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Garden and Landscaping

Garden and Landscaping Description

Mulch is mulch, right? No matter what type you choose, they’re fairly interchangeable between flower or vegetable beds and other areas of your landscape—or so you might think. But actually, there are two broad categories of mulch: garden or regular mulch, and landscape mulch, which is sometimes called “playground” mulch. Knowing which to choose can help guide your selection from among the many types available.

Landscape Mulch vs. Garden Mulch: What’s the Difference?

In general—although there can be some overlap between specific types of mulch—landscape mulch is meant as a covering while garden mulch is not only a soil covering, but also a soil enhancement. What this means is that if you’re choosing mulch for a vegetable bed or another area where extra nutrients may be needed, then you’ll want to choose from varieties that will break down and add organic material to the soil.

If you’re using mulch as a soil covering, then plant nutrition is less a concern, and instead, you’ll want to choose based on your needs for the area. This could be pet or kid-friendly mulch for play areas, or an aesthetically pleasing and durable mulch that won’t need to be topped up year after year if you’re using it as a simple ground covering.

Types of Garden Mulch

Garden mulch is nearly always an organic material of some type. These can include:

  • Wood chips or tree bark
  • Grass clippings
  • Straw
  • Compost
  • Shredded tree leaves
  • Shredded newspaper

Each of these mulch types will break down over time and add organic matter to the soil, which is beneficial for the plants that you’re growing.

Types of Landscape Mulch

Landscape mulch is generally focused on aesthetics and longevity. Wood chips and tree bark often feature prominently as landscape mulches because they’re available in so many colors that it’s easy to choose one to suit your theme. However, there are other options available, too:

  • Shredded rubber recycled from tires
  • Gravel and lava rock
  • Landscape fabric

There are lots of other options available, too. Take a look around at different colors, textures and applications, and you’ll find something that is perfect for your needs.