Muddy paths create problems, such as having to figure out the best way to get down the path and inside the house without taking the mud inside with you. Growing grass isn't always an option, but you can cover the path with different materials, including mulch or gravel, quickly and easily.
In your flowerbed, mulch helps hold the moisture in the soil. On a muddy path, it creates a barrier between your feet and the soil. Nearly any type of mulch works to solve a mud problem, including shredded mulch, wood chips or recycled rubber mulch. For a quick fix, simply pour the mulch over the muddy areas, making it 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Some will spill out the sides of the path, but for a more permanent fix, add edging along the sides to help contain the mulch. Add more mulch at least once a year to keep the path covered.
Gravel provides another quick fix. For immediate coverage, just pour the gravel onto the path at least 1 1/2 inch deep. Like mulch, some will fall off the sides of the path and travel into your landscaping, but installing edging helps prevent this. Stone edging helps continue the natural look, while plastic edging is inexpensive and easy to install. Pea gravel is gentle on your bare feet, but it can get caught in shoe treads and end up inside your house. Larger gravel, such as 3/4 inch, stays in place well in wet areas. If you fear the gravel will work its way down into the mud, lay landscaping fabric before you pour on the gravel.
Although they take longer to install than mulch or gravel, stepping stones don't take much work. Ideally, pour a couple of inches of sand over the muddy path, then push the stepping stones into the sand. For a quicker fix, just push the stepping stones firmly into the damp ground, twisting slightly as you push. Secure them by tapping around the edges with a rubber mallet to sink them deeper into the soil. Place them close enough together that you can easily step from one to another without stepping in the mud.
When cost is a factor as well as the need for a quick fix, mulch is probably the best choice, with stepping stones being the most expensive, depending on how many stepping stones you use. When time allows, explore other permanent, but more labor-intensive, options such as interlocking pavers or poured concrete for your pathway.