Are you looking to add a touch of natural beauty to your garden paths? If so, you might be wondering which barks are the best choice. With a variety of options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones will not only enhance the aesthetics of your garden but also provide durability and ease of maintenance. In this article, we will explore different types of tree barks and discuss their suitability for garden paths, helping you make an informed decision that will transform your outdoor space into a captivating oasis.

Types of Tree Barks

When considering using tree bark for your garden path, it’s important to understand the different types available. There are primarily two categories of tree barks: hardwood barks and softwood barks. Hardwood barks are derived from deciduous trees, while softwood barks come from evergreen trees.

Hardwood Barks

Hardwood barks, as the name suggests, come from trees with dense and durable wood. This makes them a great option for garden paths as they provide excellent durability and can withstand heavy foot traffic. These barks have a rugged texture and a natural earthy color, adding a rustic charm to your garden.

Softwood Barks

Softwood barks, on the other hand, are obtained from evergreen trees that have softer wood. While they may not possess the same level of durability as hardwood barks, they are still a viable option for garden paths. Softwood barks such as cedar bark and pine bark are known for their aromatic scent and their ability to resist decay. They can provide a visually pleasing aesthetic to your garden path.

Factors to Consider

When choosing the right tree bark for your garden path, there are several factors you should take into consideration. These factors include texture, durability, color, and availability.


The texture of the tree bark can greatly impact the overall feel of your garden path. Some barks have a rough texture, while others are smoother to the touch. Consider how the texture will complement your garden’s overall aesthetic and choose a bark that aligns with your preferences.


Durability is crucial when it comes to selecting a tree bark for a garden path. You want a bark that can withstand regular foot traffic without deteriorating quickly. Hardwood barks tend to be more durable and better equipped to handle heavy use, making them a wise choice for high-traffic areas.


The color of the tree bark can significantly impact the visual appeal of your garden path. While some barks have natural earthy tones, others may have a reddish or golden hue.

Preparing the Garden Path

Before laying down the tree bark for your garden path, there are several essential steps to take in order to ensure a successful installation.

Clearing the Pathway

Start by clearing the pathway of any debris, weeds, or existing vegetation. You want to create a clean and level surface for the bark to be laid upon. Remove any rocks or roots that may interfere with the path’s smoothness.

Leveling the Ground

Once the pathway is clear, it’s crucial to level the ground. This can be done by removing excess soil or adding soil where needed. Use a rake or a shovel to spread the soil evenly, ensuring that there are no uneven or sloping areas.

Adding a Weed Barrier

To prevent weed growth beneath your garden path, it’s recommended to add a weed barrier. This can be a layer of landscape fabric or a thick layer of newspaper. Place the weed barrier directly on top of the leveled ground, covering the entire pathway area.

Laying the Tree Bark

Finally, it’s time to lay the tree bark on the prepared pathway. Start by spreading a layer of bark about 2-3 inches thick. Use a rake or a shovel to distribute the bark evenly, ensuring that it covers the entire pathway. For a more finished look, you can add decorative stones or stepping stones along the path’s edges.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your tree bark garden path in optimal condition, regular maintenance is essential. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Regular Raking

Periodically rake the surface of the tree bark to remove any fallen leaves, branches, or debris. This will help maintain a clean and tidy appearance.

Replacing Damaged Bark

Inspect your garden path regularly and replace any damaged or deteriorated sections of tree bark. This will help maintain the path’s integrity and prevent further damage.

Alternative Options

While tree bark is a popular choice for garden paths, there are several alternative options to consider.

Gravel Paths

Gravel paths provide a more rugged and natural appearance. They are relatively easy to install and require minimal maintenance.

Paving Stones

Paving stones offer a more formal and polished look to your garden path. They come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and patterns, allowing for customization. Paving stones are durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic.