Bark is still a good, affordable option to use as a weed suppressor in your borders and therefore reduce your regular maintenance. If used with a weed control fabric, it will be even more effective. Can be used to create pathways as well and can be hardwood as well as softwood.
Children's play bark is slightly different; it does not stain clothes and has no chemical preservatives added to it and is generally used under swings and in children's play areas.
Decorative gravels are available in a variety of colours and textures and can be used to create low maintenance areas within your garden. Plants can be used to break up an area, also paving can be used to create pathways through. Normally a fabric membrane is placed directly over the soil prior to a layer of gravel being applied.