Patio Design: Understanding Wood Chips

Wood chips.

Wood chips can be used in making an informal patio but it will not be long-lasting. Similar in structure to most patio construction, you would begin by digging out the area, then laying your bed of underlying layers followed by placement of the wood chips on the surface. These patios are environmentally friendly and provide an extremely attractive alternative to a stone or brick patio.

Wood Chips

Wood chips are manufactured as a by-product of the timber industry. Branches that are too small to be used as timber are run through chipping machines. Most of this chipped wood goes to heat larger buildings or power stations. The saw mills also use wood that no longer has an industrial value, like old wooden pallets. Some of these wood chips make their way into the garden and horticultural industry.

You can almost always find bags of them available to use to top flower beds or to make your informal patio. While wood chips are not long lasting in a garden as they break down and decay, they can make a very attractive feature in the garden and they are environmentally friendly.

Use of Wood Chips

To use wood chips to make a patio, start by laying your foundation. This is especially important as the area needs to be well drained. When creating your foundation you will need to use double the amount of aggregates on top of your layer of sand to make sure that the drainage is extremely good. If the drainage isn’t good the wood chips will rot very quickly.

On the edge of the planned patio area you need to place logs, large stones, or bricks. This edge will contain the wood chips. Otherwise the wood chips will spread all over the surrounding area. Keeping the garden area in mind, always keep the size of the garden to the fore. It is no use making a tiny little area in a large garden. It will be totally lost. By the same token it won’t do to cover the whole area with wood chips.

Proportions in landscaping are very important. The feature you are trying to make has to fit in with the garden. When you are working with wood chips try to keep your design to wood. It is better to contain the chips with a row of upright small logs imbedded into the ground just above the level of the chips than to use something that doesn’t match the surrounding area, like brick.

It's better to have a wooden theme rather than mixing and matching materials in your patio design.


Because wood chips aren’t a formal arrangement kind of resource, it is important to keep this feature in mind when you are designing your patio. Keep it loose and not in a formal arrangement. This mixes with the product itself. It is an informal item so you don’t want a square or a round patio, a free form area, which is only held together by the constraints of the edging you have provided to your wood chips, is the best design idea.