Best Mulch For Flower Beds and Landscaping

by Alli

As soon as spring arrives, it’s time to get the yards in order and apply mulch. I think mulch adds so much to a landscaped yard. It looks neat plus it helps keep weeds at bay. 

Over the years I’ve used different types of mulch in my flower beds and around my trees. I started out with pine straw, then went to rubber (I thought it was so cool) then to redwood mulch. My current obsession is black wood. I’m in love!

If you are a beginner gardener, you may be pondering the question, “To mulch or not to mulch?”

To mulch or not?

Mulched gardens are healthier, more weed-free, and more drought-resistant then un-mulched gardens, so you’ll spend less time watering, weeding, and fighting pest problems. And anything that gives me more time is a good thing!  Plus, mulch just looks so neat and tidy!

How much mulch do you need?

A few years ago, I had a landscape pro from my church stop by and estimate how much mulch I would need. it came to 8 yards. That may not sound like a lot, but you should have seen the pile of mulch the dump truck delivered to my house!  

Why did I decide to put out the mulch by myself?  Because at the time it sounded like really good exercise. Note to self: It wasn’t that much fun, but I found muscles I didn’t know I had!

You need at least a 2-3 inch layer of mulch, but I like to put 3-4 because you won’t believe how fast it seems to disappear from one year to the next. Don’t go over 4 inches because too much can suffocate your plants. 

And I always put the new mulch over the old, unless it’s a new flower bed, then I always put a weed barrier down before spreading the new mulch. My favorite weed barrier is old newspapers. I have used the huge rolls of plastic, but I prefer newspapers.

If you’re having a hard time choosing, then read this article about finding the right material. 

Benefits of Mulch

  • Prevents weeds
  • Holds in moisture (you don’t have to water as often)
  • Pretty 
  • Reduces Soil Erosion 
  • Organic Mulch can decompose and add nutrients to the soil.

The only disadvantage is that organic mulch can be home to pests. 

Different Types of Mulch

  • Pine Straw
  • Bark
  • Rubber
  • Leaf
  • Hardwood
  • Glass
  • Stone
  • Crushed Brick 

Post Update: Next spring, I’m thinking about going with crushed brick. Why? I get tired of reapplying mulch every single year. Crushed brick is not organic so it doesn’t decompose and add nutrients. Because it doesn’t decompose, I won’t have to replace it year after year. Touch decisions!

My Decision to go with Black Wood

I had been contemplating black bark for a while when I finally bit the bullet and plunged right in. It was a gift from my husband for Mother’s Day. I know, I know!  Most women do not ask for mulch as a gift, but then again, I’m not most women. So I asked away!

Do you want to know the main reason I went with the black wood?  It’s pretty!

It took me an entire week to put out all of my new mulch because life kept interrupting. I worked for 3-4 hours early every morning. At one point chiggers or redbugs or something attacked my arms and face! So much for applying bug spray and thank God for concealer!

First of all, chiggers nor red bugs burrow down into your skin! Someone told me that they did and freaked me out so I had to research the heck out of it. Also, putting clear fingernail polish on the bites did not work for me. Here’s what really works: Absorbine Jr.  You will smell horrible, but trust me, it works.

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Back to Gardening 

My grandsons helped me one morning and we really got a lot of work done!


Afterward, we were filthy, so they showered while I worked a little longer. After I showered, we had a bubble blowing contest and played Cutthroat Bridge. 🙂

Bubblegum Contest

Logan won!

Here’s how my flower beds looked before applying the new mulch!

Before New Mulch

My flower beds looked tired, neglected, sad, rejected, etc.

Here are some of my flower beds now!  (It helps that some of my flowers are now blooming!)

Black Wood Mulch

I love how my flower beds look now! All the hard work and sore muscles are well worth it. 

Black Wood Mulch