Thursday, 18 October 2018 18:41:48 Europe/London

5 ways to use bark chippings in the garden

One of our most popular products besides lawn turf is ornamental chipped bark. It’s a recycled waste product from the timber industry. There are no added chemicals or complicated instructions it’s just a good honest product.

Here are some of the ways you could use bark in your garden

For paths and seating areas

I won’t lie. Bark does rot down over time, but it takes a long while. Until it does, it makes a lovely surface for walking on. It won’t get muddy or slippery and it looks rather attractive. Plus, it’s a lot less expensive than paving or stone setts AND you don’t need to be an expert to lay it.

garden path made from wood chippings

No reason why woodchips can't be used alongside other materials. I just love this idea. Having an edging to a bark path keeps the woodchips where you want them to be.

Simply cover the area with a weed suppressant membrane – that will save you a lot of work over time. Then put a nice thick layer of bark over the top of it.

I have used bark around my raised vegetable beds. I have a habit of redesigning my garden whenever I get bored. Hard surfaces would make it impossible for me to dig up and recreate an area.

Maintenance for bark chip is minimal. You might want to rake it over from time to time just to freshen it up. Other than that, just enjoy that natural woodland look.

As a garden mulch

Mulching is an age old gardeners’ trick that saves a lot of time and backache. There are two main benefits to mulching aside from looking attractive.

Firstly, a thick layer of bark mulch helps retain moisture in the soil. In a dry summer it’s invaluable, especially if there are hosepipe bans in place.

Secondly, only very determined weeds will grow through a properly applied mulch.

neatly mulched flower border

Beside the prospect of no weeding for a very long while, I love the way that this mulch really makes the foliage and flower colours "pop".

Over time, woodchips and bark compost down into the soil. This adds soil nutrients and improves the structure. Don’t worry though, we’re talking years rather than weeks or months

At Stewarts Turf we offer 3 types of mulch.

Eco-Earth is the cheapest. It’s not bark, it’s recycled green waste but is rather good for mulching around bedding plants and vegetables. It will need topping up every year but while it’s there, it looks fabulous.

Decorative Fines Bark is a superior product with a fine appearance and rich dark colour.

Ornamental bark is lower in price and personally, I’d say it offers the best value for money. It normally needs topping up every 3-4 years (sometimes longer) and in my experience, it works hard the whole time.

Flooring for your childrens’ outdoor play areas

A scuffed muddy surface underneath play equipment is just so ugly. It makes the whole area look unloved and uninviting. Worse than that, mud gets smeared all over clothes and brought into the house.

Bark makes a cheap and effective surface for play areas. Put down a nice thick layer and it will cushion all of those falls. I can’t promise no bumps or grazes but hey – what is childhood for? For tinies, bark is great to play in with a bucket and spade or toy tractors. And when everyone has grown out of the swing set, sweep up the bark and use it to mulch your borders. You can’t do that with rubber matting!

woodchip bark in childrens play area

Pet play surfaces

Most pets need lots of space for exercise. Even rabbits and guinea pigs need a daily run around to keep them happy and healthy. Just like childrens’ play areas, pet play spaces can very quickly turn to mush.

I’ve found that for my chicken pen a nice layer of bark is the perfect surface for them to mess about on. They love scratching about looking for woodlice and other delicious snacks. The bark is not expensive, it’s not toxic and it’s everso easy just to rake it over to freshen it up. Bunnies and guinea pigs can dig in it, dogs can entertain themselves without ruining the lawn.

Container gardening

What’s the biggest challenge for container gardeners? Yup. Watering. If you are growing plants in pots, you can save yourself a bit of work in summer by mulching the top of the containers with bark. It looks neat, keeps weeds at bay and conserves water. If you are good at making things, you could assemble a leaky pipe watering system and then hide it with bark mulch. Claber have invented a watering system with a timer so you can still do the watering while you’re not at home. Fabulous! 


Find out more about the bark products available from Stewarts Turf Online

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Posted in topsoil and mulch
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