How to Add $10,000 in Landscaping for $30 This Weekend.

O.K. You have an entire yard to landscape and less than one day and $100 to do it.  Can it be done? Yes. Do you need to sign up for Trading Places and risk your neighbours filling your yard with fake flowers made from mattress coils and spray paint?  No.

Front porch of heritage house with gardens and lawn looking a bit bedraggled.

My niece moved in with her boyfriend who lives just up the street from me. That move closer to me has provided us with lots of time for sharing things like my homemade pizza, my garden tools, my furniture and my advice.  A couple of weekends ago she decided the grown up thing to do would be to landscape the front of their house a little bit. Hydrangeas and lavender were decided upon.  I told her now all she needed to do was dig up a bed, stick the plants in and mulch.

Niece:  Mulch?

Me:  Yeah, you know, mulch.  If you only do ONE thing make it mulch.  Except the bright red stuff.  Never use the bright red mulch.

Niece:  Why?

Me:  Because it’s hideous.

Niece: No, why do I have to mulch?

Me: (a bunch of nasty swear words, fist pounding and head shaking, ending with me declaring … ) YOU’RE NO NIECE OF MINE!!! 

After I calmed down a bit I explained to my niece that the single easiest, cheapest way to make a home look landscaped is to put down mulch.  Even if you don’t put in a SINGLE plant, mulching will make it look like you did something dramatic.

Like you care about your home and are very particular about it even though you’d really rather dig out a plantar’s wart than garden.  (this isn’t the case for me of course but some people aren’t as fond of gardening as I am)

Mulching your desolate, dried out garden beds is like putting Spandex on a wrinkly old saggy body.  It just makes everything look tight and put together.

I loaned her my edger to cut out her beds (which is why my garden beds aren’t edged yet) and then ran out to buy some mulch so I could show her the difference it makes.  The above shot is my garden bed without mulch.

Below is a bed with newly laid Spandex.

Front porch of a heritage home with newly mulched garden bed and espaliered apple tree.

Tight.

I use natural, cedar mulch which is the same colour as the bricks on my house to begin with but softens to a more weathered, lighter colour once it dries out.

Again, before mulch …

Front lawn and garden beds surrounded by white picket fence pre-mulch looking sad.

After mulch …

 

Newly mulched garden beds with a small area of grass, confined within a white picket fence.

It has a bigger impact than planting the entire garden with $10,000 worth of plants would have.  All for the price of $30.  12 bags of mulch at $2.50 each.  Once I edge the beds and reseed my tiny little lawn it’ll look like I spent a lot more money and time in this spring garden bed than I have. Of course all the perennials have to fill out still.

As soon as I took these quick shots with my iPhone I sent them to my niece. Her response was … “Ah, I see.” 

 I was expecting a response more along the lines of “This is the greatest day of my life, my view of the world will never be the same, and in all my years of University I never received such valuable information. I bow down to … ”  That kind of thing.  Something more reasonable.

I still have a few bags to put down but that’ll be done in no time this weekend.  So if you have a sad looking yard and no money or energy to put into landscaping it at the moment, do your self a favour, grab $50 or so, head to a local hardware store or landscape place and pick up as much cedar mulch as you can fit into your car. Not only will it do great things for your landscaping it makes one hell of a car air freshener.

Why not black mulch?  Even though I like black mulch and think it can look great with a lot of homes, it’s filled with dyes and other things I don’t want my chickens accidentally eating. Or the vegetables I grow in my front yard. I don’t want them eating black mulch juice either.

This is the first long weekend to kick off the summer in Canada so I’ll be off Monday.  I’ll see you back here on Wednesday with the update on my hinged hoop house, The Hinged Hoop House 2.0.

Have a good weekend!

 

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

Make a $10,000 improvement to your  garden beds with $50 worth of mulch and a couple of hours.  Granted, it\'s *perceived* value, but trust me on this.  NOTHING makes your yard look better for less than MULCH.

