The Q&A Archives: Mulch For Next to Sidewalk

Question: When building flower beds next to existing sidewalks what can be done to prevent the mulch from washing away? I do not want to use railroad ties or anything like that and it will be level with sidewalk. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Answer: If there is a steep slope or a gushing down spot nearby causing lots of runoff there may not be too much you can do apart from changing the drainage pattern. However, here are some things you can try in the bed itself. One is to use a larger sized mulch such as chips rather than shredded or fine bark. The larger pieces stay in place better. Another option is to dig down a bit next to the sidewalk so that the bed slopes down slightly below the grade of the walk. If any mulch slips, it will slip into the gap rather than onto the sidewalk. You will need to periodically brush the excess back into the bed. Finally, a short ground covering and hugging plant such as creeping thyme planted along the walk will help to hold the mulch back in place and require it to move quite a ways before it hits the walk itself. Good luck with your mulch!

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