How to Mulch: The Definitive Guide

Learn the basics of how to mulch and get an overview on what mulching is. You’ll also learn a few tricks that will help you make your yard look great!

Mulching is a technique that gardeners have been using for centuries. It is the process of chopping up fallen leaves, grass clippings, and other organic matter into smaller pieces so that it can be decomposed. Read more in detail here: what is mulching.

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The mulching in the backyard has been a very fruitful couple of weekends. Continue reading if you’re planning to lay mulch and want to learn how to accomplish it. In this post, we’ll go over all of the information and show you how to finish your mulch job.


Contents Table of Contents

  • Mulch is a term used to describe a substance that is used
  • What Are the Different Types of Mulch?
  • How Much Mulch Will You Require?
  • Where Can You Get Mulch?
  • Mulch in the Yard: How to Lay Mulch
  • What Does Mulch Cost?
  • How to Get Mulch for Free
  • I’m not sure how much mulch I’ll need.
  • Calculator for Mulch
  • What Alternatives to Mulch Do You Have?
  • Conclusion


Mulch is a term used to describe a substance that is used

Simply explained, mulch is a layer of material applied to your soil or yard to aid in a variety of tasks. Mulching your lawn is beneficial in a variety of ways:


  • Reduces the quantity of grass that has to be mowed. This was one of our most difficult sales. We wanted to get rid of part of the grass that we had to mow. We didn’t want a large grassy yard, so we decided to create a wonderful mulched space.
  • Enhances soil nitrogen levels When you utilize organic mulch, it breaks down quickly and replenishes the nutrients in your soil.
  • Plants, trees, and bushes benefit from the moisture retention. Mulch, particularly leaf mold mulch, is excellent at keeping moisture for your plants and tree roots.
  • Enhances the attractiveness of your landscape We recently completed mulching a large section of our backyard and are quite pleased with how it turned out. Around your fire pit, you may use Gravel made of peas or crumbled concrete.
  • It lowers weeds, which is something we really enjoy. I won’t claim it kills them altogether, but it does drastically reduce their numbers.
  • Gnats, ticks, and fleas are among the insects that are repelled. However, only specific species of mulch, such as cypress, pine, and cedar, are allowed.
  • Erosion is minimized. Because bare soil may create erosion and runoff, a covering of mulch helps to keep the soil in place.

What Are the Different Types of Mulch?

Mulch may be anything that covers your garden or soil area, so there are a lot of different sorts to pick from, and they’re generally divided into organic and inorganic components.

Mulch made from organic materials comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

This form of mulch is perhaps more familiar to us. It’s usually shredded or chopped materials that we may spread throughout our lawns.

Here are a few of the most common varieties.”

  • needles of pine
  • Chips of several types of wood
  • Leaf mold is made out of shredded leaves.
  • needles of pine
  • Mulch made of cypress
  • Mulch made with cedar
  • We’ll go into utility mulch in more detail in the pricing part, as well as how to acquire it for free.
  • Hay or straw
  • Using sheet mulch, often known as putting down cardboard before mulching, is a great way to save money.
  • Seashells

Inorganic Mulch Types

  • Gravel made of peas
  • Concrete that has been recycled
  • River sandstone
  • Glass from the sea
  • Plastic that is black in color
  • Fabric with weeds
  • Plastic that is black in color

How Much Mulch Will You Require?

When you want to mulch is primarily determined by what you want to accomplish with your yard. May is a fantastic month to mulch if you’re primarily doing it for your gardens and plants.

Mulch is very popular in the spring because it enhances the appearance of the yard and offers a coating of brilliant color.


You may install mulch any time of year whether you’re using it for walks, pathways, or just to modify the layout of your yard.

This year, we chose the end of July to complete our major project, and we are thrilled with the results.

Where Can You Get Mulch?

Mulch may be obtained from the following locations:

  • Feed and seed from the area Apart from being close by, these are generally interesting sites to visit to see what they have for local farmers and homesteaders.
  • You may either acquire it in sacks or have bigger cubic yards delivered from home improvement shops (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace, RuralKing). The prices aren’t always competitive.
  • For rocks and other items, go to a local nursery or a bespoke shop.
  • Mulch is available for free from a local utility or garbage firm. Because they cut down so many trees and leaves, your city or garbage firm may be able to provide you with free items, and they may even transport them. You may be able to find piles of it in your neighborhood’s garbage area. This is referred to as utility mulch, and it is better suited to non-planting applications such as filling a sidewalk, driveway, or landscaping area.

Mulch in the Yard: How to Lay Mulch

I’ll describe how we laid the mulch and where we purchased our mulch. This is the before and after of our project. We needed to cover around 1,200 square feet.

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  1. First, mow If the grass is tall, mow it down as low as your mower will allow. This makes dealing with the following stage much easier. How-to-Mulch-The-Definitive-Guide
  2. Get rid of all the weeds. We’d be doing it for a long since our backyard is just weeds. Instead, we took the next logical step.
  3. Cover the area you wish to mulch with cardboard sheets. This is an excellent method for suffocating and killing weeds. We accomplished this over the course of a weekend since we had a lot of cardboard leftover from an IKEA installation. You must remove any tape from the cardboard before setting it out, since the tape will not degrade, and waxed cardboard takes a long time to decay. This is also the ideal time to install drip irrigation so that the bigger tubing is covered.
  4. Wet the cardboard to make it heavier and keep it in place while you add the mulch.
  5. Mulch should be added last. Depending on the sort of mulch you choose, you’ll want to spread it over the cardboard. Pitchforks or shovels, as well as a wheelbarrow, are used by some. We had to transport the mulch from another place, load it into a trailer, and scatter it in our yard. We decided that utilizing 5 gallon buckets and relying on gravity would be the most efficient method. It’s possible that your mileage will vary on this.
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It was just five steps, but it seemed like an eternity. It’s a straightforward procedure, but not necessarily one that’s uncomplicated.

