How To Prevent Standing Water When Building A Mulch Or Gravel Pathway

2 September 2015
 Categories: , Blog


As a new homeowner, you are probably very excited about getting out into your lawn and creating the perfect landscape. Part of any beautiful landscape includes a well-thought-out walkway. However, if you're not careful, your beautiful walkway could end up having standing water in it, making it difficult to walk on. You might even see grass clippings and other yard debris on your walkway as a result of being carried there by water. To prevent standing water on your walkway, follow these steps to build it.

Step 1: Procure Your Supplies

  • a shovel or soil rake
  • a step edger
  • a garden cloth
  • wide landscaping edging
  • steel stakes, 2 per each foot of the path length
  • a hammer
  • mulch or gravel

Step 2: Dig Out the Pathway

Dig out and shape your pathway with the shovel. The path should be about 3-inches deep. Be sure to remove any rocks or plant roots out of the path to keep it smooth. Use the soil rake to smooth out the path, so the entire length of the path is even.

Step 3: Create the Edge

Use the step edger to create neatly defined edges of your pathway. Place the edger at or near the edge of the path. Step onto it to chip away any uneven soil.

Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and use caution because the step edger is sharp. Use the shovel to clear away any debris or chunks of dirt or grass left behind by the edger.

Line your choice of landscaping edging along the newly cut path edge. The edging should stick up out of the path 2-3 inches.

Step 4: Secure the Garden Cloth

Lay the garden cloth along the inside of the path. Cut the cloth wide enough that it can tuck under the edging. Hammer a stake into the cloth on either side of the path to secure the cloth from shifting or bunching. Repeat this process every foot along the path.

Step 5: Lay Down Your Mulch or Gravel

Layer the mulch or gravel into the pathway on top of the garden cloth and within the boundaries of the edging. Smooth the pathway with the shovel to slightly compact the material.

Expect this project to take about a day to complete. As you are enjoying your new walkway, you'll notice that rain water seeps through the mulch or pebbles and then through the cloth into the soil. Additionally, the edging keeps debris from entering your path. Ask your landscape maintenance professional for more ideas on preventing standing water on your path or in your landscape in general.