74 Comments

  1. Lynn Johanson says:

    None of the pictures came through for me…. I wanna seeeeeee………
    Lynn

  2. Lynn Johanson says:

    I rebooted my computer and the pics came up. So it’s not you it’s me. (Where have I heard that before?)
    Lynn

  3. Gaeyl Kanter says:

    Appreciate the concept of yard spandex . Thanks .

  4. urbangardener says:

    I love the look of the darker mulches and from what I’ve read the dyes are carbon and iron oxides that aren’t harmful to the environment. But that they were developed to hide the contaminants? Every brand I read about has people complaining about finding nails, blue tape, bits of plastic (and presumably, treated wood) I’m in the city, there is 130+ years of garbage in my garden already, I’m not looking to introduce more! It’s so depressing. You can’t even buy undyed mulch at most of the shops around here. I don’t love the color of the shredded cedar, but at least I know it’s not hiding any fresh pollutants.

  5. Lynn says:

    Sorry…with your niece on this one. Don’t get mulch. It looks nice but what a pain in the @ss. What do you do in the fall when your beds are full of a gazillion leaves like mine. Can’t blow them off, can’t rake them off. Remove all the mulch? Where do you put it? Maybe cedar mulch is different than those awful chipped wood pieces?

    • Karen says:

      Well actually, my niece sent me a picture a couple of days ago with her newly dug up garden bed … mulched. Lol! I’ve never noticed a problem with raking leaves for whatever reason but regular mulch does lay a bit more like a flat carpet after it has settled than bark mulch does. Bark mulch remains more jagged and loose. ~ karen!

    • Ryan Nastaj says:

      It’s called yard work for a reason. Have some pride, and yes you can blow, take, pick up.. obviously you dont blow full power

      • Karen says:

        O.K. Ryan, let’s everybody calm down, lol. It’s just mulch. I have a feeling the bark is more difficult for removing leaves from. I’ll find out in the fall, because I just put bark down instead of regular mulch in my vegetable garden. ~ karen!

        • Lynn Clark says:

          Thank you all for your comments! Didn’t get All the Posts. Ryan, my blower only blows. Have 11 acres and hundreds of trees. This spring it took me 3 days just to move the leaves. Wouldn’t even bother…prefer not to have grass but the previous owner thought an acre of grass was a good thing. Back on topic…will try the cedar mulch in the beds. You have convinced me. Thanks again!

    • Kara says:

      I use pine bark mulch, the mini nuggets are what they’re called on the bag. I never have a problem blowing leaves and pine needles off of mine. Once it’s settled and been rained on a few times the mulch is pretty heavy and compacted. It still looks good, but it doesn’t move around or blow away.

      • Toni says:

        Blowing leaves OFF your mulch? Does. not. compute. Leaves ARE mulch! 🙂 They will break down over the winter and feed the soil and become more mulch? I scour the neighbourhood each fall to steal other people’s leaves to use as my mulch, lol.

    • Lindsay says:

      Lynn,

      I mulched my entire yard and I used sheets of cardboard underneath the mulch. I have never seen devil grass or any other weeds poke up. It’s great.

    • Carole says:

      Please don’t use those chipped wood pieces. I opened a bag of them and they were full of termites. I had put down bags of them to spruce up the curb appeal of my home that had been mulch deficient and while it improved the looks it also created a termite problem. I had to rake out that chipped wood mulch and replace it with the cedar which is naturally termite resistant.

  6. Brenna says:

    OMG! Thank you!!! I’ve been debating whether I should throw some mulch on the grass covered mounds around my house. Wondering if it’s worth the effort. Apparently the answer is YES!
    So, question…
    If grass has taken over my beds, can I just cover with mulch or do I need to….weed? Ugh! Can I just blast it with a propane torch? Or cover it with weed barrier?

