White Shovel Landscapes

Landscaping With Mulch

A Curb Appeal Blog Post by White Shovel Landscapes

When landscaping with mulch, you might ask the age old question of, “why should I use mulch?” It’s a good question, whether it’s new to you or not. To the common observer, mulch is just some raked up stuff mounded up under flower beds for some mysterious purpose. However, you know that there are secrets to this odd assortment of dirt and debris, and you are right to be wary. There is definitely more to mulch than meets the eye. Take a look below for a great grower’s guide on “landscaping with mulch”, and so much more.

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Where Do I Start Landscaping with Mulch?

First thing one should do when considering why should I use mulch, is think of what issues their yard faces. Identifying the problem is the quickest way to make a property presentable, and maintainable. For instance, a mulch garden with proper underlayment can help drastically reduce the amount of maintenance you have to spend, as well as make your garden look as good as it can get! Once you have identified your problem, you can take a look at the many types of mulches that exist in today’s markets. Once you have your mulch chosen, you can either get ready to put in some good old fashioned hard work, or Schedule a Consultation with a Pro who knows what it takes to grow.

What Can I Gain From Landscaping With Mulch?

Now that you know what issues you face, it is time to see what you’re missing that can help you. Below you can find a few of the most popular and efficient uses for mulch of various types, as well as a bit of extra information to help you make the best choice possible. Or at least start you on your info finding adventure to becoming a mulching master.
Yard Drainage Solutions
Mulch can provide some quick solutions to some of the most stubborn of drainage issues. For example, using a closely packed wood chip mulch can help your soil retain more moisture than before. This can help with watering schedules and keeping more moisture dependent plants alive and well. You can also use loosely fitting gravel mulch to help keep an area raised and allow water to run off to a more preferred location.
Weed Barriers

Weeds are the bane of any gardener’s existence. They are almost impossible to keep out of your grass and flower beds, but there are solutions to this. Mulch can act as a great weed barrier if paired with a properly installed underlayment. Some people swear up and down by pine needle or straw mulch to prevent weeds the best, this however is not necessarily the full extent of the truth. While they are good options, rubber and other synthetic/inorganic mulches can help reduce the success rate of weed dispersal. Since the synthetic materials won’t break down quickly, there will be less nutrients to support the weed once it has germinated from it’s seed casing. This will starve the weed and kill it before it has time to get too large. Don’t forget that no weed barrier is permanent, and each one requires its own amount and type of maintenance.

Ground Coverage
Sometimes there are areas that just refuse to grow anything at all, like under oak trees. Did you know that oak trees tend to leak poison into the surrounding soil to prevent other plants from competing with it for nutrients? This can ensure a muddy or patched zone in many areas. This would be a great example of how mulch can make your yard better than ever. Instead of having patchy grass, you can dig down a bit, and cover the area with a decorative cover. River rocks, coconut husks, and cypress chips are just a few types of mulch that can make the difference between balding and beautiful for any landscape.
Curb Appeal & Decorations
If you want your yard looking like a masterpiece, first you will need to move some mulch. No yard is complete without some sort of defining element, whether that’s a tremendous tree, perfect paving, or gorgeous garden. None of these elements will POP like you want them to without having a contrasting border of some sort. There’s a reason why when you think of a nice city park tree, you think of one with a nice bed around it, perhaps even a tiny fence around the base to add to the grandeur. In any case in any circumstance, adding a layer of mulch around your most prized pieces of eye candy will help you bring attention to it like never before.
Insect Barriers
Mulch can act as a great insect barrier. Depending on the pest that’s giving you problems, you can choose an option that either physically prevents movement, or go with a scent based repellent. Cedar chips are widely known for repelling certain ants, roaches, moths, and even some species of termite! Sometimes it can even flat out kill certain pests that try to invade your property. A little more research can be done to find out what your specific battle is, and what mulch-based tool would help you the most.

Landscaping with Mulch, But Which?

Now that you have an idea of what you can use mulch for, it’s time to find out what types of mulch there are. This can be broken down into two main branching points. Decomposing vs non-decomposing mulches are one branch, with heavyweight vs lightweight making up the other.
Organic vs Inorganic

To begin with, one needs to take into consideration whether or not the mulch is decomposable or not. This option is a hard one at times, so let’s break it down and get to the roots of the issue. If you are planning on using the area for anything else in the future, then go with an organic mulch. The reasoning is, inorganic materials don’t decompose and will be there for as long as you are. Meaning that if you decide to expand a garden where a border is, you will have a hard time picking out all of the rocks before it gets to a satisfying state. If you have organic materials that decompose, you can simply remove the majority of it, and mix the rest with some soil to break down over time under the new layer of landscape. Organic materials also can add different nutrients and minerals to your soil over time as they decompose.

Lightweight vs Heavyweight

Next thing up for consideration for why should I use mulch, is whether or not you want a heavy or light material for your bed. Does your area have high winds? Are there objects blocking wind from low lying areas? Do dust devils and such show up on occasion? These are just a few things one should think about. A light material like coconut husks might catch the wind and spread over time. Meanwhile heavier materials such as cedar chips would remain in place for a longer duration.

What is My Yard Missing?

You may be wondering which choice would be best for your yard, and that’s ok. Landscaping with mulch is a hard decision that costs money, time, and effort if you’re doing it yourself. No need to rush into decisions that you might want to change later. If you’re in need of assistance, you can schedule a consultation with a professional landscape designer from White Shovel Landscapes. This way you can get professional guidance, as well as experience our high-tech Photo Design Service that lets you see your yard while it’s still a dream. You can even get a free estimate on your drainage problems if you have any. 

Who Can Help?

White Shovel Landscapes has been the home of the mulch masters since 2009. With over 10 years of experience, the professionals at White Shovel Landscapes can help you step by step to realizing your dream of having the perfect landscape. Schedule today and get your yard in shape with the professionals who know how to grow like a pro.

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