Landscaping With Natural Wood Mulch

Published on: March 09, 2023

Does Your Yard Look Tired?

For a homeowner, your yard can help reduce stress, improve your mood, increase curb appeal, and even increase your bottom line. But sometimes, it can be a tough job. Even if you’ve landscaped your yard to have a “timeless” look, weather and time will eventually take their toll.

Luckily, wood mulch can help you reclaim that curb appeal. Giving your property a wood mulch makeover can inject color and texture where it’s most needed. While the effects aren’t permanent, they are still a cost-effective and easy solution. Best of all, mulching requires little equipment or deep digging. It can be done over the weekend!

Here is some advice on choosing the right wood mulch for your DIY project.

What is Wood Mulch?

Made from trees, wood mulch is an organic material that’s sold as wood chips, bark nuggets, bark shreds, or maybe a combination of the three.

The natural colors of wood mulch are earth-toned, from the raw-looking Playground Chips (made of virgin wood) to the ruddiness of Gorilla Hair (made from redwoods). When moist, it can be aromatic and feel springy underfoot. For example, Southwest Boulder & Stone sells Supreme Walk-On that has the lush appearance and cushioned feel of the forest floor.

What is Wood Mulch?

Choosing the Right Wood Mulch for Your Project

If you’re looking for the right wood mulch for your project, consider the following properties of chip, bark, and shred.

Wood Chips

Wood chips are comprised of tree bark, branches, trunks, and leaves. Recycling this rich organic material is great for gardens, because it enriches your topsoil, adding nutrients and bulk that will keep the soil from compacting. (You might even consider turning a Compost 50-45-5 into your soil if it’s tired or clayey.) It also inhibits weeds and protects plants’ roots from extreme temperatures and dryness. Our Playground Chips are made from virgin wood; although they are meant to keep little knees from getting skinned, organic gardeners may prefer their built-in benefits.

Playground Chips Mulch

Montana Bark Nuggets Tree Bark Mulch

Tree Bark Mulch

Tree bark, like our Montana Bark Nuggets, can come in a variety of sizes, depending on the tree. Larger bark pieces resemble skimming stones; they can be used as a decorative ground cover, as the pieces can be rather heavy. Tree bark also is excellent for keeping weeds at bay and protecting roots. It will also last longer than chips because of the toughness of the bark.

Shredded Wood Mulch

If you are planning a pathway, choose shredded redwood bark or Gorilla Hair. Because of their combination of stringy fibers and bark nuggets, these mulches create a mat-like effect that makes them easy and pleasant to walk on. Shredded redwood will also keep its color for years!

As we point out in our blog post, 3 Most Popular Mulch Options for Your Yard, certain wood mulches are more effective at tackling different tasks.

You can also use wood mulch as a ground cover like decomposed granite (DG) or gravel – with one key difference: it’s flammable, so give it a wide berth from the grill or fire pit. And look out for sparks.

Gorilla Hair Shredded Redwood Mulch

5 Reasons to Choose Wood Mulch

  1. Eye-Catching Contrast
    Wood mulch comes in many eye-catching colors and textures, bringing instant appeal to any landscape.
  2. Quick & Easy Installation
    Whether you use a lot or a little, most wood mulch projects can be done in a day. Mulch is also lightweight which makes landscaping a breeze!
  3. Improve Soil Quality
    Wood mulch is a “green” solution for problem soil. It’s a re-use of organic material that returns nutrients back to the soil as it decomposes. Also, it traps and provides much-needed moisture for plants on which it forms a protective layer.
  4. Long-Lasting & Inexpensive
    Wood mulch is a long-lasting yet inexpensive material and depending on your climate, you may get many years out of it.
  5. Prevents Weeds Soil Erosion
    Wood mulch creates a defensive layer in your garden beds stopping soil erosion as the mulch components lock together. Plus, a thick layer of mulch inhibits the growth of weeds by blocking sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating.

How to Install Wood Mulch

  1. Protect Yourself
    When working in your garden or on your property, use gloves and masks. Allergies and splinters may seem like trivial issues, but why take the chance?
  2. Coverage Calculator
    Use our helpful coverage calculator to determine how much wood mulch you’ll need for the project. Estimate that you will use a recommended depth of two to four inches.
  3. Perimeter Edging (Optional)
    For a clean edge, set the perimeter of your installation area with steel, wood, or bender board and fasten it with stakes.
  4. Lay Down Landscape Fabric (Optional)
    Roll out a layer of weed barrier over the compacted base or soil and fasten with landscape fabric staples. Note: If you’re planning to enrich your soil with wood mulch, omit this step.
  5. Spread & Compact
    Drop wheelbarrows of wood mulch where needed, then rake to the right position. You may also want to tamp your mulch.

How to Install Wood Mulch 1

Tools Needed

  • Steel, wood, or bender board edging material (optional)
  • Square shovel
  • Metal rake
  • Hand tamper
  • Weed barrier fabric and staples (optional)
  • Utility knife
  • Wheelbarrow

Ready, Set, Mulch!

Wood mulch is such a simple way to solve a bunch of landscaping challenges all at once. If you’re used to waiting weeks to see the results of changes you’ve made to your yard, you’ll be amazed at the instant gratification you can get by laying mulch in a single weekend.

Southwest Boulder & Stone is a top provider of premium mulch offering a huge selection of wood chips, barks, and shreds. As always, our landscape rock specialists are standing by ready to help you with your next landscaping project.

Now is the time to shake the dust off your tired yard. Get ready to mulch!

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