    • Karen says:

      You need to weed I’m afraid. How you deal with it depends on what kind of grass. Is it regular grass or Quack grass (that grows from rhizomes)? The only way to kill the grass without weeding is to cover it with cardboard or something, and then lay down around 7″ of soil on top of it and then the mulch. Soooo, probably weeding is easier. Once you weed the grass you can put down the mulch. Weed barrier doesn’t really do much for stopping grass from growing, it just pokes right through it. ~ karen!

    • Debra Johnston says:

      One thing I’ve found can work – and save A LOT of effort – is to put down a thick layer of paper and then the mulch. The paper is enough to keep the weeds down and the paper eventually decomposes. You can use newspaper (3-6 sheets/layer) but I use the paper bags the charcoal we use in our barbecue come in. Thick paper bags should work too. It’s not a permanent solution like landscape cloth but helped me dramatically cut down on the forget-me-nots that were taking over EVERYTHING. With grass, a bit of weeding might help. And I will find out because I have one bed out front with exactly this problem. Good luck.

  7. Christy says:

    I didn’t know that about black mulch. I will def switch to the cedar color.

    Btw, when I was a kid I thought my mother made the word mulch up. Lol.

  8. whitequeen96 says:

    Wow! That certainly does look a lot better! But I have a question; can cedar mulch provide a home for termites?

    I had them once before and had to move out for a couple of days while my house was tented. It was expensive, and people thought it was because I had roaches! I definitely don’t want to get termites again!

    • Karen says:

      I actually have no idea! We don’t have a ton of termites where I am in Canada. But I can say that anything like leaves or mulch that’s directly against the house can provide a place for insects to live. ~ karen!

      • Tara says:

        Yes, I used to use the same cedar mulch but had to switch to rocks because of termites.

        • Tina says:

          Cedar, real cedar, repels bugs. That’s the whole point of old cedar chests. But I get my shaved cedar from the sawmill. I think the crap in the bags is mulch painted cedar color. Real cedar smells good.

  9. judy says:

    I want mulch-I am old I don’t drive but I must have me some mulch,also some sleep…..please

  10. Marna says:

    Looks good! I use mulch to help keep moisture in the soil mostly, and it sure looks nice. 🙂

  11. Paula says:

    Do you have Sweet Peet in Canada?
    It’s a brand of partially decomposed mulch which does not rob the soil of nitrogen.
    Excellent stuff.

    As for leaf blowing- the mulch “ knits” itself together over the summer forming a penetrable web-like “cloth”. The leaves can be raked (or blown) sacrificing some, but not all, of the mulch. Just be careful.

    Great post!

  12. Donna Maxwell says:

    I am huge fan of mulch! I have an arborist in my neighbourhood who will deliver it for free so that is even better. Makes my yard look amazing, keeps the weeds down and my dog cleaner. Even have the husband on board….finally

  13. Traci says:

    Here in PA, I’m a fan of pine bark nuggets. I think they look beautiful and they do a better job for me at suppressing the nonstop assault of weeds we get here. With regular mulch, it takes at least a solid 6″-8″ to have any effect on weeds. With the pine bark nuggets, 3″-4″ does the trick.

  14. Karin Sorensen says:

    Dear Karen,

    this is the greatest day of my life, my view of the world will never be the same, and in all my years of University I never received such valuable information.

    I bow down to you, Empress of the Getting Shit Done Universe, Queen of Awesome. You are my inspiration, my muse, a constant reminder to stop whining and and get fluffin’ going already.

    Like that? :0B

    Have a great weekend

    Karin

  15. Eileen says:

    You can get a bag of mulch for $2.50????? Canadian????
    holy shit. Maybe I’ll rent a truck and drive up there and buy mulch to bring down here to the Mid-Atlantic where the crappiest bag of mulch (shredded construction garbage, anyone?) costs $3.99. My favorite ridiculous thing is “brown” dyed mulch. I think dyed mulch is the stupidest thing ever…why would you want to add unknown contaminents to your garden? Even if they are supposedly minerals and such…what does that do to soil composition as it leaches out?

