types of mulch for landscaping

Types Of Mulch For Landscaping? +[More Tips]

While at the store, I overheard people discussing various landscape mulches they could use. I had no idea one should mulch their landscape. I turned to Google to learn more about the subject to quell my curiosity.

What are the types of mulch for landscaping? 

Organic and inorganic mulch are the types of mulch for landscaping. There is no specific best mulch for landscaping. Since stone mulch isn’t flammable, you should use it around your house. Remember, while laying stone mulch, use landscape fabric.

This article shall assist you in selecting the finest mulch for your landscaping. It’ll also show you how to mulch and the different types of mulch you may use.

Also Check: Shredded Rubber Mulch Vs. Nuggets

Types of Mulch for Landscaping

Organic and inorganic mulches are the two main types of mulch used in landscaping.

Organic Mulch

The main advantage of organic mulch is that it adds nutrients to the soil when it decomposes. While its main disadvantage is it needs constant replacement. Organic mulch includes:

  1. Garden Compost

Compost from the garden is an excellent organic mulch. In your landscaping, compost or well-rotted manure seems highly natural. Make sure your compost is well broken down into fine pieces before applying it.

The compost provides an additional layer of insulation. This layer provides warmth to the soil, making it beneficial during the winter months. Compost also makes nutrients almost instantly available to your plants as it decomposes.

It isn’t easy to gather enough compost to cover your entire landscape. Also, making it from your compost pile takes time.

Compost shouldn’t use it for weed management. This is because its high nutrients encourage weed growth. It would be best to use other types of mulching, such as wood chips, to cover it.

  1. Pine Needles 

Pine needles, often known as pine straw, are excellent mulch for flower gardens. It’s easy to scatter them about because they’re light and fluffy.

As they decay, they don’t condense as much. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about them becoming too thick or forming a rain-proof mat.

The straw needles intertwine and stay put. As a result, pine straw is an excellent mulch for hillsides and other erosion-prone areas. 

When pine straw decomposes, it’ll slightly acidify the soil. This is because pine needles are acidic. Hence, a good mulch for acid-loving plants.

However, their lovely auburn color fades to an unappealing silver-gray tone when pine mulch gets old. 

  1. Dyed Mulch

Dyed mulch is the way to go if you want to be stylish while remaining organic. Today’s dyed mulch comes in a variety of colors. 

The most popular colors include red, black, and brown. 

The water-based dye makes it safe for people and their pets to consume.

Dyed mulches keep their vibrant color for far longer than non-dyed mulches.

  1. Newspaper or Cardboard

You can effectively suppress weeds with shredded black-and-white newspaper or undyed natural cardboard. 

Apply two to three layers of lightweight mulch at a time. It would help if you covered it with heavier organic material, such as leaves to keep it in place. 

It would be best if you avoided colored newspaper pages because they’ll expose the landscape to hazardous dye. Similarly, avoid coated cardboard since they don’t disintegrate quickly. 

  1. Wood Chips

People use tree trunks and branches to make this form of mulch. Manufacturers may treat the wood chip to enhance its ability to suppress weed. They may also color it for beauty. 

The coloring used is purely organic, making it safe for use in your landscape. 

Because of their small size, water can easily wipe them away. For this reason, you shouldn’t use hardwood chips to mulch slopes.

Inorganic Mulch

The main advantage of inorganic mulch is that they are durable. On the other hand, their main disadvantage is that they don’t add nutrients to the soil.

  1. Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is a recycled and crushed product made from discarded tires. The color is long-lasting and holds its shape better than practically any other mulch. 

It generates an insulating layer on top of the soil surface. This helps to keep the soil cool throughout the summer. 

During the colder months, it also helps to reduce heat loss. It doesn’t attract termites, as with some organic mulches.

Shredded rubber mulch doesn’t decompose. Hence, it doesn’t contribute any organic matter to the soil.  

Rubber mulch has an unpleasant stench that can linger long after placement.

It would help if you never used it near your home or garden store because it’s highly combustible.

  1. Stone Mulch

To stabilize garden areas that are prone to washout, use stone mulch. An example includes near downspouts and on hills. For colored stones, you’ll need to be cleaning them regularly to keep them looking new.

Because stones don’t degrade, you don’t need to re-install them every year. They don’t improve your soil over time – this is their biggest downside. They’re also a little pricier than organic mulch.

When using stone as a mulch, be aware that they absorb the sun’s heat. This might raise the soil’s temperature above the tolerance of traditional plant roots. As a result, you should use it mostly with arid plants, such as cactus. They can, however, keep your landscape warm in the spring.

It won’t work well beneath trees since the gravel traps falling leaves and makes the area messy.

  1. Landscape Fabrics 

Landscape fabric is a type of textile that you use to keep weeds at bay. It achieves this by preventing them from getting too much sunlight. 

Usually, you’d place the fabric around desired plants – while still covering regions where you don’t want growth.

 Fabrics can be either synthetic, organic, or recycled materials. The ideal use for landscape fabrics is as mulch around trees and bushes. 

It would be best if you didn’t use it in areas where you’re continually digging. The reason being, you might ruin the cloth.

Should I Use Landscape Fabric Under Mulch?

You should use fabric only under stones and gravel. It prevents the rocks from sinking into the soil. Also, it makes the removal of stones much easier in the future. The cloth prevents weeds from germinating underneath it. 

