How to Install a Hardwood Mulch Path


Hardwood mulch is a good choice for path material because it reduces mud, allows for water drainage, prevents weeds and breaks down over time. The mulch will need to be replenished yearly to maintain a 3-inch depth and to keep the path looking fresh.

Step 1

Measure the length and width of the path--3 feet wide is common--and mark the outline with non-toxic spray paint. Calculate the amount of mulch you will need using a mulch calculator (see Resources).

Step 2

Purchase mulch in bags if your path is small. Larger paths will require you to pick up the mulch (if you have access to a truck) or have the mulch delivered.

Step 3

Skim the grass, along with its roots, from the path area with a spade, then load the grass into a wheelbarrow. You can start a compost pile or add to an existing one with the removed grass, soil and weeds.

Step 4

Edge the path with the spade, creating a slight angle. This will keep the mulch in the path. Plastic or metal edging is optional, but it helps prevent grass and weeds from encroaching.

Step 5

Lay weed barrier on the soil to the edges of the path. Choose a perforated, biodegradable commercial barrier to allow drainage.

Step 6

Open the bags and dump the mulch into the path. If you have a pile of mulch, shovel it into a wheelbarrow, then dump it.

Step 7

Rake the mulch, spreading it to a 3-inch-thick layer. Repeat Step 6 until you have filled the path.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Non-toxic spray paint
  • Spade
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Weed barrier
  • Shovel
  • Hardwood mulch
  • Metal rake


  • Kemper Center

Who Can Help

  • Mulch Calculator
Keywords: hardwood mulch path, path material, weed barrier

About this Author

Kitten Arbuckle is a freelance writer living in Indiana. Arbuckle has been writing for websites such as Garden Guides since early 2009. Her education includes training in landscaping, certification in herbal medicine from a botanical sanctuary and a variety of college courses.