants from the wall or fence. That also gives you room to walk around without having too much concrete be visible among the plants.
Accessibility is vital if you have residents or guests who have mobility issues. Stepping stones are not what you want in the garden if you know someone who uses a wheelchair will want to see the space. In that case, a wide, smooth paved path is better.
A landscaping company can help you come up with the right combination of plants and paths. You will have a lot of options, and find that your garden is all the more enjoyable.