materials for pathways in the garden

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by annette, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    I was just wondering what people use for the pathways through the garden. Up till now I have been using cardboard between some small gardens but it gets messy. animals seem to chew it up and rain disintegrates it etc.

    now that Santa baby :rofl: bought me a mulcher/chipper (yes len I got a greenfield piecemaker 11.5hp and it is a ripper) I will be sheet mulching a large area for a garden and am in the planning stage. I want to have pathways throughout the veges and fruit trees.

    I was thinking of sticking with the cardboard but wondered if pebbles or some sort of groundcover would be better. I have snakes around here so I do need some sort of clear path to get around. i only have weeds up there at the moment and once the garden gets started I don't want them spreading.

    What do others have in their gardens?
     
  2. permup

    permup Junior Member

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    Sawdust or wood chips work well and can be used in the compost when they break down, and you can renew the paths with new material. I use a crushed granite type material with 15% cement which stops weeds quite well. Other ideas include bricks or pavers which you can pick up free a lot of the time. Pebbles are a problem because they are hard to keep clean of the dirt and mulch and then attract lots of weeds. Cardboard is also cool if you can get hold of it and are prepared to keep re-laying it regularly.
     
  3. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    I get lots of shredded paper from the local council
    It gives me a white path that looks great,it matts down well and holds lots of moisture doesn't break down too fast I also put cardboard or twigs palm fronds underneath it and contrasts well with brown, black and grey snakes.
    20 more bags coming this week.
     
  4. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Deep woodchip here. Besides the occasional sharp bit in the early stages, it compacts down, drains and inhibits weeds nicely.

    Cardboard and mulch would be a better combo, cardboard first, weighted down with mulch. Dig it up once a year and re-lay.
     
  5. garnede

    garnede Junior Member

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    I go for cardboard topped with wood mulch. In the first month while it was settling there was some rough texture, but now it is nice and smooth. With the wood chips, free from the city dump, I get to watch all the various mushrooms pop up throughout the year and build the soil at the same time. Trees do a great job of concentrating trace minerals, why not return them to your land and have great functional pathways at the same time.
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    At Purple Pear we use hardwood sawdust in the paths of the mandalas and straight beds at the sides have paths were the grass remains and the area is controlled by Guinea Pigs in cages the width of the path and moved a few times each day.
    The sawdust helps deter snail trails and is a great surface to walk on. The hardwood sawdust is quite acidic and this seems to deter the growth of weeds to some extent.
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Im using shredded tree mulch picked up from the side of the road but have problems with getting enough when I need it.
    I used to use lawn clippings but these go slippery in the rain.
    After cutting back on some of the permanent paths so I had enough mulch to cover the more important bits,Im back to contemplating this.
     
  8. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    100% uncomposted wood chips, however, in some areas that are too waterlogged we switched to logs.
     
  9. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    Our main garden is on a slope and once a year we empty the goat shed at the top of the slope.

    [​IMG]

    Our paths are kept clear by a combination of this compost "river" which descends down the slope naturally moved by the chickens who scratch in it looking for insects. When there's too much compost on the paths I use it for potting and put it over the plants in the raised beds.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've more piles of compost further down the garden where the pigs and chicken sheds are. The soft fruit and trees are lower down from these sheds and they are now starting to have the same sort of compost paths around them.

    [​IMG]

    Eventually, I hope to have enough trees and bushes around the plot so that everything is "self-mulching" and the paths stay clear by just using them - as they do in the forest.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Thanks everyone, I have got unlimited cardboard and now I can make my own mulch so may give that a try. Cardboard and mulch. Hippy, your place and mischief's is like a dream of mine. One day.........
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    haha,I was just drooling over HWH's place again last night thinking exactly the same thing.
     
  12. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    Thanks folks.

    The compost path just happened - I didn't plan it that way at first.

    The garden was designed on a slope to have harvested water at the top of the hill and make it easier for me to push full wheelbarrows of manure and mulch material. There was initially a fence around the fresh manure at the top but when I realised that the chickens were throwing it around and it was starting to flow downwards, I took the fence down and just let it go.

    I'm lucky to have a lot of goats' bedding and busy chickens. That's where all the goodness for the garden comes from. I don't have a lot to do with it really. ;-)
     
  13. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    I actually let my paths grow weeds, because it's impossible to stop them out here, and I mow them for green manure in my layered beds. I also put broken up egg shells in the path. At least my walking on them breaks them up and gets them into the soil, but I don't expect them to break down in my lifetimes :)

    PP, guinea pigs, that is unbearably cute!

    HWH, beautiful and a great idea, as always!
     
  14. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Thanks Sweetpea they do a great job I include a recent blog link on a story on the little pig tractors
     
  15. permup

    permup Junior Member

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    Nice garden Hippy.
     
  16. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    After I found a rattlesnake in the garden I got a bit spooked so I cleared and widened the paths around the house and the workshop and laid down pea gravel. Later it showed to be a good choice for highlighting snakes, when we saw a large non-venomous snake traveling across the gravel. But I can't recommend pea gravel in yards where one may pick up mud on the shoes, though it is fine for a completely mulched garden (other paths mulched with wood chips, for instance) if one has unmulched areas of mud, the mud on the shoes picks up gravel and tracks it onto the porch and sometimes into the house. Otherwise the pea gravel is nice and because a light color, makes walking at night easier because it reflects moonlight and starlight.

    Other than this "snake visibility zone" I hope eventually to mulch everything with wood chips now that we have a huge pile of them from the power cooperative having the easement cleared. Sad loss of trees under the lines but at least we get tons of firewood and chips from the trauma. =(
     
  17. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    I'm building my veggie garden at the moment. I used strips of weed matting covered with pine bark wood chip. It it supposed to suppress weeds but I do have a few blades of grass comming through but these would have been in the soil before I laid the paths so i'm hoping once removed they will not come back. As you can see the garden is still in progress.
     

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  18. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    No offence SpiderMonkey, but...

    From years of experience working on other peoples gardens where they have used 'weed mat' I would strongly recommend NOT using it. When it is used in garden beds the soil beneath it becomes 'sour' and hard packed - eventually creating a water barrier in some cases. Sure, it stops 'weeds' from growing up through it, but roots eventually penetrate down into it. This make a horrible mess when trying to pull the roots out of it especially if the weeds are allowed to grow a little more than we intended (it doesn't take long for weeds to take control if we miss them or go on holiday, for example). The deep rooted plants we do want to get down into the soil have difficulty, and you can get very shallow rooted plants as a result.

    The stuff looks neat and tidy for about a year and then it just goes down hill. Personally, I think it is horrible stuff and should be banned. Newspaper is a much better option, cheap, environmentally sound and much more easily reversible. It smothers the initial weeds just as well as weed mat and doesn't have the side effects.

    In paths, you are better off just adding more bark (sawdust or what ever) on top. In garden beds you are better to out compete your unwanted 'weeds' with plants you do want. If there is no space for weeds, they have a difficult time.

    I'm just sayin'
     
  19. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

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    Thanks Grahame,

    I didn't know that and it was my first go at paths. I read that wood chips were a good way to go and much better than gravel but I thought that the matting would just help with the weed suppression. Now it's down am I better to take it up or leave it?
     
  20. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Taking it out sucks.. I did it here.. it really really sucks. Did I mention I had a bad time doing it? ;)
     

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