"Put your best foot forward" is the saying, but what are you going to put it on? Grass, brick, boards, gravel, or just plain dirt? Most people put their Square Foot boxes in their yard and leave the grass for their aisles. This helps keep a natural look. And dont worry, the grass wont get a lot of hard use because there's not that much to do in a Square Foot Garden. If you want to leave natural soil in your aisles use an action hoe once a week to rid your aisle of pesky weeds.
In my PBS TV garden, we had a small 15X15 area with several boxes and plain dirt aisles. I spent five minutes every week running an action hoe over the soil to cut off any new weeds, and it looked pretty nice. But then in one of the classes I was giving, some of the ladies wanted to know how to lay brick so I thought this would be fun to teach as well as improving the garden. So without moving
Building Boxes and Structures
If you don't want grass in your aisles, lay down a mulch. Here again, you want to first dig out any weeds or grass; then to prevent weeds from growing back without using chemicals, you can put down a landscape fabric or weed cloth. There are many on the market today. They come in 3- or 4-foot wide rolls and do quite a good job. (Don't use regular black plastic-it won't drain and it's slippery.) Then just cover the cloth with at least 1 or 2 inches of mulch.
You can also use gravel, which comes in all different kinds and sizes, colors, and shapes, or you can use other types of ground cover like ground up bark or pine needles; I've even seen people use straw, hay, salt hay, or even leaves collected and saved from last fall. As you walk, these materials break up and gradually decompose, creating something you can add later to your compost pile.
You can also build walkways out of brick, wood planks, or paving stones. Again, take out any weeds and put down a weed cloth first. You can create some very interesting patterns with bricks and paving blocks. Keep the joints fairly tight so the surface doesn't shift.
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