How to Put in a Hardwood Mulch Path


A good garden design includes pathways that help tie things together as well as keeping your feet dry and providing safe access to all parts of your garden. Hardwood mulch is an inexpensive choice for pathway construction. It's made of chips of hardwood, which can be purchased from landscaping companies or as a byproduct from pallet mills and other woodworking or wood-shaping companies. Because of the asymmetrical shape of hardwood mulch, the pieces lock onto one another and prevent slipping and scattering.

Step 1

Remove layers of grass and dirt from your pathway using a sod cutter.

Step 2

Smooth out the pathway and remove any extra clods of dirt with a shovel or spade. Tamp down the soil with a tamping tool. Ensure that the path is level by placing a plywood board over it and putting a carpenter's level over the board. If the path isn't level, remove more soil until the tool indicates it is.

Step 3

Install metal edging around the perimeter of the pathway by placing it flush with the soil where it was cut by the sod cutter. Hammer the metal stakes from the edging in place with a rubber mallet.

Step 4

Place landscaping fabric over the soil to prevent weeds from becoming established. Pin the fabric to the soil with landscaping fabric pins.

Step 5

Spread hardwood mulch over the pathway in a 4-inch layer. This is thick enough to prevent weeds from becoming established.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood mulch
  • Sod cutter
  • Shovel
  • Tamping tool
  • Garden spade
  • Carpenter's level
  • Plywood board
  • Metal edging
  • Rubber mallet
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Landscaping fabric pins


  • Washington State University: Mulching Guide
  • N.C. State University Extension: Plan of Work
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Mulching for a Healthy Landscape

Who Can Help

  • This Old House: Here's How to Build a Perfect Path
Keywords: installing hardwood mulch, creating mulch pathways, using wood chips, hardwood mulch path

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."