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How to Put Wood Chips in a Garden

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017
Put wood chips in a garden to add a decorative mulch
petrified wood chips image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com

As you finish landscaping a garden area, a layer of mulch is often one of the last steps to finishing the task. Wood chips, a suitable and effective mulch, gradually decompose over time, enriching the soil with nitrogen. If you seek to block weeds beneath the wood chips, lay down a sheet of weed blocking fabric or black plastic before applying the wood chips.

Rake the soil smooth where you will be applying the wood chips. Try to make the soil level and even.

Place the weed block fabric or the black plastic over the soil area. Unroll the fabric or the plastic over the soil and use the scissors to cut the fabric or plastic to size. Cut holes in the plastic or fabric to surround plants, if necessary.

Apply the wood chips in an even layer 2 to 4 inches thick. Use the rake to spread the wood chips evenly and smoothly over the entire soil area.

Replenish the wood chips annually if they decompose. Wood chips also float away easily in excess running water. Keep the wood chip depth at a 2- to 4-inch thickness. Laying wood chips over a plastic layer will slow the decomposition of the wood chips.


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Weed block fabric
  • Black plastic
  • Scissors
  • Wood chips


  • If you seek to improve the soil quality and are not worried about weeds growing through the wood chips, do not place weed block fabric or black plastic beneath the wood chips. While the fabric or plastic will be effective at preventing weeds, it will also prevent the wood chips from decomposing and adding nitrogen to the soil.


  • Never use wood chips for landscaping that are chemically or pressure treated because these chemicals can leach into your garden soil.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.