Landscaping Ideas for Mulch

Shredded mulch around bedding plants image by S.F. Heron

Overview

Mulching around bedding plants, shrubs and trees creates a finished look to a garden that can't be achieved with exposed soil. Manufacturers shred hardwood, pine or cedar into chips or nuggets for application to the soil areas of your garden. Mulch discourages weed growth and helps maintain the moisture levels of your garden. Over time, mulch breaks down to provide rich nutrients to the soil. Mulch also helps keep soil temperature stable, which aids plants in healthy root growth. Landscaping with mulch simply adds the final touch to your gardens, giving the landscape a tailored, finished look.

Types of Mulch

Choosing a type of mulch for your gardens depends on what look you want for the landscape. There are two general types of mulch, which includes organic and inorganic mulches. Organic mulch breaks down over time and consists of wood, straw or pine needles. Inorganic mulch includes rocks, gravel and stone. The type of mulch you use in your gardens simply depends on personal preference. However, organic mulch breaks down and requires reapplication every year. Rocks, gravel and pebbles create a lasting, finished look to the garden and don't require replacement.

Finishing Touches

Like the final coat of paint on a wall, mulch adds a polished look to a garden. Choosing mulch requires analyzing your entire landscape to choose the proper finishing touch. Shredded wood mulches tend to be lower in cost. Stones or gravel add incredible contrast to a garden, brightening the hues of the plants. Choose the garden covering that best accents your plants and blends with the landscape. Wood mulches can be used anywhere for a refined look. Adding stone or pebbles requires a little more thought. Stone comes in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so you can choose mulch colors to accent your edging or home exterior. Continuing a rock color from a retaining wall or choosing a contrasting stone color adds pizazz to a garden. In addition, creating a garden with one section of mulch and another portion with stone to create texture and transition in the garden. Spread mulch on each side of gravel garden bed to create a distinctive focal point in your garden.

Other Types of Mulch

Your overall objective lies in choosing mulch that accents the home and shows off your prized plants. Mulch should not only enhance the look of your gardens but also the look of the home exterior. Organic mulches include wooden mulches as well as other materials. Pine needles are commonly used as a mulch material in the southern United States. Pines grow abundantly there and the natural shedding allows for instant mulch without much effort. This attractive ground cover blends nicely with all types of landscape plants. Grass clipping form a tremendous nutrient base in vegetable gardens. In addition, grass clippings decompose to rejuvenate the soil as well as reduce the presence of weeds. Straw can also be used to retain moisture and limit weeds although this choice isn't as attractive as shredded wood mulches or rocks. Regardless of the kind of mulch you use, apply a 3- to 4-inch-deep layer of mulch. Mound mulch around the bases of plants to improve moisture retention.

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: S.F. Heron

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | Landscaping Ideas for Mulch