    • Debbie says:

      I know! $2.50 Canadian? Wow! I just got through paying $7.50 for a 2 cubit foot bag of mulch and I think I put down about 30 bags between my front yard, back yard and side yard and I have a small zero lot line property! I will probably be putting down a few more bags soon as I just finished putting in drip emitters on my whole property and unfortunately disturbed everything. However, the amount of weeding I have to do is about 10 minutes once a week and my plants don’t get sunburned or dried out. Saves a ton of our precious water as well.

      For those of you who don’t have the backs to get mulch in your yard (I am getting there rapidly), there are places that will pipe it in for you (they do it on playgrounds on the time). Expensive but it can be done (or hire a garden company to do it).

      Also on the question re: cedar mulch attracting termites, it generally doesn’t. The resins in it tend to keep termites away along with other bugs. Cypress mulch does the same thing as well.

      • -Mel says:

        We use soil conditioner (basically wood chips chopped up really fine) as mulch. We get it for $2.97/bag, the volume discount for 30+ bags, at Home Depot here in North Atlanta. It looks great and last so much longer than the pine straw mulch common in this area.

  16. Kathy Renwald says:

    I endorse this idea 100 percent.

  17. Tamara says:

    I’m new to your blog and just found your 2012 front yard garden photos. Have you ever given out the plans for your tomato pyramid? I love it! I used coloured mulch only once – the dye comes out everywhere. Yuck!

    • Karen says:

      Tomato pyramid? I had a tomato pyramid?? LOL. I don’t remember! Oh wait! It might have been a lattice type thing I bought! I think I remember it. I didn’t make it, I bought it on sale. 🙂 ~ karen!

  18. Etta says:

    The very best mulch is cocoa bean shell mulch….but you have to live close to Hershey, Pennsylvania and be willing to spend beaucoup bucks. But when it rains or the sun shines on it it smells SOOO good. And I believe it is bugproof.

    • Pam'a says:

      Actually, Etta it’s available in Nebraska, and if you keep an eye on the sales, the price is comparable to wood mulch– Plus, since the pieces are smaller, a bag goes farther than wood. DOUBLE plus: The smell of cocoa for the first couple of days!

      Oh, and a thought about black mulch– It absorbs heat. Not optimal for Midwestern summers. 😎

  19. Jenny says:

    We use natural cedar mulch as well–the color starts out a little startlingly bright sometimes, but fades to a neutral brown. Mulching goes a long way to hide the fact that my husband and I are not green thumbs. 🙂
    We have been mulching religiously since we moved in about 5 years ago (it somehow disappears over the winter) and this year it came back to bite us–our mulch got compacted/matted (from over mulching last year? No idea, but I suppose so) and started choking the life out of some of our flower beds. So we (aka my husband as I am pregnant and not so bendy right now) have been raking up and disposing of matted mulch so that we can replace it with new, loose mulch that lets air and water through.

  20. Mary W says:

    We use pine straw here as pine is a huge agriculture produce in Florida. The needles are bagged and delivered for less that $3 per huge bale. We add it every year and it looks so nice immediately! The slightly acid needles make our oak, azaleas and crepe myrtle look like stars. It breaks down into tiny black slivers of dirt and enriches the sandy soil. It is very prickly to put out but easy and quick to lay. We do it to cut down on weeds since we get so much rain. Even the garden gets its share. Speaking of weeds, I’ve become addicted to a morning cup of dandelion tea (from the flowers). It is so good and packed with vitamin C. Helps regulate my blood sugar and adds lots of iron and potassium. I pick 5 heads, pull the petals out, drop into a cup of boiling water and add a bit of honey as it already tastes like honey but needs a bit of sweetner. Also can pour over ice for iced dandelion tea. Please try before pulling them up or killing them – such a nutritious/delicious plant.

