Loose-Fill Path

Loose organic materials such as bark nuggets, chipped wood, cypress mulch, and crushed seashells are among the least expensive options for paths.


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Protected from plant infiltration by a weed barrier and edged to keep the material from washing away, this walkway can last for many years. Buying loose organic materials by the bag is far more expensive than purchasing in bulk. Typically sold by the square yard (27 cubic feet), a local landscaping firm, garden center, and even some municipalities, will deliver the desired quantity to your site. Lay out your walk way in advance, using a garden hose to mark smoothly curving edges. Loose-fill materials adjust readily to contours and configurations. A shovel, rake, and wheelbarrow are the main tools you'll need.

What You Need:

  • Loose-fill organic material
  • Weed barrier: PVC sheeting or weed-block fabric
  • Edging material

1. Excavate the base. Dig the area to a depth of 4 inches below grade using a flat spade. Rake the area smooth and spread fabric weed barrier.

2. Add edging and fill. Edge the path to keep the material from being kicked out. Stones set on grade provide a pleasing contrast to the loose material. Plastic edging is even easier and less expensive. Distribute the path material liberally as it will quickly settle.

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