Look at the outdoor area and determine how big you want the mulch patio to be. The Less Lawn website suggests a size of 18 feet by 18 feet is suitable for four people. Once you have determined the size, draw an outline of the patio on the ground using spray chalk.
Dig a 6-inch deep and 4-inch wide trench along the entire length of the chalk line using a shovel. Insert plastic landscape edging into the end of the trench and unroll it until you reach the opposite end. Cut off the excess edging material with scissors and fill in the trench with soil. Stomp down on top of the soil next to the edging to firm it up. The edging should be 3 to 4 inches above the soil.
Unroll weed barrier fabric in a single layer on top of the entire patio area. Overlap the edges of the fabric by at least 5 to 6 inches to prevent weeds and grass from growing through the seams. Insert landscaping stakes into the fabric every 10 to 12 inches to hold it down.
Place the mulch on top of the weed barrier fabric using a shovel. Keep the mulch as even as possible when applying it, but some lumpy areas are fine. Continue adding mulch until the entire patio is covered in a 4-inch layer.
Rake the surface of the mulch with a bow rake to smooth it out to an even surface.
Water the entire surface of the mulch with a garden hose to help settle it and then walk over it to compact it further.
Place large stepping stones or flagstones in a single line that leads to nearby doorways or other areas, if desired.