I loved the way my raised beds looked last year, with the mulch walkway around them, lined with stones.
I've always liked raised beds with paths between them, and I certainly was glad to have less area to mow. Unfortunately, my yard is about 40% creeping Charlie, and creeping Charlie knows no boundaries. Mulch is no barrier, because creeping Charlie spreads above ground as well as underground. It pulls up easily, but by the time winter rolled around, I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of maintaining mulch paths in the face of creeping Charlie. Short of using noxious chemicals, or putting a couple pigs in my backyard, I don't foresee winning the war against creeping Charlie. Trimming around all the stones wasn't exactly a picnic, either. So, the practical side of me won out, and I've started deconstructing my mulch walkway.
As I removed stones, however, I was startled by the sheer number of ants that had taken up residence under them in the past year. Almost every stone I pulled out revealed a writhing mass of ants, and many of them also had piles of what I'm assuming were eggs. I felt somewhat bad, so some of the rocks I just tilted a little, so the ants would start moving, but wouldn't be completely exposed. By the time I was done, however, I had given up caring. Besides, some of those little ants have been exploring my kitchen, so I think we're even.
I'm doing this the very lazy way. At this point, I've simply rolled the rocks out of their places so I can mow (and the ants can move). As I get around to it, I will move the rocks to other areas of the yard. We have several spots that show signs of erosion, so I'm going to use some rocks in those spots to help with drainage. I don't think I'm even going to remove the woods chips. They'll break down soon enough, and the creeping Charlie is already working on covering them.
Hopefully, by the end of this year, it will all be green around the beds again, and I can simply mow right around them. Sigh. I have to admit, it will be nice to not need to pull weeds out of the path every time I go out to the garden.