  21. Bethany Jones says:

    I just spent 8 bucks to mulch just outside our apartment patio. We don’t own it, but it looks so much better!

  22. Brandi G. says:

    How do you keep your chickens from kicking up the mulch everywhere?? I recently decided to mulch a couple trees in our front yard, and it wasn’t 10 minutes and the chickens had it nicely spread across the yard! I’m going to try again with some sort of border on it, but they’ve also jumped into my larger potted plants and kicked mulch out of those too…so I’m not too hopeful in the border being much of a barrier.

  23. Shawna says:

    can you show me what the edger is and how it works? I just use a spade and it’s tedious

  24. Oriah says:

    I always treat mulching like the crowning jewel of my hungry garden. I’m in the middle of transplanting all the volunteers to “permanent” homes around the yard and then i’ll put my annual ton of mulch in the yard for it to eat. My yard eats a ton Every. Single. Year. On the bright side, i’ve gone from having nothing but red clay in the yard to having 8-10 inches of black topsoil. I went to a bait shop after buying my house because the clay didn’t support worms and once i did some initial landscaping and mulching, i set them free to eat and multiply. They are my wiggly ground children.

  25. Barb says:

    Thank you so much! I guess some peeps might think this is a no-brainer but these are the kind of tips I need! If you have any other ideas like this please share. Keep them coming!

    And I wondered too. Do you have Netflix? We’ve been watching a UK show called Big Dreams, Small Spaces. The host is Monty Don and it’s such a lovely show. I’m probably not going to do 90% of what they show but I’ve gleaned some good tips and the host and the show are just so warm and friendly and soothing. Every show features two different families and their yards and sometimes a “theme”. Just watched the one where a woman had a “gone-wild” allotment that she wanted to tame and have a place to keep bees. 🙂

  26. WestCoast Nan says:

    I get composted mulch from the dirt farm, it is a bit darker than yours but I was told it was better than cedar or other bark mulches (could have been the slick salesman)…

  27. Cat says:

    Thanks for the graphic illustration of the impact of mulch. And thanks also for the education about why you shouldn’t use black mulch (we don’t need to discuss the disgusting red stuff).

    I’ve forwarded your email to my resident gardener (aka Gandalf) for his edification.

    Enjoy your long weekend.

  28. blue says:

    Mulch makes things look like they were done on purpose. I’m converting over to all native plants, which most people think look like weeds. Put some mulch around it and they don’t know the difference.

  29. Kelsey says:

    I have a question about your drip irrigation system, but I figured I’d be more likely to get a reply on your most recent post! My garden is about 15′ x 20′ and I’d like to get a drip irrigation system. You said the irrigation kit 2000 is best for most gardens, but does it say anywhere how many square feet that kit is good for? I couldn’t find it anywhere on the site!

  30. Mr Embarrassed says:

    Um. Hi. I’m Tony and I have covered a front yard in red bark.
    “Hi Tony”
    After many of these counseling sessions I no longer feel compelled to use red bark. I don’t get tempted when I see it in stores. Old picture remind me of how it ruined my life.
    But I’m feeling better now. I’m not ashamed to tell people I used to have a red bark problem.

    My wife referred me to this blog. I don’t know if it was to shame me for the red, or to encourage me to bury the currently weed-infested yard with mulch. Frankly we have had a lot of problems with leaves in bark and I do think mulch will be tougher for leaf removal. But whatever we put down, we need to keep it away from the edge of the yard where it meets the sidewalk. Otherwise it works its way out there, gets real messy for the passers-by, and needs to be swept back. Our plan/solution for that is to border the yard with a fence or something like Karen has, to keep dogs out, then maybe a rock border within (heavier and harder to find its way outside), then the mulch/bark to keep it within the limits. Also – mulching deep is a REALLY good idea. At least 4 inches. Otherwise weed seeds will get through too easily. Those are lessons learned and shared … from a former red bark addict.

