Posted: 11/01/2016 at 13:46
I did a lot of research recently into bark chip when doing some landscaping on my daughter's garden. I think that for use on paths etc you can get away with the cheapest sort; the more expensive types are recommended for use in children's play areas etc, but for paths you just want something that will go down.
We use it here on our garden paths. I am always surprise how thickly one needs to lay it, especially if it is to cover a muddy area; don't skimp on the volume you buy, you won't regret laying it thicker rather than thinner. You might want to think about putting some membrane down first, if the path is to be quite neat and defined with edges - that will reduce the depth of chippings that you need, but obviously involves more work and the cost of the membrane.
We top ours up every three years or so. It needs topping up more often under the trees, because when the leaves fall we use a leaf-blower to gather them up and usually get a bit over-enthusiastic with the power switch..... which means a lot of bark gets blown off too.
The cheapest way to buy it is almost certainly in bulk bags delivered to your door - if you have a fairly big area to cover I'd strongly recommend that route. Search online for "bark chip" and there are lots of suppliers.
You'll find it smells strongly when first laid, and looks "stark" - but don't worry, the smell disappears after a week or so and the colours mute and blend in pretty quickly too.
Good luck, let us know how you get on!