However, choose a fabric that allows for the passage of water and air. Also, avoid using impermeable plastic if you have trees, shrubs, or other vegetation nearby.

You shouldn’t use landscape fabric to cover organic mulches. It’s preferable to allow them to disintegrate and blend with the soil.

What Is the Best Mulch To Put Around Your House?

It would be best if you put stone mulch around your house.  The reason is it’s not flammable, and it doesn’t attract pests.

Avoid dried plant mulches such as leaves if you live in a wildfire-prone area. It would help if you also stayed away from anything complicated to put out a fire from, such as rubber. 

What Kind of Mulch Is Best for Landscaping?

Tastes and budget are some of the factors that dictate your mulching choice. However, organic mulch produced from wood chips or bark is the best option for landscaping. 

It’s one of the simplest and most affordable ways to ensure your soil’s long-term health.

How Do You Mulch for Landscaping?

To mulch for landscaping, you should remove all weeds first. After that, work in some compost or other nutrients into the soil. Finally, spread a 3-4 inch layer of mulch, keeping plant stems and tree trunks out of the way. 

Remember that extra mulch can harm plants. This is because it prevents water nutrients from reaching the root systems of plants.

What Are the Benefits of Mulching Your Landscape?

Mulch offers a variety of advantages to your landscape. The most common benefits are:

  • Mulch helps the soil retain moisture during extreme heat, so you don’t have to water as frequently.
  •  Mulch keeps your plants in good condition by protecting the ground from baking in direct sunlight.
  • Landscape mulch, composed of organic materials, breaks down over time. In turn, this improves the structure and fertility of your soil.
  • Mulch also keeps weeds at bay by blocking light from reaching the soil. This prevents the weed seeds from germinating. 
  • Mulching prevents erosion by holding the soil together. It also prevents soil-borne illness from splashing onto the plant. 
  • As part of your overall landscape design, it adds color and texture to your land.

Things to Do While Mulching Your Landscape

  1. Avoid Using Fresh Mulch

Mulch materials like hay can hide weed seeds and chemical residues. This type of mulch causes damage to your plants. Allow new mulch to sit for a couple of months to allow any residue to soak off. 

In addition, allow the weed seeds to sprout as well as die. It’s much better if you compost it first before using it.

  1. Get Rid of Weeds Before Mulching

Though thick layers of mulch may possibly smother weeds, they however don’t eliminate weeds that are already grown. It’s, therefore, best to get rid of any large weeds and weed patches before mulching, else they’ll grow through. 

Also, some may continue to spread beneath your mulch.

  1. Avoid Volcano Mulching

Avoid volcano mulching – the practice of heaping mulch against a tree’s root. This traps moisture in the tree’s trunk, fostering decay. Mulch placed against the trunks of young trees may provide shelter for rodents. 

Rodents may gnaw the tree’s fragile bark and eventually kill the tree.

  1. Prevent Mulch From Touching Your House

Mulch may attract insects and rodents to your house. Also, in case of a fire on the farm, it’ll spread quickly into your home.

What Should I Look for When Choosing Landscape Mulch?

When choosing mulch for your landscape and lawn, consider various variables. You might want to think about the following, depending on your goals and what you want to achieve:

  • Cost: Mulch costs vary based on the time of year and the location. It would help if you went for mulch that is pocket-friendly. 
  • Color: The color of mulch should complement your landscape. For example, use a dark-colored mulch in a bright-colored landscape.
  • Origin: You should look for a supplier you can trust if you can’t produce mulch of your own.
  • Durability: Inorganic mulch is more durable compared to organic mulch. Tree-based mulch is, in turn, durable compared to other organic mulch such as shredded leaves.
  • Nutrient content: If nutrients are essential, you should choose organic mulch over inorganic. Since the nutrient content of organic mulch varies from one mulch to another. You should be able to pick the one that suits your landscape.
  • Availability: You need to choose a readily available mulch. And it should be of the correct quantity and quality you desire.


Is It OK To Put Mulch Around Your House? 

Yes! It’s OK to put mulch around your house. You can use inorganic mulch such as gravel or rocks for aesthetic purposes. 

Can You Reuse Old Mulch?

Yes, you can reuse old mulch. Instead of tossing away old mulch, it’s sometimes a good idea to utilize it. You’ll save money by not having to buy mulch as frequently. 

However, before using your old mulch, make sure no animals are dwelling within the mulch. Also, make sure it has no weeds growing in it.

What Is the Best Mulch To Prevent Weeds?

Plastic and cardboard mulch are among the most effective mulches in preventing weeds. Why? 

They create a strong barrier against weed. Even so, a majority of mulches keep weeds out of your landscape.


Regardless of the types of mulch for landscaping you choose, mulching is quite crucial in landscaping. Why? It provides weed control, soil insulation, and a variety of other advantages.

When choosing mulch for your landscape, there are numerous aspects to consider. 

For example, for aesthetics, you should select colored mulch. If you want your mulch to last, you should choose inorganic mulch.

When it comes to mulching, you’ll need to get rid of the weeds first. It’s also crucial not to go over the 4″ restriction, resulting in poor aeration and drainage.

Additionally, it would be best to use organic mulches around your house or store. This is because they’ll attract insects. Also, it would help if you didn’t use rubber mulch near your home because it’s very farmable.

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