March 18

Making the backyard woodchip path

I started to create the backyard woodchip path I had been planning for awhile. I had an idea how I would go about making it and it was time to start in and actually do it, adjusting as I went.

I didn't want the path to be a dark brown or black in color and wanted the most inexpensive woodchips I could get, so I settled on red instead of a more expensive natural colored chip. It was only going to be to walk on so the decorative effect of the red was fine with me.

I spent quite a bit of time digging down to lower the level of the ground, to have a "holding place" for the woodchips to sit in. I planned to surround them by a border so they wouldn't get all over the place if it was windy or my dogs ran around on them and kicked them up into the grass or planting beds.

I started off by placing newspaper down because in my experience its the coverage of newspaper, or cardboard, or fabric (which I would never use) that really stops the weeds from coming through. The woodchips are almost like a decorative effect and backup plan.

I remember how much I hate using newspaper in my garden. If there is the slightest bit of wind while you are working with newspaper, it blows around. either an end blows up in the air or whole pieces are easily blown all the way across the garden. The only way to prevent that is to use the newspaper soaking wet. Either by soaking it deeply in a bucket beforehand or dousing it with a hose while you work with it. Then I put the border of bricks in the approximate place they were going to go. as level as I can. I tried to fit the edges of the newspaper under the bricks to help hold it into place.

Finally it was time to get the wood chips on top of it. Those bags are large and heavy and after a while I found the easiest thing to do is to empty the bag into my cart first and then either use a shovel to toss the chips on top of the paper, or what I eventually did, was to just dump the cart right into the area where the chips would be and spread them out with a rake or by hand.

The black edging in the photo will be filled with soil and have grass seed planted in it. That didn't bother me. But something about this was and still is bothering me. I'm not sure what it is. It may just be the emptiness on either side of this path in progress.

I did come up with a nice little planting bed against the concrete stairs on the left hand side that will be good for something. Not sure what just yet.

The darker red chips toward the top of the photo above shows how they look as soon as they come out of the bag. Once they dry out some, the color is more muted as you can see in the chips towards the bottom of the photo.

I've come to the conclusion that I really don't like wood chips or using paper in my garden. Everything is just a little too unwieldy for my taste. I'll live with it for a few days and see if I change my mind.


pathways, woodchips

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