Frugal Gardening Idea: Create Wood Chip Garden Paths

Frugal Gardening Idea: Create Wood Chip Garden Paths
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A solution for keeping weeds down between raised beds

Six years ago I watched as a fellow allotment gardener laid down chipped wood paths between their raised beds. I thought at the time that they looked nice but that there’s a chance the wood could make our already acidic soil more acidic. Years passed and not only did the paths keep the plot tidy, but it didn’t seem like the productivity of the raised beds were affected at all.

Weeds and grass can get out of hand and in my endeavor to becoming a ‘Lazy Gardener‘ I decided that it was time I did something about my paths. I don’t want to spend another minute weeding, strimming, or mowing them. I also didn’t want to spend a lot of time creating them so wood chip walk-ways turned out to be the best (and prettiest) way to do it.

Frugal Gardening Idea: Create Wood Chip Garden Paths

My paths BEFORE

Where to get Wood Chips

The best place to get wood chips is from a local tree surgeon — I found this out from a friend who works in garden maintenance. So I rang up his contact, Dave Rielly, and asked if he had wood chips available (yes) and how much it cost (nothing).


He literally delivered an entire truck load to the allotment for FREE. Not only that but he’s bringing in another load for the whole associations’s use tomorrow. I’m so grateful that Dave was able to both donate and deliver it for us.

Frugal Gardening Idea: Create Wood Chip Garden Paths

My paths AFTER

Weeds and Walkways

Even with a lot of tromping between my beds there are still plenty of hardy weeds and grass that grow in my paths. It gets even worse when I’m away on holiday and there’s no one around to keep them looking tidy. No matter what I put down on the ground those weed seeds and roots will still be there so the first step to put down a weed-resistant material. Without it, weeds will grow right through the wood.

I bought this 50m roll available in Britain but you can also buy it here in the USA. Both are better deals than what you’ll pay for it in the garden centre.

Frugal Gardening Idea: Create Wood Chip Garden Paths

Now comes the Wood Chips

After removing the larger weeds and grass I laid out the fabric and weighed it down with stones. Then it was just a matter of moving the woodchips in by the wheelbarrow load and spreading them over the fabric. I laid it down in a 1″ thick layer and made sure to remove the stones as I went along.
Frugal Gardening Idea: Create Wood Chip Garden Paths

Easy, Effective, & Attractive

After weeding the pathways, it took me about three hours to cover them with fabric and woodchips. They look great, feel good to walk on, and I know that they’ll last. Even with no additional wood chips brought in for six years my neighbour’s wood paths are relatively weed free — check out the photo below.

Over time the wood will gradually break down, making it easier for weeds to take root. When it does you should consider rejuvenating it. You can do this by scraping off the wood-humus and laying new wood chips down.

Frugal Gardening Idea: Create Wood Chip Garden Paths

Frugal Gardening Idea: Create easy wood chip garden paths


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2 Discussion to this post

  1. Wendy from NY says:

    Neat! I am having my husband build me some raised beds (I have terrible arthritis in one knee, so no kneeling or much bending) and was trying to think how to mulch in between. This is perfect! I looked into landscape fabric on a gardening website and it was PRICEY! Didn’t think to check Amazon. Thanks for the timely suggestion!

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