All Things Gardening forum: Using carpet for pathways

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Jul 26, 2014 8:10 AM CST
I have a large yard which will have areas through my yet to exist garden, that will be major walkways. To the deck, to the shed, to the now imaginary chicken house and so forth. I was wondering about laying some thick old carpet down to define those walks and then covering it with straw as a mulch. Has anyone did this? I wonder how long it takes to break down badly enough that weeds start taking over? If it lasted 7 or 8 years I would do it. If it only lasted 3 to 5, I don't know if it would be worth the effort to me. Will it make a difference if I use two layers vs one? or use a particular type of carpet?
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

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frankrichards16
Jul 26, 2014 4:28 PM CST
In 2007 I ripped up my carpet and installed hardwood floors. Rather than haul it to the dump, I decided to repurpose it as a mulch fabric. I covered it with pea gravel. Worked out great and is still in good shape.


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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jul 26, 2014 8:25 PM CST
There's actually an article right here on ATP about using carpet for garden paths: http://garden.org/ideas/view/Eric4home/1803/Movable-Garden-P...
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 26, 2014 8:50 PM CST
oh, thank you Sandy I knew there was an article but I couldn't find it!

Frank, thank you that is very helpful! I wonder if it lasts longer with gravel over it? I bet the organic stuff layered on the top would make it rot down faster? I don't think I could use gravel for what I am doing because I don't have access to gravel and it is just lil ol me doing it and would require too many muscles Smiling
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jul 26, 2014 9:04 PM CST
To say nothing of the fact that, in my experience at least, any kind of gravel seems to end up where you want it the least! Ugh!! (sorry, Frank -- I've recently threatened my husband with bodily injury if he puts any kind of small rock/gravel ANYWHERE !!)
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Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
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LysmachiaMoon
Jul 27, 2014 5:36 AM CST
I've used carpet under woodchip mulch. Most types of carpets are synthetic fiber and will last at least 3-5 years even in wet conditions. The plus side is, even after the carpet starts to rot, if you've kept after any weeds that come up (and they will, occasionally) the path should remain fairly weed free, especially if you put down fresh mulch on a regular basis.
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fatimason
Jul 30, 2014 1:42 PM CST
I did it many times lasted a long time , worth the try and a nice way of disposing ole carpet.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 30, 2014 4:55 PM CST
Great! I am planning on doing this at the point. I will not let my dh know until I have a dozen rolls of old carpet out here lol he will die...


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central Illinois
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jmorth
Jul 31, 2014 1:13 PM CST
I've used left over carpet for garden paths as it makes an easy to see well defined path when getting dark, suppresses weeds, and is comfortable under foot.
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Name: Elfrieda
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (Zone 10a)
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orchidgal
Aug 16, 2014 8:39 PM CST
I understand that it would suppress weeds, but doesn't it smell when it gets very wet and starting to rot? What about mold issues? I think I would prefer landscape cloth, which you can find cheap at places like Big Lots, with some mulch over t.
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Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Aug 17, 2014 5:31 AM CST
I've never noticed any kind of smell, once the carpet is covered with mulch. I've even used *ick* carpet that was obviously "doggied up" and smelled dreadful. Once the mulch is on it, the smell is gone. I think the bacteria/fungi in the natural mulch neutralize any odors. And as it rots, it simply "composts"...the fully rotted carpet is like any other compost. A plus to carpeting over landscape cloth is that it's not slippery. I've tried using some plastic based weed suppression stuff under mulch and usually especially when wet, it is very slippery to walk on or if on a hill, the mulch slides down it. Carpet's texture holds it in place.
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Aug 17, 2014 10:12 AM CST
I never thought about the carpet offering some traction to the mulch. I used to have problems at my previous house with the mulch washing downhill in heavier rains. I do think carpet might have fixed that for me there. I don't think there would be any smell really since it is outside.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
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needrain
Aug 18, 2014 10:33 AM CST
I've used carpet with some degree of success early. The problem I had was that the carpet fibers weren't bio-degradable. Or at least some weren't. When the inevitable decaying occurred, it seemed to be more on the backing and the end result was carpet debris not staying in place. It's been years since I used it and I still find those fibers. The first year or two it worked well. I think different types of carpet might work differently, depending on how they are manufactured. Not necessarily a 'one size fits all' scenario.
Donald
Name: Thom Foote
Colbert, WA (Zone 6a)
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thomfoote
Oct 22, 2014 10:57 AM CST
Old carpet can also be used a "pre-liner" in ponds. Put it down before you put down an EPDM or bentonite layer.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Oct 22, 2014 4:38 PM CST
I have done that it worked well, I used a thick heavy carpet.

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