Garden Mulch

Garden Mulch

Garden mulch must be included in any type of landscape plans you have for your yard. Although many people do consider it an artistic requirement in a newly landscaped yard, mulch serves two primary purposes:

  1. weed control
  2. water retention

Without any type of covering around your new landscape plants, weeds will quickly take over the area as they will grow much faster than the “desirable” plants. In addition, watering your plants is crucial for success, particularly right after they’ve gone into the ground. Without any type of covering, the water will evaporate too fast to be replenished by you, and the plants may quickly die back.

There are a variety of different options to consider when placing in your design.

  • It can be formal or informal.
  • It can be made from organic or synthetic material.
  • It can range in price from expensive to free.
  • It can be installed by yourself or by a professional.

These different options really depend on what “look” you are trying to achieve in the end, how much work you want to do to maintain that look, how much you are willing to pay to achieve that look, and your personal feelings about the material you are using.

The type of that you choose, will often dictate the other types of materials you end up using in your landscape design, or vice versa.

If you have a very formal design, it is unlikely that you’ll use compost as your choice for mulch, for example, due to the “earthy” or natural look of compost. Likewise, if you like an informal, natural design, you’ll probably be unlikely to use mulch such as landscaping stones which tend to be placed in very formal designs.

The following is a list of some of the options that you have for , along with other associated items that you may need in the process.

Free Mulch

Did you know that many homeowners can obtain mulch in the form of shredded yard waste from their local municipality for free??? 

Most villages/cities/townships have a dump that contains shredded or chopped wood from the yard waste and tree removal activities of that area. This material is usually available by pick-up for free by residents of that area, and by delivery for a small fee.

Adding this organic material to your landscape can have tremendous benefits for your plants, the soil, and the environment overall. Read more about this option…

Organic Mulch or Compost

Can composted material be used as a mulch in your landscaping design?


Just like free mulch, this organic mulch provides much benefit to the soil and the plants in your landscape. Compost is not only used to blend into the soil, but when used as a mulch, it can function as a weed-deterrent and moisture retainer.

Using compost as mulch in certain areas, such as a vegetable garden, is not only useful to prevent weed growth and retain moisture, but it is beneficial to the garden soil at the end of the growing season as it can simply be mixed in with the existing earth. Read more about this option…

Landscaping with Stones

As indicated above, using stones as in a landscape design is generally reserved for more formal designs. While the appearance can be very neat, they must be carefully installed and maintained in order to keep their “clean” appearance.

Some things to keep in mind when using this material are:

  • the installation process is tedious,
  • leaves, twigs and other debris must be cleaned out regularly to keep it’s neat appearance,
  • stones can fall on the lawn and run through the lawn mower,
  • and even though landscaping fabric is used, weeds still manage to find a way through this material.

And, depending on how small the stones are, it is very, very difficult to remove them from your landscape if you change your mind in the future. Read more about this option…

Landscaping Fabric

Regardless of what type of you decide to use, you’ll need to lay down some type of landscaping fabric underneath that mulch.

This material will enhance the weed deterrent qualities of the mulch, and will help the mulch function at its best.

The type of fabric that you use is up to you. Personally, I prefer natural, biodegradeable material that I never have to remove once it is installed, although I may have to add more from time to time…see what exactly this magic fabric is…

Landscape Rocks

A well-placed rock or two in the garden can provide a very natural look to even the most pre-planned landscapes.

You have the option of adding real rocks to your site that are small enough for you to install yourself or rocks that are so large they need to be shipped to your location. Read more about this feature… 

Fake Boulders

Fake boulders in your backyard landscape design open up endless possibilities due to their ease of use!

You can add a grouping of boulders, one or two individual rocks, rocks that are designed to your specifications, or rocks that display things like your home’s address.

The use for these faux boulders are limited only by your imagination! Read more about their uses…

Landscaping Bricks

Landscaping bricks are most often used as edging around a planted area to keep the plants from spreading into the lawn, and the lawn from spreading into the plants.

Photo courtesy of LeonESpencer


This isn’t something that’s absolutely necessary in a landscape design, but it certainly does seem to add a finished touch to an area.

Landscaping Blocks

Landscaping blocks are most often used in retaining walls.

Unless you have prior experience in building a retaining wall, it is best to hire a professional for any job that requires a wall higher than 3 feet. Retaining walls that are less than 3 feet, however, can certainly be constructed by the average do-it-yourselfer. Read more about this feature…

Organic Weed Control

Controlling weeds is an ongoing issue for all homeowners and gardeners alike.

Different methods can be used in different areas. I have found earth-friendly, organic weed control options for many weed problems, but I’m still learning, and continually trying to move away from chemical weed control applications. Removing weeds without chemical can be a challenge.

Organic can be as simple as using chopped up leaves, grass clippings and pine needles if you have them available. Using your lawn mower to collect grass clippings and leaves is a perfect way to start collecting organic . Read more organic mulch and organic weed control… 

For more information on the various types of mulch materials and other ideas surrounding conservation, refer to The National Resources Conservation Service

Happy mulching!

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