Sustainability has become a watchword not just in terms of food production, packaging, and architecture, but also in the decorative aspects of many lifestyles. In recent times, rubber mulch has become an unexpected solution to landscaping projects and outdoor decorating. It not only offers alternative design ideas – rubber mulch also cuts down on repetitive maintenance and expensive upkeep.
You can start your own sustainable exterior design project with a simple rubber mulch pathway. Here’s how:
Rake, remove debris, and prep the surface area
A pathway has a lot of foot traffic, so after defining the area where that occurs, it’s time to prepare the surface. You can choose to use paving stones surrounded by mulch, or have a walkway that’s completely covered by rubber mulch. Either way, prepping the surface area is a must.
Rake the area to grade it and to ensure a level surface. Remove all loose stones, debris, and fallen twigs and leaves from the area. Weed if there’s any presence of it. Then dig a one-inch demarcation for the path so that water can be allowed to flow. This is especially important if you are planning to have shrubbery or trees flanking the pathway.
Flatten the terrain
Use a garden hoe to further flatten the area where the mulch will go. If there is a lot of dirt, you can evenly distribute it and pat it down using a shovel. Break or remove calcified dirt; it can create lumps in the landscaping fabric if you don’t.
Install landscaping fabric
Carefully roll out the landscaping fabric over the prepared area. If you want plants or other decorative accents in the walkway, cut an X the areas where they will go on the fabric using scissors. Secure the edges of the fabric using landscape spikes. Take special care not to create air pockets in the fabric as these can be inviting to weeds.
Apply rubber mulch
Select the color of rubber mulch you’d like for your pathway. Use a shovel to lay the rubber mulch in place over the landscaping fabric. If you have a decorative mosaic in mind, carefully mark the patterns using different colored mulch before filling up the outlines with more mulch. The rubber mulch should be around two inches deep for effective shock absorbency and weed protection.
Smooth the surface over
Once installed, use the garden hoe to smoothen the rubber mulch surface. This ensures that you have an even walkable surface and prevent people from tripping or slipping. Smoothen the area further after installing ornaments or path lights. In the case of plants, be sure not to pile up rubber mulch near the roots so that there’s room to breathe.