Son L is in the landscaping business and we got an enormous pile of wood chips from him. The rest we found at a vacant lot and after contacting the owner, were able to finish the rest. Wood chips is different than bark mulch in that it's the whole tree rather than just the bark. It also needs to age one year before using it. There are large pieces in the wood chips and I expect to have to do a pick up next spring. According to the Back To Eden gardening method, there are places where townships have huge piles of this stuff. We need to be the early bird next spring for ours!
Prior to this summer, I used compost and cut grass to cover my beds but they always ended up looking dry and cracked like the picture below. And weeds? I was constantly pulling the pesky things and in the heat of summer, missed a lot under the fully grown plants, especially on the south side of the yard. But not this year! I've pulled less weeds this summer than I have in all the years of perennial gardening. Truthfully, I wasn't sure if I'd like the 'wood chip look' but I'm so pleased with the results and have learned to like how it looks!
As you can see, I had a late start but simply worked around the plants. I placed a layer of newspaper/cardboard down first, holding it in place on those windy spring days with mushroom mulch. We live close to large mushroom producers so that's easy to come by. The mushroom mulch was several inches deep. Then came the wood chips and it was exciting to see this happening! I also was blessed with help from the grands.
A few before and afters.
You can find the video and information here.