  31. Marilu Rudez says:

    A big tip of the hat for your comment about Trading Spaces. I once saw them liberally cover the walls of a home with chicken feathers, from top to bottom. Clearly the home owner’s aesthetic was less sophisticated than they had hoped. I’m certain that your idea will be snatched up in a trice!

    Thank you! I wish one of MY aunts had cared enough to give me the mulch talk. Mulch it is! First, I have to rake and haul off the ton of hideous red rocks some quick sale genius liberally distributed in my yard. Try raking leaves and pine needless out of those things. News flash: Even small rocks are heavy! Do mulch, not rocks.

  32. Pam says:

    Where do you live that you can get bags of mulch for 2.50. It’s more like 8-10 here. We have found wood chips at the bulk yard for 12 a yard. Not as fine as mulch. It is pre mulch but doesn’t get fungus or mold.

  33. Idaho Girl says:

    Mulch has been the cherry on top of my yard for a while now and needs to be refreshed most years. I like to 1st re-edge any areas where the grass is creeping into the flower beds – if you wait until after you mulch, you dump dirt on top of your pretty new mulch. I also do any plant dividing and moving prior to this, as well as adding compost around perennials if I’m feeling really ambitions. I use a steel kind of half round tool with a lip on top that you stomp on, then flip the inside dirt up to create a clean edge and kind of 45 degree angle that lets you put the mulch a little deeper next to the the grass. It does help slow down the grass intrusion, but I do have to clean mine up every year or 2. I get my mulch down here at the local big box store during their yearly memorial day sale when it’s $2 for a 2 cubic foot bag. I’ve priced out having it delivered by the yard to my driveway, but it’s actually cheaper this way even before adding a delivery fee for the bulk (and I can lug each bag over to where I need it rather than reshoveling mulch from the driveway pile, which to me is way more work). They even load all those bags into the back of my SUV for me. I always end up with a few more bags than I need, and have not had problems stacking unopened bags by the shed and using them the next spring. I have 60 year old trees that drop a LOT of leaves, and haven’t had problems blowing or raking them out of the mulch as long as you’re not in a big hurry. Karen is so right – this is an easy yard improvement that creates a super satisfying result. Oh, and remember when you’re putting mulch around plants to leave at least an inch between the mulch and the plant crown to help avoid rotting your plants!

  34. Robin Carter says:

    Hey Lookie!

    I have your logo meat cleaver (attached) in real life! So maybe you should give me your lovely old butcher block so I’d have a “set” ya think?? 😉

  35. Alena says:

    There ain’t such a thing as a $2.50 bag of cedar mulch in Ontario.

    • Karen says:

      Lowes, Rona, Canadian Tire and Home Hardware have all had bags of cedar mulch on sae for $2.50, (regular $3-$3.50). Lowes actually had it for $1.99 a 2 cu ft bag earlier in the season. ~ karen!

  36. I completely agree!!! I’m addicted to the dramatic look of mulch. I absolutely love prepping a fast new bed, tossing in a few clearance plants I’ve collected, then topping it with mulch. Minimal investment, looks beautiful, and typically minimal care. Then I can spend all of my time, money, and energy on more important things around our Homestead!

  37. Erin says:

    I am converting all my outdoor veg beds into no-till, so yes, mulch is the name of the game this spring. It’s coming in by the truckloads, but so much lighter to work with than topsoil!
    Love the spandex comparison. thats gonna keep me giggling while I shovel.

  38. Sophia says:

    Love reading your articles. Hope I can get cedar mulch in Ohio, haven’t seen it used here yet. Black mulch is everywhere! I’m going to ask you, Karen, to get into the way back machine and please tell me what shelves you used to put together your stunning white shelves feature in the magazine article. I’ve been staring at them for months and need to know. I must be crazy but I am converting a two-family into a one-family home and some furniture no longer works. I can’t spend a fortune on new pieces and need to be as creative as Karen! Just a Dream to be as creative cause but I bet I can swear as well!

