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Top-Dressing a Path

Martha Stewart Living Television

The path in my garden gets muddy when it rains. Do you have any suggestions for what I could put down over it?
--Carol Locey, Milford, OH

Martha has a woodland garden situated at the bottom of a hill, so she's familiar with your problem. Her solution is to top-dress the paths that wind through her garden with wood chips. The chips look natural and beautiful, and they are easy to walk on when wet.

You can make wood chips yourself if you have a chipper and lots of woody debris like tree limbs and shrub branches. Or contact a tree-service company that will deliver the chips to you. (Be sure to use a reputable company, so you're sure you're not receiving chips from diseased trees.)

Martha uses chips on her paths, but never in her garden beds. Salt hay is a good choice for these, as it contains no weed seeds. Look for it at nurseries and garden centers.