Why I Build Trails All Over my Wild Homestead

in homesteading •  12 days ago 

Often when we build our gardens and growing areas, we aim to limit the size of our paths. But what if we did the opposite? Throughout my wild homestead I’m creating a number of what I like to call nature trails.

These trails are not just for helping with access/harvests but are instead meant to make my wild homestead a welcoming place for my kids and really anyone to explore and enjoy. The trails also provide other benefits.

All of this is covered in this week’s blog post—Nature Trails - 3 Reasons Why You Should Build Them—This post provides some tips and resources into how to build your own nature trails and then covers 3 benefits of these trails.

Make sure to check out that post. The following is a bit of a dive into how nature trails can help you live a natural life.

Nature Trails versus Paths

When you build a garden, you likely have paths between the beds that let you maintain and harvest all the yummy fruits, berries and vegetables. Because of this you likely try to minimize the size of these paths in order to maximize growing space.

That makes sense when the paths sole purpose is for maintenance and harvesting.

But part of wild homesteading is living a natural life that is integrated with nature. This means that the outdoors is also a place to explore, and simply live.

This means that paths often become nature trails.

Nature trails are not just for maintenance and harvesting but for adults and kids to run and play on and be part of their natural world. These trails will lead to hidden little nooks and sanctuaries and places to sit and observe all the life that exists on a wild homestead.

Nature trails are places to exist with nature—they are part of living a natural life.

A Different Take on a Garden

When I built my kitchen garden, I made it with no paths. Instead it has one big gathering area that will one day become an outdoor kitchen and living space.

There will be a sink with running water, a rocket oven, a grill, some sort of stovetop and places to store and clean dishes. It will also have enough room for preparing our meals.

Wrapping around the cooking area will be a small pond with cascading waterfalls and various herbs and other edible plants. Some of the plants will grow tall enough to provide some shade in the summer. A picnic table will be just off to the side with enough space for additional chairs and a foldout table for larger gatherings.

All of this in the middle of the kitchen garden.

This makes the kitchen garden a place for my family and our visitors to hangout and enjoy. It means that we will spend a large amount of our time outside in a semi-natural area surrounded by wildlife. Already we watch hummingbirds, other birds, and various insects visiting the garden—all while we sit on our picnic table eating dinner.

Later I will be building larger gardens that will be more focused on large harvests. But I’m already planning to have 1-2 winding nature trails that run through these gardens. Off these nature trails will be smaller paths that will be mostly for maintenance and harvests.

This way even these more production focused gardens can be a place for people to explore.

Living a Natural Life

The outdoors can to be a place where you don’t just visit but truly live. It can be a place where you make your morning cup of tea, prepare and eat your meals, do your paperwork, all while being surrounding by a natural abundance.

As someone who writes most days for my business (blog posts and soon books) I find I’m far more productive and inspired when I’m sitting out in nature.

Nature trails are just one way of making the outdoors a place to truly live.

While living a natural life is part of wild homesteading you can’t do that without bringing back the wild to your homestead. Nature trails also help with this by limiting soil compaction and by focusing human activities in chosen areas that then leave other areas open for wildlife to find sanctuary from us.

The blog post covers both of these benefits of nature trails in much more detail and also discusses a bit more about how they help us live a natural life.

Plus you can sign up on the post to get a list of tips to help you build your own nature trails.

Do you have nature trails on your homestead? Leave a comment below with your answer. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you!


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Follow me for more posts all about wild homesteading, working with nature, and growing your own food: @wildhomesteading

And check out my blog - www.wildhomesteading.com for weekly in-depth posts on how to work with nature, grow your own food, and build a wild homestead. When you work with nature, nature works with you.

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I wish my garden was big enough to have nature trails to disappear into. :D I’ve featured your post in the Homesteaders – Living Naturally newsletter


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Thank you so much! :) Even a small area can have some nice nature trails. I have a core area I'm working on that is 0.3 acres. Basically the size of a big urban lot. But my front food forest is only about 3,600 square feet (0.08 acres). Even in that relatively small area I have nature trails that were built to hide behind trees and shrubs to give the illusion of disappearing into a larger forest. Eventually I will have food forests covering 1-2 acres with winding nature trails but even in small areas you can have some lovely trails :)

I'll certainly be working on it. Looking forward to my trees getting big enough to offer more shade.

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I so enjoy the feeling of INVITATION the pathways extend - to wander, amble, engage and explore. It also protects sensitive perennials who may be just poking through and not obvious to the untrained eye.


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Me too :) Trails can bring a lot to a site! Thanks for the comment!

Aw, what a great shot of your little one grinning on your path. My Dad always said a garden should be full of paths to lead and suprise you. Your garden truly has that feel to it - a garden of wonder and suprise. Love it.

Thank you! :) My son loves to run and explore and every year I'm adding new areas. When my nephew (who is much older but still a kid) came over he just took off running around the trails and when my nieces came over they did the same thing. That is a big reason why I really like having nature trails. Just make it fun and easy for kids (and adults!) to explore and have fun :)

I love this!!! Thank you for sharing!

Thank you! :) Great to hear that you enjoyed the post!

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