How to put mulch between stepping stones | Success Tips

To put mulch between stepping stones the most important step is to make sure you prepare the gaps between the steppers first. Remove weeds and soil from between the steppers making sure there is a 2 inch gap down from the pavers. Remove the weeds and then lay the mulch on top.

Laying newspaper down first is optional but will keep weeds away for longer.

Mulch with bark chips, landscaping rocks or plant low growing plants between stepping stones in your backyard.

How to put mulch between stepping stones

Mulching between my stepping stone walkway was so easy. Start with a few bags of mulch and an outdoor broom to move the mulch into the gaps and clean off any mulch that might fall on the steppers.

Prepare the gaps between the steppers first. Remove anything else that is between the steppers, and make sure there is around 2 inches of gap down from the pavers.

Remove the weeds and then lay the mulch on top. You don’t need to use weed matting but laying newspaper down first will help to keep the weeds down for longer.

When we bought our tiny town house, there was a layer of large pebbles between the steppers. Over 2 months these were full of weeds which were very hard to remove. The best option for me was to replace the stones with my favorite material, bark mulch.

I can easily pull out the weeds and improve the soil between the steppers. After a few weeks I will plant between the steppers with low ground covers. 

Bark mulch between stepping stones on the side of my town house

Best mulch to use between stepping stones

The best mulch for between steppers is a pine bark mulch. You can get this in a variety of colors including red, black and natural. I choose a natural pine bark mulch because it will last around 6 months before it needs to be topped with new mulch and keeps the weeds down well.

Pine bark mulch will be made up of a mix of small and large pieces which help to create a nice environment for worms and a healthy microbiome to form in the soil beneath. I am going to leave my mulch to sit few a few weeks before planting between my steppers to allow the soil to improve.

Benefits of using mulch between stepping stones

Mulch is good value

Pine bark mulch is one of the best value materials you can put between stepping stones and some municipalities will also give this away for free. Just check out their website to see if they do a mulch program for local residents.

Weeds are growing through pebbles on the side, the bark mulch is brand new and ready to stop the weeds

If you do need to buy a pine bark mulch it will still be very affordable. It usually comes from street tree trimmings or from the waste products of the timber industry.

I have also bought a mixed mulch from my local landscape supplier which is made up of a mix of tree trimmings. This will include a mix of street trees and include both leaf matter and branches. The mix of brown and green materials is the perfect balance to add goodness to the soil. You can also add this to the pathways between your vegetable garden and flower beds.

Mulch can be used on a range of plants

I have added mulch around all of my trees, including citrus such as limes, lemon and oranges. I have also added it around my annual flowers and evergreen shrubs and flowers as well. This mixed mulch is the perfect option for all areas of your garden. The only place I wouldn’t use it is in your vegetable garden beds. A better mulch option is sugar cane mulch or pea straw mulch as they break down quicker.

I have pine bark mulch underneath my citrus and flowering plants

Mulch stops weeds from growing between stepping stones

Mulch will stop weeds from growing between stepping stones over time as long as it is at least 2 inches thick. This will keep the light away from the weed seeds that could be sitting in your soil.

You may find that for the first few months weeds will work their way through, especially near the edges of the pavers, however over time they will grow less and less. The weeds that do manage to grow through will be very easy to pull out. Planting a ground cover between the pavers is also a great idea as they will leave less room for weeds.

How to plant in mulch between stepping stones

You can plant in the mulch gaps between stepping stones. Choose a low ground cover like mondo grass and make sure you plant the roots soil beneath, not into the mulch. Adding mulch to the top of the soil will slowly improve it over time. You can even add a thin layer of compost or aged cow manure first to add some extra nutrients to the soil.

How to grow plants between stepping stones

Mulch Between Stepping Stones – FAQ

Will the mulch get on my stepping stones?

If you have dogs and kids running around on your stepping stones that small pieces of mulch can get on your stepping stones over time. After you lay the mulch, water it down with a spray nozzle on your hose. This will help to keep it from blowing away initially and help to weigh it down to start in the beginning.

If a small amount of mulch does get on your stepping stones use an outdoor broom to sweep it off. I have found that even with dogs running on the mulch, it doesn’t move very much at all.

Can you put stepping stone pavers on mulch?

You can lay stepping stones straight on top of mulch. Make sure the mulch is flat first and then place the stepper on top. This is a great option if you may want to move your steppers or path in the future.

Make sure that the paver is stable, mulch will move around so you need to make sure the surface is flat and secure first. Another option when laying pavers with mulch is to lay the pavers on a layer of coarse river sand. This is available from garden suppliers and hardware stores.

Can I use pebbles between steppers?

You can definitely use pebbles between steppers and they actually look great. I have moved away from using pebbles between my steppers because I have found that weeds just seem to endlessly grow through, even with weed matting underneath.

The weeds will creep through the edges of the weed matting, between the pavers and the mat and you will still need to pull them out. I find that bark mulch keeps the weeds down more effectively, especially when it is at least 2 inches thick.

The perfect thickness for mulch is around 2 inches as it will still let rain through to your soil but stop the weeds from growing through as quickly. The pebbles that were on my path were around 1-2 inches which left large gaps between, making them the perfect place for weeds to grow through.

Small weeds have grown through the pebbles

How to put mulch between stepping stones | Summary

Clearing the gaps between stepping stones before mulching is the key to success. Making sure that all weeds have been removed is the first and most important step to mulch between stepping stones without having the gaps fill with weeds.

Happy gardening.

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