There are many ways in which you can build a road, some are easy, but often look plain, while others take a bit of extra work, but they add to the overall atmosphere of your city, town or village.
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Which road you build, and thus which materials you use, depends largely on the type of town you're building. A desert town won't usually have a cobblestone road and a large, underground dwarven city will likely not have a road made out of sand. But the position and type of your town isn't the only factor that determines what your road could/should look like. It also depends on the state of the road and on the building blocks used on the surrounding buildings.
Roads are an important part of any town or city and they're often one of the first things that are built. They create a layout for a future city, but they always work as a navigational path to buildings, gardens and anything else you've built.
Type of town
As mentioned, the road of your town depends a lot on what type of town you're building. A wood elf forest city will look better if the roads are made out of cobblestone or gravel, instead of sand or planks. Just like a modern city will look better with roads made out of stone bricks or stone.
However, the type of town you're building will also determine what shapes and sizes your roads will be. A forest city will look better if the paths aren't perfectly straight and big, while a modern city usually has distinct districts and straight lines, to make both building and navigation easier.
Take a minute to think about what you're planning to build, where you're planning to build important elements and what the overall feel of your town should be. Your roads should reflect your city, as anything else will just look out of place and weird.
Type of road
The type of road is also an important factor, a street in the suburbs should look different from a main street in a big city. This doesn't mean you should always use different building blocks, but by changing the details on your roads, like the lampposts or the sidewalks, your road will get a different feel and will fit in better with that specific part of town.
The materials you've used on the buildings next to the road, especially the bottom most blocks, will affect how your road is perceived. If you've made large sky scrapers with a stone brick base, building the roads out of stone bricks as well will look horrible. It's important to create some contrast between the buildings and the roads, which is best done by simply building the bases of the buildings and the roads out of different blocks.
The condition of your road can add a little extra to the overall look of your town. If you've created a forest city, perfect roads will look a bit odd.
By using stair blocks and slabs, as well as normal blocks, a road can look broken or part of nature, depending on the surroundings.This works great in forests or abandoned cities.
By mixing materials, roads can look dirty or weathered down. This works best when you build your roads out of stone bricks or cobblestone, as they have a mossy version and a slab version. Stone brick also has a cracked version, which just adds to the dirty look.
It's also possible to make a great looking dirt road by mixing dirt and gravel, either with or without other stone blocks.
Mixing materials and adding details
Roads made out of just 1 block can look very plain and boring, which is sometimes better, but it's usually better to add details.
Mixing building materials can make a road look a lot better. For example, mixing dirt and gravel makes for a much better dirt path than either dirt or gravel on its own. Sandstone and sand also make a much better desert path than just plain sandstone.
Mixing the materials you use will also add some realism to your roads. A road in the desert will rarely be clean and completely without sand on it, so mix a few sand blocks in your desert road. Mossy stone versions also make for great details on parts of the road that get wet a lot, like the sides of a road next to a sidewalk, especially next to a drain or other water way.
However, it's not always desired to mix materials in this way. The roads in (some) modern cities are generally quite clean, so other details will have to be added. Stripes in the middle of the road will work perfectly to break up to monotonous feel of a large strip of stone. You could use simple white wool, or go for glass blocks or glowstone to add a distinct feel to the road. Lamp posts will make almost any road look better, especially at night.
The height of your roads compared to the buildings can also make a lot of difference. By simply making the road 1 block deeper and adding stairs at the sides, a road could look way better. It will often also make the buildings look more appealing due to the lower angle.
You could also create higher walking paths, perhaps to separate the poorer, lower parts of the city from a richer, higher part of the city. Bridges, tunnels and other paths will also make great decoration elements in your city, especially if the views are great.
Amazing looking roads are great, but they're useless if they don't lead anywhere or if it's easy to get lost in the large road network. Make sure you either add signs or create a road network that is easy enough to follow to important parts of your town, like the markers or PvP arenas.
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You could also build a few towers next to your roads, so people can climb up to see where they are, though this isn't an ideal solution.