I need a cheapo (preferably free) solution to create a soft walking path for my wife that will traverse from the house through her wildflower garden to her gardening shed. The other day I noticed she had purchased several bags of brown mulch. When I asked why she had gotten it, she replied that she wanted to use it to make the walkway to the shed. Telling her that I thought it was a really good idea (our original plan was to use a mixture of brown and white gravel) I suggested that instead of buying mulch by the bag (the most expensive) or even truck load (cheaper), that because I know the owner of a local tree service company, I might be able to get a truck load of wood chips for free. She replied, "No, (she) didn't want wood chips because if they get into the garden... they will hurt the plants." Is there anything to that? If there is, wouldn't mulch be just as destructive?