How to build a bark mulch path

Written by jenny harrington | 13/05/2017
How to build a bark mulch path
Bark is an inexpensive path option. (Award/iStock/Getty Images)

Bark mulch provides a suitable medium for building a quick path. The natural look of the mulch integrates seamlessly into a garden bed. Bark paths work best in areas away from entryways so the mulch isn't tracked indoors. Large bark pieces are heavier and less prone to blowing away. They also break down more slowly so require less frequent replacing. Preparing the path properly for installation further prevents the bark from straying out of bounds and prevents weeds from encroaching on the pathway.

Dig up all turf and plant materials from the path area. Remove rocks and debris.

Dig a 15 cm (6 inches) deep trench along either side of the cleared path area. Make the trench 6 to 10 cm (1 1/2 to 2 inches) wide.

Insert rubber or vinyl edging strips into the trench. Use 20 cm (8 inches) wide edging so 10 cm (2 inches) of the edging protrudes above ground level. Fill in the trenches with soil, anchoring the edging in place.

Remove excess soil from the path area so the level of the path sets approximately 10 cm (2 inches) lower than the surrounding ground, and 20 (4 inches) lower than the top of the edging.

Lay sheets of cardboard over the path, completely covering the soil. Overlap the edges of the cardboard by 10 to 12 cm (2 to 3 inches). The cardboard prevents weeds from growing in the mulch.

Fill the space between the edging with bark mulch. Add mulch until the top of the mulch is just beneath the top of the edging strips.


The mulch requires replenishment every year because it settles and breaks down over time.

Tips and warnings

  • The mulch requires replenishment every year because it settles and breaks down over time.

Things you need

  • Spade
  • Edging
  • Cardboard
  • Mulch

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