UPDATE: We completed this job in 2019 and utilized utility mulch since we had extra and it was free. With our weather, everything had shrunk and deteriorated to the point that we were nearly down to soil and weeds, but not as much as in the photos above.

This time we got large needles of pine mulch will take longer to break down and our plants love the extra acid. And we also added aluminum landscape edging to keep all the mulch confined and it looks great.


What Does Mulch Cost?

Mulch is available at a reasonable price. Mulch may be purchased in two ways.

You may buy it in a bag or in quantity. The majority of bagged mulch is measured in cubic yards and comes in 2 or 3 cu ft bags.

Bagged mulch costs anywhere from $2.50 to $6 or more a bag, depending on the quality.

Depending on the design and kind, the bulk cubic yard will cost between $25 and $50 per cubic yard. Rubber or specialized mulches are found on the upper end of the spectrum.

Most businesses will charge a delivery fee, while others may waive it based on the amount of food you order and how near you reside to their location.

So you’re probably thinking if buying mulch in a bag or in bulk is cheaper.

A bag is unquestionably more costly. The volume of a cubic yard is 27 cubic feet. You can get that for around $25. $2.50 for the bag vs. 25/27=.93 X2 = $1.86 for 2 cubic feet.

However, since the bags are simpler to deal with and purchase, some individuals who don’t want as much may just buy a large quantity from the bags.

How to Get Mulch for Free

Depending on the extent of the area you need to cover, you might just get some mulch bags from Lowe’s, Home Depot, or any other local feed and seed store. There is frequently a point when purchasing the bags becomes too expensive, and it is preferable to purchase by the yard.

Mulch may also be obtained for free in a variety of ways. The most straightforward method is to inquire with your local utility or garbage business about a free wood chip program. This is something that our county does, which is a wonderful thing.

This sort of mulch is used for paths, groundcover, and roads and is referred to as utility mulch. They say this because it can easily be sown with weed seeds and has a large number of leaves.

It is, however, free. So we had some pals that got it, and they received the first batch, then a second batch.

They didn’t need it.

So we agreed to take it.

Going to someone else’s place, piling up the mulch, and then unloading it at your house is a lot more labor.

If you order local mulch delivery or purchase it yourself, the mulch will usually be brought to an area of your yard where you can distribute it.

It was, nevertheless, a solid workout.

I’m not sure how much mulch I’ll need.

The thickness of your mulch should be between 2 and 6 inches. The heavier mulch is used to keep weeds at bay. So, if you don’t need to do it, you can get away with doing less.

I prefer a three-inch covering of mulch since it seems to cover nicely while remaining low in the yard.

When you go to acquire your mulch, you’ll need to perform a little math to figure out how much you’ll need, but it’s not too difficult.

You must determine your area by multiplying width x length by thickness.

For example, we had a 20′ × 40′ space and decided on 3 inches.

So we needed to cover 800 square feet, and mulch is sold by the cubic yard, which will cover 324 square feet. However, because we require 3 inches, we must multiply 800/324 by 3 to obtain 7.41 cubic yards.

Calculator for Mulch

You can also use this Calculator for Mulch to find what you need for the area that you’re working on in your backyard.

Calculator for Mulch


What Alternatives to Mulch Do You Have?

Traditional mulch, on the other hand, isn’t for everyone. That’s OK. The majority of the greatest choices are the inorganic ones I mentioned previously.

  • Newspapers make excellent mulch.
  • Any shredded rubber might be a great mulch substitute that will last a long time.
  • Crushed or Concrete that has been recycled we got a lot of this from our local concrete company. They come in “fines”, which are less than an inch in diameter and another size called “57” which is smalls and larger concrete pieces up to 2 inches.
  • Gravel made of peas these look really good and are better on your feet than the crushed concrete
  • cuttings of grass If your lawn mower has a mulching function, you may utilize it and either leave it where you mow or capture it in your bag and place it where you want it in your garden.
  • Seashells We were just on vacation at Treasure Island, Florida, and observed that they utilize this everywhere. It gives the place a beachy atmosphere while also reducing dust.
  • Pumice Rock looks like seashells, although it’s more common in arid environments.
  • Glass from the sea can be decorative like Seashells. It just might take longer to get enough for your area.
  • Landscaping glass is often presented as more attractive and colorful yard decorations.


I hope this post has given you a better understanding of mulch and how to use it in your lawn or other outdoor tasks. If you’re seeking for a way to mulch leaves without using a mower, this article can help.

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“How to Mulch: The Definitive Guide” is a comprehensive guide for how to mulch your plants and garden. This book will teach you everything from the best vegan compost, to how long it takes for your leaves to decompose.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I put down before mulching?

A: You should put some fine dirt on the ground, then mulch your lawn after youre done.

How do you properly mulch?

A: To properly mulch, first you would need to identify the type of garden or landscape. You should then gather up a layer of leaves and pine needles in one spot using a long-handled shovel or rake. Then take your tarp (or large garbage bags) and place it on top of that pile. Next, start walking around with the bag while moving its edges outward at an angle near ground level so they dont blow away when you walk away from them. This will form a neat mound without blowing clumps everywhere as wind passes over it

How do you lay mulch for beginners?

A: To lay mulch, get a garden rake, and pull up the grass or leaves. Then take it to your compost pile.

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