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How to Build a Bark Mulch Path

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017
Bark is an inexpensive path option.
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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 6-inch deep trench along either side of the cleared path area. Make the trench 1 ½ to 2 inches wide.

Insert rubber or vinyl edging strips into the trench. Use 8-inch wide edging so 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 2 inches lower than the surrounding ground, and 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 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.


Things You Will Need

  • Spade
  • Edging
  • Cardboard
  • Mulch


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

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.