  39. Kristi says:

    Can you post a picture of this edger thingy? How do you use it to cut out a flower bed? Thanks!

  40. Heather says:

    Thank you, Karen! Until today, I was wondering how to hide a hideous mound of weed-filled dirt, the result of a path that was excavated a couple of years ago. My plan now is to pull the weeds before they are monsters, stick some rocks in here and there and plant flowers. Then, I’ll mulch around it all. Done! Now, instead of feeling miserable when I look out at the mound I’ll feel happy. 🙂

  41. Yabut says:

    My rock river has mulch on either side. It’s the bright red stuff and looks great. I considered getting more for the rest of the flower garden too but there was no more available just then so I had to wait until the following year. What I learned by waiting is that I don’t want more mulch. Even with the landscaping fabric laid down first, the weeds worked their way through. I found it harder to pull the weed roots through the fabric than I ever did just pulling them out of the ground. I have decided further mulching is not going to happen here.

  42. Meg says:

    Ahh finally got a chance to read this post.

    Sooooooooooooo. I have ALL the questions. I have an apartment, and it’s got mulched beds. I’m TOTALLY gardening this year because I CAN. But…do I just move the old mulch, plant my plants, and then pile back the old mulch? Do you keep simply adding mulch year after year? Or do you remove it all first? Do you compost it? Do you do this *every* year? Does it change the Ph of the soil?? Does it get…bugs? Do you let the chickens dig in it? Do I just dump it on the ground, and voila, mulch?!

    My Dad always got the red mulch and I just hated it so much I thought all mulch was just a REALLY AWFUL IDEA. So I know literally nothing about it other than Rule 1) Do Not Buy Bright Red Mulch.

    • Karen says:

      Here we goooooo …. Yup, just move the old mulch and plant your plants. Yes you add mulch year after year. Sometimes you can get away with adding it only once every 2 years. Cedar mulch is good for the soil it decomposes on its own over time. It doesn’t attract any buts here in Ontario. Chickens are fine to dig in it because it’s natural cedar, but I don’t let the chickens into any part of the yard with nice mulched beds anyway. Cedar shavings aren’t good for bedding for chickens but they’re fine for running around in. Yes, you just drop it on the ground and voila, mulch! Glad to hear you know the number one rule, sorry to hear it’s from experience, lol. ~ karen!

  43. Renee Ryz says:

    We can get cocoa bean mulch at Menards here in suburban Chicago area. The only thing that I disliked about it was that it would get a whitish mold on it and I would have to refluff it. I am fortunate that our village public works dept puts all the chips from the trees they chipper up in a huge pile near the public works building. It’s take what you want – FREE, along with larger logs that we can snag & put through the log splitter for fire pit also FREE. Check with your area, the public works may have this available too. It’s not as glamorous as cedar mulch, but ya can’t beat free!

  44. Heather Sykora says:

    I looked into sheet mulching and it works quite well. Here in Texas with St. Augustine grass, one layer of cardboard or a few paper bags and 2-3 inches of mulch will kill all the grass beneath it. It is working great for me. I planted a few perennials that will fill out over the years.

  45. Lynn Clark says:

    Holy sh!t! Mulch is a hot topic. Who knew 😂

  46. Debbie says:

    Karen, what do you do about your little baby perenials under all that mulch? is that a thing? or a problem?

  47. Leah says:

    Ugh. I had convinced myself that for the first time since I purchased this house, I would NOT put fresh cedar mulch in my garden this year. But I couldn’t resist after seeing your pictures. 30 bags of mulch later ($3.65 ea US), my house does indeed look like a million bucks.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, it really does make a big difference. I thought the same thing this year but nope. I bought mulch, lol. For me it’s not the cost because I get it so cheap, but it’s the pain of loading up my car with bags and bags of mulch. ~ karen!

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