How to Lay Bark Chippings

Bark chippings can completely transform your outer space, particularly your garden and outdoor play areas. They do not only give your garden a natural woodland look but also help recreate an area for a more inviting and neater appearance. There is more to bark chippings than using them as a garden mulch.

Chipped tree barks could be a lovely material to use to decorate the surface of your paths and seating areas and also an inexpensive but safe-to-use flooring material for outdoor play areas for children and pets where mess is allowed. And guess what, you don’t have to be a pro before you can lay it, and maintenance is minimal.

If you’re considering laying your bark chippings all by yourself for the first time and you don’t know how to go about it, look no further than this post. In this article, we are going to you in a step-wise manner how to lay bark chippings. We would also include a FAQ section to answer some of the burning questions about bark and mulching.

What are Bark Chippings?

Bark chippings are a natural mulching material that is used for covering an area of land or soil. This material is more popular as a garden mulch that can help retain soil moisture, condition the soil, suppress weed growth while creating a neat appearance in landscaping when applied across the soil’s surface. Bark chips are recycled bye products of the timber industry. They contain no chemicals and are safe to use on any soil surface.

Reasons why people use bark chippings in their garden

There are many ways you could use bark chips in your garden. Some of which are:

Organic mulching material for your garden

As mentioned earlier, bark chippings are an excellent material for mulching your garden soil. When woodchips are used as garden mulch, they help retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, keep down weed growth, promote soil fertility, and improve soil structure. However, you have to know how to lay them properly for the best mulching results possible.  

Covering material for paths and seating areas

Bark chippings make a lovely cover for surfaces such as pathways. Besides giving your pathways a lovely surface appearance, shredded barks would make your path areas safe and perfect for walking on. They show remarkable resistance to wind blow and compaction and, therefore, help solve the problems of muddy or slippery surface pathways.

Bedding material for pet play surfaces

Most Pets need a spacious playground that’s safe and conducive to keep them happy and healthy. However, they tend to quickly mess up any surface provided for them as a playground. Today, people have started covering pet play surfaces with materials that allow mess and easy to maintain. This is where bark chippings come into the picture. They are inexpensive and non-toxic materials that you can use to create the perfect surface for pets where mess is allowed. You can use a rake to freshen them up when your pets turn them to mush. Bark mulch also makes a perfect flooring material for your children’s outdoor play areas.

What tools are needed to lay bark chippings?

Before getting started with laying your bark chips, it’s essential to know what tools to use. Having the right tools at hand would make it easier and more fun to get the job done more efficiently and effectively. You’ll need the following tools to ensure a smooth process while laying your woodchips:

  • Wheelbarrow or garden trolley – to transport your bark chippings to different areas of your garden where they are needed.
  • Shovel, garden spade, or pitchfork – to pack your bark mulch into a wheelbarrow.
  • Rake (preferable a bow rake) for spreading the barks evenly.
  • Garden Gloves – to protect your hands while applying the barks, especially to hard-to-reach places.
  • Measuring tape – to measure up the length and width of your area
  • Rope (or a piece of string) – to mark out the area
  • Edging tool – to shape your mulch border

Steps involved in laying bark chippings

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This is where the actual work lies. Laying bark chippings can’t be an arduous task for you – it’s pretty simple to do and doesn’t take much time. Once you’ve gotten your bark chipping ready and all the tools stated above are within your reach, then you’re ready to start laying your woodchips to anywhere you want. Here are the significant steps to follow for a smooth job:

STEP – 1: Take a measure of the area 

After deciding which area in your garden you’d like to cover with bark mulch, the first thing to do is measure up the area. This would let you determine what amount of bark chippings you’ll need to buy to get the project done at once. You can use this formula to calculate how much play what quantity of bark mulch needed:

Total square footage of your area (in cubic meters) = Total length of the area x Total width of the area x depth you require the bark to be

It’s recommended to measure your area’s dimensions you envisioned to cover with bark chipping in meters and add 1.5m to these dimensions for more accurate measurement. A minimum of 0.2m is recommended for depth.

STEP – 2: Mark out the area to be covered with bark chippings

Use a piece of string or rope to mark out the area you’d like to cover with woodchips. Marking out an area allows you to create borders between where you want your bark mulch to reach and other areas of your garden.

STEP – 3: Prepare your ground 

If you’re laying bark chipping for the first time, it’s best to prepare your ground first before covering it with this material. If the surface you want to cover with bark mulch is stiff, you may need a shovel to remove the surface by digging it to a depth of 35-50mm. You might also want to rake your ground to remove anything that may cause an obstruction when laying your barks.

STEP – 4: Add a dry layer

Add an even layer of dry materials such as sharp sand, gravel, stone, or sandy subsoil to your prepared surface before covering it with play barks. This is important to ensure better drainage underneath the woodchips. We usually recommend 2-3cm of dry material for use in an area with a dry surface, but you might need a thicker layer for mossy or slushy grounds. The benefit of adding a dry layer to your surface extends beyond drainage; it would also help keep your woodchips in good condition and make maintenance easier to do.

STEP – 5: Choose an edging border

Once you’ve been able to mark out your area and successfully added a dry layer, the next thing is to use an edging type of your choice to add a neater appearance and appealing finish to your border. There’s a comprehensive option to explore in terms of materials you can use as an edging border. Stones and timber border edging are popular materials in this category. Edging helps add more aesthetics to your border while also making it easier for you to keep your barks in place.

STEP – 6: Lay the bark chippings 

Once you’ve measured and marked out your area and you’ve prepared your ground as recommended. You’ve also added an even layer of appropriate dry materials and used an edging to create a straight border. Then, it’s time to fill your area with bark chippings. Move your bark chips to where it’s needed using a wheelbarrow. Use your shovel to transfer the barks from the wheelbarrow to your prepared ground. Use your hands or rake to spread them evenly, and your project is done. You can fill your bark chippings to a minimum depth of 300mm (recommended).


What’s the difference between mulching and barking chipping?

Mulching is simply covering the topsoil with a thick layer of material to conserve its moisture and coolness. On the other hand, barking chippings is a type of organic material used as garden mulch. Other organic mulching materials include shredded barks, wood chippings, wood shavings, and compost.

Are bark chippings suitable for the ground?

Yes! Bark chippings are recycled bye product from the timber industry. They contain no-toxic substances and are entirely safe for all surfaces. They provide a layer of insulation that can help regulate soil temperature all year round. They take a long time to decompose. When eventually decomposed, they tend to release a range of nutrients and organic matter that enrich the soil beneath, thereby promoting soil fertility.

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