To Mulch or Not to Mulch – That is the Question

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 do you need?

I had a landscape pro from my church stop by and estimate how much I would need and 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 want 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!

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.  I like to use old newspapers!  I have used the huge rolls of plastic, but I prefer newspaper.

If you’re having a hard time choosing mulch, then read this article about finding the right mulch. You can find out everything you need to know about mulch here.

My Decision to go with Black Wood

I had been contemplating black bark mulch for some time when I finally bit the bullet and plunged right in when my husband asked me what I wanted 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 a 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 red bugs or something attacked my arms and face!  So much for applying bug spray and thank God for concealer!

Helpful Hint:  

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 is an old wives tale.  Here’s what really works:  Absorbine Jr.  You will smell horrible, but trust me, it works.

Back to Gardening 

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

Black Wood Mulch


Afterwards, we were filthy, so they showered while I worked a little longer, then 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 gardens now!  (It helps that some of my flowers are now blooming!)


Black Wood Mulch

Black Wood Mulch

Do you mulch?  What’s your fave?

About Alli

Southern, Morning Person, Jesus Girl, Frugal Party Planner, Writer/Blogger, Mom, Nana, Wife, Beach Bum Wannabe - Let's Have a Party!


  1. First: I am SO happy those bugs did not burrow into your skin! Second your flower beds look gorgeous. Is it weird that I really like the smell of mulch? Haha.

  2. I can’t wait to have our own home so I can start a garden!

    • It’s really fun! I just wished I had paid attention to my mom when I was a little girl because she knows the names of all flowers.

  3. I used to buy red mulch because I thought it would look better with my brick house. Then after a few years I found that it looked too ”fake”. I then switched to brown mulch.. and I love it! My sister uses black mulch like you do… and I must say that I think I prefer the black mulch over my brown. I find the black looks more like earth.. so pretty!

    Just like you, I always put my new mulch over my old mulch… I get less and less weeds every year because of it. LOVE THAT!

  4. We mulch and just got 2 tons delivered! Anyone want to come to Pa and help? I hope you are enjoying your summer with that cutie of yours.

    • No, thanks! 🙂 I think I’ve had enough of mulch for this year. I normally have it delivered in early spring. I had to deal with 90 degree weather a couple of days this time. Not fun!

  5. We do the same and get it by the truckload. This year we did it in the veggie garden. Cant’ wait to see how the weeds deal!

  6. Your yard looks so nice. I hate yard work, but I love beautiful yard..I guess I should get over that right?

  7. Melinda Snavley says

    I’m going to do that next weekend I still use the red but my flowers love it. 🙂

  8. Wow the before and after pictures are great! I can really see a huge difference. We have been talking about putting mulch in our flower beds. We probably need to do it pretty soon.

  9. I sooo don’t have a green thumb so I haven’t planted anything before. Your garden turned out great Alli!

    • Thanks, Louida! I didn’t really start gardening until I was in my late 30’s. I didn’t think I had a green thumb, but I really enjoy it now.

  10. Wow, the black mulch looks great Alli! I usually go with red, but I {meaning my husband} might try putting black mulch down this year. To be honest, I do not really feel like putting mulch down with everything going on, but it really stinks if you miss a year!

  11. Pretty!!! My house was originally landscaped with red mulch and I have always put more of that out but last year I went with a dark brown mulch and love it!! I definitely say MULCH!!

  12. Just beautiful! We mulch to, simple with wood chips, but the small kind that composts and helps the soil the get better. There is the Back to Eden Film (free just Google for it) all about mulching in the garden. He compares it with covering, a really great film.

  13. When I lived in Atlanta, I would mulch each spring. I didn’t think that I would like yard work but Ioved making my lawn beautiful. I used Scott’s Mulch in black. I think I bought about 15-20 bags for the front and side… maybe more. I tried using the formula on the back. 🙂

  14. Great post Alli. Your yard and planters look great. Ready for Summer…

  15. Alli, that is a LOT of mulch! We had a dump truck load of top soil delivered several years ago. I had the same thought, lets do it ourselves, great exercise! Never again!
    We mulch constantly in our yard by adding the raked leaves into the flower beds which we top with pine straw. I love the look of fresh layers of pine straw.

  16. I missed this post yesterday! Looks great and that is a lot of mulch. I thought of doing some for my front yard, too. But opted out and went with rocks instead! Your after picture is lovely and the area you live in seems beautiful!

  17. Good stuff Alli. Thanks for sharing.

    I usually use 3 inches of mulch. Found that to be the sweet spot.
    Also, hardwood mulch does the job for me 🙂


  18. I had a bad experience of usage of old newspapers. The weeds went trough it after one(!) season. Now I use branded weed barrier. Some of them can last for decades.

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