How To Properly Mulch Your Yard In 5 Simple Steps
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Growing a garden is one of those powerful and unexpectedly significant life experiences that not only please the eye but also teach us careful watchfulness, patience and calm. Although it may seem like just an irrelevant pastime, growing plants easily turns into an experience that subliminally instills structure while encouraging hope and serenity. There’s something so exceptionally joyful about seeing what you’ve planted grow, isn’t there? And, when your end-result is as overwhelmingly beautiful as a properly nurtured garden can be – the pride and happiness behind it are almost palpable.
The marriage of green and colorf makes each garden beam with beauty. Naturally, to both achieve that beauty and make it last, you have to have just a few gardening skills under your belt. And, for a little extra “manicure” in your garden (apart from the fancy lampshades, patio furniture and orient-inspired baldachins and decorations), the key aspect comes down to mulch. Yes, mulch.
How’s Mulch Going To Make Any Difference?
This inexpensive garden-element does an amazing job at keeping plants well watered and weeds at bay. However, for it to serve its purpose the way it should, there are a few techniques to mulching that you should master. If you’re somewhat new to this whole gardening and mulching thing, we’re breaking down the mastery of mulching into five simple steps. Read on…
Select The Area You Want Mulched – And Conquer (It)
Before you take any action, you should first decide what areas of your yard need mulching. Do know that you can go either way – mulch the entire yard or just around certain plants or flower beds, you’ll still need some time and effort to make it work.
NOTE: Depending on your end goal (visually speaking), you should opt for what agrees with the rest of your garden and your outdoor décor. Usually, walkways, spaces around shrubs and trees and flower beds look pretty amazing mulched.
Put Some Thought Into Designing The Mulching Area
If you are mulching the whole yard, there’s no need to implement any type of design. However, if you are going for something specific, you’ll definitely have to think about:
- The size of the (mulched) area
- The shape of the (mulched) area
- The lining elements of the (mulched) area
For instance, if you’re mulching around a bed of roses, you may consider edging the area with grass pavers, timber, rope lights, stones, wood, brick or bedding borders alike. They will help hold the mulch in place and give the yard a very warm, luxurious and neat look.
Find The Right Kind Of Mulch
There are three types of mulch you can use:
- Store-purchased mulch
A traditional way of getting your mulch in order is by going down to your local store and purchasing a few bags of it. Simple and easy.
- Yard-scraped mulch
Old yard scraps and leaves can serve perfectly well as mulch, as long as you’ve got the time to let it compost. Gather the material (i.e. scrapes and leaves) in a pile and have it placed around the yard, where needed. If you don’t have enough material in the yard, you can always contact your local tree service and get a load of wood chips from them.
- Custom-made mulch
Creating your own mulch may be extremely fun, especially if gardening is your zen-time. Creating mulch on your own can be done virtually each time you cut down a tree or any other plant that produces brush. You will need to run this material through a wood chipper in order to create chips/mulch.
Have The Tools Ready
We’d love to say applying mulch is a piece of cake, but we can’t; doing this the right way will take some time and energy but the end result will be worth it.
So, the tools (we’re using the term “tools” loosely here) you need are as follows:
- Gloves – Save yourself from the uncomfortable (and painful!) blisters and protect your hands. Make sure the gloves you choose are thick and serve the purpose.
- Wheelbarrow – A wheelbarrow will help lug mulch around the yard. Although, technically speaking, you could do the mulching without a wheelbarrow, you’d be looking at some serious back pain in that case.
- Shovel/garden hose/pitchfork – Any of these three tools are perfect for spreading the mulch around. Still, depending on your mulch placement, each serves a different purpose. For instance, while a garden hose will help with small mulched spaces, a pitchfork will help you load the mulch onto and off the wheelbarrow.
Spread It Like You Mean It
We come to the fun and easy part – spreading the mulch! With all the above in place, you’ll take care of this one in a second (well, not literally – but you know).
Before you apply the mulch though, smooth out the area you plan on mulching to avoid lumps and holes. Consider adding landscape fabric over the area so you don’t spend a lot of time pulling weeds. Basically, all you need is a landscaping fabric laid over the ground and little cutout holes in the fabric for the plants to breathe. This way, the plants have access to the surface, making the surface look super neat and beautiful. The tricky part about this though is that you have to plant everything before laying the landscape fabric on the surface; otherwise, it’s too much work going back and adding new plants.
Once you’ve laid out the fabric (or didn’t), you may begin throwing mulch around. Cover the entire area and then add an additional second and third layer (optional). The thicker the mulch, the longer it takes the mulch to compost and the harder it is for weeds to get through. Be extra careful when applying the mulch around the plants – covering them up with mulch will kill them. Instead of covering them up, just pile the mulch around each plant carefully.
To maintain mulch in its best condition, check it for compaction once a month. If too compacted, loosen it up a bit with your garden tools to allow the water and air to pass.
Good luck with your mulching sessions and we do hope our tutorial helped!