Mulch being used in flower garden

Choosing the Right Bark Mulch

How can anyone decide what mulch to use when there are so many different types? If you find yourself unsure of which type to use, don’t sweat! You aren’t the only one wondering. Before we jump in, here are a few benefits of using mulch in your landscape:

  • Retains moisture
  • Regulates temperature
  • Suppresses weed growth
  • Reduces erosion
  • Allows water permeation
  • Supports beneficial organisms (needed for healthy soil)
  • Provides excellent aesthetics

“Let me put this into context for you. Imagine you were lying outside completely naked and fully exposed to the sun all day. How would your skin feel? What would it look like? Dry, cracked, burnt? Well, the same thing happens to your soil when it has no cover. The sun sucks the moisture out, heats it up and dries it out.”

-Big Impact Landscaping, Bendrick (2017)

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets get into choosing the perfect groundcover for your landscape. We’ve outlined our 3 most popular types of mulch plus included some reasons why you would choose one over the other.

Mulch in backyard with crushed rock
Gorilla hair shredded redwood mulch groundcover

Gorilla Hair Mulch

Derived from Shredded Redwood

An exceptionally long-lasting, decorative groundcover, this material is fibrous, fuzzy in nature and rich in color. It increases moisture retention and weed reduction.

Best Uses:

  • Best used on hillsides and slopes
Montana bark nuggets mulch for potted plant
Montana bark nuggets mulch groundcover in front yard

Montana Bark Nuggets Mulch

Derived from Fir bark

Used for decorative groundcover rather than for pathways, these bark nuggets are more substantial and longer-lasting than the shredded materials. The bark nuggets are also easier to spread and rake than other types of mulch.

Best Uses:

  • Ideal for larger areas that are high in traffic
  • Most popular based on overall aesthetics
supreme walk-on mulch surrounding boulders
supreme walk-on mulch on flat landscape

Supreme Walk-On Mulch

Derived from Douglas Fir

Smaller than standard walk-on barks, this material has the lush appearance and cushioned feel of the forest floor. Consisting of various particle sizes, this fibrous and woody bark mixture interlocks (knits down) after installation.

Best Uses:

  • Perfect for vegetable gardens, and around plants and trees
  • Most versatile choice as it works well in all applications
crushed rock groundcover under flower plants in yard
cobble and pebble groundcover in backyard

Other types of landscape groundcover

We’ve discussed our top three mulch choices, which in our experience have been the best-sellers for homeowners, DIYers, contractors and landscape designers. While these are popular and effective, there are quite a few other options if you’re looking to try something new! Explore all the types of groundcover and mulch available at Southwest Boulder, and feel free to contact us if you need help deciding which is right for your project. Be sure to check out our Projects page for creative groundcover inspiration.

As always, best of luck with your project!