Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bark chips, or river stone and pebble for a natural pathway?

The entrance to my backyard is a shady area that is now currently overrun by wild violet and other weeds. I plan to lay down some weedblock over the whole area and use a combination of concrete pavers and some other kind of mulch to cover the area and continue it as a pathway through my backyard to the garden shed. Bark chips rot and may promote mold and bugs (so i hear) and you'll need to freshen it up every year, but stone is heavy and harder to deal with, and not as nice for my 3 year old nephew to land on if he decides to be rambunctious. I am undecided with what to use. Advice?

Bark chips, or river stone and pebble for a natural pathway?
I'd go with wood chips, my neighbour had a truck load of stone and when he removed the garden he worked forever trying to get rid of stones and even ruined his lawnmower blade.
Reply:Generic bark chips may not be very long-lasting and may encourage bugs, mold, etc, but cedar mulch (chipped cedar wood and bark ) is a good material for your current needs. It is reasonably priced and lasts for years without rotting. It also resists termites, ants, etc. The concrete pavers will be rough on your nephew's knees and elbows, so the decision of material between the pavers needn't be based on his comfort. River stones are smooth but expensive to buy and hard to distribute and slippery when wet. May I suggest you start with cedar or cypress mulch and when your nephew is a little older and more coordinated, you can see if you want to start integrating some smooth stones into your path? It may help identify problem areas so you can better judge where to put more stable walking surfaces where there is a tendency for water to pool and make mud, or in sunny spots where the pavers might get too hot.
Reply:For looks and low mainance pebbles are the way to go.

There is a third option that alot of playgrounds are starting to use now. Im forgetting the name and will edit this once i find it. Basical its rubber granules that you spread out just as you would the rock mulch but its softer to land on. It can be made to come in a variety of colors and is used in more the just playgrounds.
Reply:I would use small pebbles or stones. Bark can mold and it begins to deteriorate after a few storms. Depending on how windy your area is, bark chips also have the tendency to blow around. Rocks may be more dangerous to your nephew, but they are less mantainance and stay in place. You can explain to him that he should be careful around the rock. If he fell on the bark chips, he would run the risk of splinters. Either way, the path may be a little dangerous. I would definately recommend small pebbles or rocks though.
Reply:do river stone.bark chips to messy pebble to tacky

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