Answer: You can set bark directly on the soil but it will likely sink into the soil and disappear after a few years of foot traffic. What I'd do is line the area with weed barrier fabric and then spread bark over the top of that. I'd put it 3-4" deep, expecting that it will compact a little as you walk on it. The sizes of bark available are many; shredded bark, bark chips and bark nuggets are the most often used. The larger the pieces, the longer it will last. If that's important, choose bark nuggets over the shredded bark. The larger bark nuggets won't catch in your dog's pads, but it can be kicked out of an area if your dogs are large. Smaller bark chips will be more comfortable for smaller dogs to walk on but the pieces can be caught in the feet if your dogs are large. So, the ultimate choice is yours, depending upon the size of you dog.
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