I have done mulched gardens before and am familiar with the steps involved in that. Now I have a slightly different project. I want to dig out an area of my yard that will have a bench and two chairs, along with maybe a fireplace, all on top of a bed of mulch. As nothing needs to grow here, it presents a different situation to a mulched garden, and better options for dealing with weeds.

My current plan involves this set of layers, after digging down 2"-3" below soil level:

  • TOP
  • 2"-3" of rubber mulch (hiding pavers)
  • Pavers (as a base for the bench/chairs/flower pots to sit on) and block edging (for a comfortable delineation between sitting area and yard)
  • 1" of sand
  • Commercial strength weed barrier
  • Any electrical lines needed

The purpose of the sand is both to help level the pavers and edging, and to weigh down the weed barrier in case something tries to grow and push it up. The pavers are there to help level the chairs and bench and push them up so they're nearly level with the top of the mulch layer.

Is this the appropriate approach to this project, or is there a better/easier/cheaper way to construct a long-lasting and maintenance free mulched sitting area.

  • That's a rather vague question. What specific aspect are you wondering about? – isherwood Feb 27 '19 at 20:11
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    I wouldn't put sand over the fabric. Weeds don't much care that it's sand. They'll grow like weeds in it. – isherwood Feb 27 '19 at 20:12
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    Do you think you really need the pavers? Are you open to a crushed stone/decomposed granite type surface? – JPhi1618 Feb 27 '19 at 20:29
  • something tries to grow and push it up .... plants will lift up and crack blacktop pavement ......... i have had good results with landscape fabric covered by a 4" layer of round 1"-2" river rock ...... weed seeds simply do not have any place to take root ...... cleaning is also easy, just vacuum the rocks with a leaf blower .... the rocks are too small and too heavy to be pulled into the blower blades (as long as the leaf blower pipe is fairly large) – jsotola Feb 27 '19 at 22:05
  • @JPhi1618 For this particular project I'm relatively set on rubber mulch as a top layer. I think it gives a warmer, more organic feel that will mesh well with the potted flowers I intend to add. I'm also using this as a test case to get a feel for rubber mulch so I can evaluate it for larger future projects. – Nicholas Feb 28 '19 at 14:21

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