Learn about different types of mulch you could add to your garden and suggestions for when to use each one.


We all know mulch is beneficial for our gardens.

From controlling and preventing weeds to retaining soil moisture, mulch material is crucial to the general maintenance of your garden.

However, with all the various types of mulch available how do you know which one is best for your needs?

Read on to learn which type of mulch material you should choose for your landscaping needs


Wood chips are one type of mulch


In “Types of Mulch” – DIY Garden Minute Ep. 75 – we want to teach you about the various uses for different types of mulch material you could add to your garden.  

This episode is meant for any level of gardener who is ready to apply mulch but not sure which type to use. 

Want to know more about mulch, but aren’t sure where to start? Go here to get started.

Also included:


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Types of Mulch

Mulch can come from natural or synthetic sources.

The variety of mulch options available come in different colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. It depends on your preferences and the needs of your garden.

Below are 7 mulch material types and a breakdown of when you might use each one in your garden.


1) Arborist Mulch 

This type of mulch is great for weed control and suppression. Plus it adds nutrients and helps build healthy soil.

We use this type of mulch all over our yard.


2) Compost 

Compost is good for adding nutrients and building healthy soil, along with retaining soil moisture. 


3) Rock or Stone Mulch

Good for weed suppression and soil moisture retention, rock mulch is mainly used for contrasting landscape material and for its low maintenance needs.


4) Leaf Mulch

Good for weed suppression and adding nutrients to the soil. Leaf mulch can be difficult to keep in place when windy, though.


5) Pine Needle Mulch

Pine needle mulch is great for weed control and suppression, soil moisture retention, and for acidifying soil or lowering soil pH as they break down.


6) Shell Mulch

Good for color and texture contrast in most landscapes, crushed shells used as mulch are low maintenance and can slowly raise soil pH or make soils more alkaline as they break down.


7) Beauty Bark

Beauty bark is good for weed suppression and retaining soil moisture, but overall it adds little to no nutrients to the soil.

Plant coming up through mulch material


Importance of Mulching

All types of mulch are important. The mulch material you choose depends on what type of garden you have, or for what purpose.

Mulch can either match the colors and textures of your plants or be in complete contrast to give your garden the exact look you want.

In addition, most mulch material:

  • Suppresses weeds 
  • Helps retain soil moisture 
  • Reduces erosion
  • Keeps plant roots cool in the summer and insulated in the winter
  • Adds to the overall aesthetic of your garden

For more information about mulching in general, check out “How to Mulch: 6 Basic Steps for Mulching Anytime of Year“.



Mulching Videos



Want to know more about mulch, but aren’t sure where to start? Go here to get started.

Mulching Tools and Resources

Successful mulching takes proper skill and the right tools.

In order to get started, you need a good pitchfork, rake, round shovel, a tarp, and probably a wheelbarrow.

In addition, we’ve found a couple of very useful books we wanted to bring to your attention.

Our recommendations below are products and brands that we’ve used for years and could not live without while spreading mulch all over our front and back yard.

We hope these will be helpful for you too.



Mulch It! The Book

Get the basics down and find a new perspective on mulching in your garden.










Round Shovel

This tool is imperative for moving all kinds of material.

We prefer this one by Fiskars because of its long handle and strong design.


Hard Metal Rake

The perfect tool for spreading mulch, rock, or soil around your yard.

We use this rake almost every day!



Pitch Fork

You will need a good pitchfork to move material around, especially mulch material.

This one has been a big help in our yard.



A sturdy tarp is a must-have for keeping unused material contained or for dragging material around.

In fact, there are so many times we were fortunate to have a good tarp around. We find ourselves using it all the time.




With this True Temper wheelbarrow, you can haul up to 6 cu. ft. of material all around your yard!

We recently used this wheelbarrow non-stop for a big home project moving soil and crushed gravel around our yard.



Garden rake

This type of fan rake is invaluable for home landscape projects.

We use it all the time, and not just for raking leaves (although it is great for that too!)


 Gardening-Related Books that use Mulching

These two books below are helpful resources to find out more about each type of mulch and what could work best for your yard.

Mulching Types Conclusion

Different types of gardens may have different mulch needs but it all comes down to your personal preference.

Think about the reasons we suggested above to make your decision. Good luck!

Now we want to hear from you!

What type of mulch material do you want to use?

Let us know by leaving a quick comment below. Thanks!


That’s all for this DIY garden minute episode!

You can find other one-minute topics on our podcast page at spokengarden.com/podcast

On Instagram or Pinterest under @SpokenGarden (all one word) to follow or leave us a comment.

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Learn about 7 types of mulch you could use in your garden and when to use each one.


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Today’s Topic: 

Types of Mulch

Learn about 7 types of mulch that can help promote healthy gardens, suppress weeds, and retail soil moisture.


Show Notes

How to Mulch Cheat Sheet

What You’ll Learn:

  • 7 different types of mulch material.
  • Reasons why you would choose one type of mulch over another and when to best use each one.
  • General mulching tips and tricks.
  • Mulching tool recommendations and resources.


Some of the resources and products below may be affiliate links, meaning we might get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

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