Backyard Realty Group, LLC
Sold by the Closers: Jason, Jen & Forrest
The Closers Team:
Jason, Jen & Forrest

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You may still be in the clutches of Old Man Winter, but for many areas of the United States, spring is just around the corner! Who knows. a seed catalog or two may have already made their way to your mailbox. Either way, it’s never too early to begin planning your flower and vegetable gardens. We’re going to explore some more common types of mulch, and some rather uncommon types, too! We’ll also cover where each type will work best in your own garden, and go over some tips for their use. First, here are a few selections for mulch to use around trees, and in landscaping flowerbeds:

1. Lava Rock

Lava rock is inexpensive, and a smart choice for many landscape needs. It's lightweight, adds color to your yard, and will last forever. And that's one reason to be careful when choosing it - it's very hard to remove once laid. The edges of lava rock are sharp, so it's not a good choice for areas where little feet or paws will be exploring barefoot. But if you're looking for a low-maintenance, colorful addition to your landscaping, lava rock fits the bill.

2. Stone

Garden stone comes in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Different types and colors of stone in different sections of a garden looks absolutely lovely, and stone is another very long-lasting mulch. Price depends largely on the variety you choose. One benefit of stone is that it absorbs sun during the day and is a great insulator, allowing you to grow somewhat less hardy plants, or even jump-start your garden sooner in the spring.

3. Cocoa Shell Mulch

The shell of the cocoa bean, when chopped up, creates a lovely dark color and a buttery chocolate smell that lasts a few weeks after the mulch has been laid. It's a great choice if you have a sitting area, or a fire pit - anywhere people will be hanging out. It's a bit expensive, but you don't need to have inches of depth when placing cocoa bean shells. An inch will do the trick. Pet owners beware: Cocoa mulch contains the same ingredients that are harmful to dogs as are in chocolate...just nine ounces will cause death in a 50-pound dog. So if you have furry friends around, this might not be the best choice.

4. Autumn Leaves

Surprisingly, fallen leaves provide an excellent cover for placing on empty planting areas in the fall after your crops have all been harvested. Use your lawn mower to chop the leaves up before placing them, or you'll likely end up with a lot of mold. The best part about using autumn leaves? It's absolutely free!

5. Hardwood Mulch

The biggest benefit of hardwood mulch is its widespread availability. It will impart a very natural, subdued look to your flowerbeds and elsewhere in your landscaping. The colors will always be neutral, and this kind of mulch works very well on slopes, lasting up to three years. Hardwood mulches create quaint garden paths, too!

6. Grass Clippings

If you're like most people who don't expect an immaculate lawn, you probably mulch your grass as you mow and just let it lie on your lawn. If you do bag your clippings, though, they can be used as a light mulch that is quick to decompose (takes only a few weeks!) Use clippings in your vegetable garden, and under shrubbery as top mulch. (Never re-use clippings that have been chemically treated, though.)

7. Straw

Straw has been used by many generations of gardeners needing an inexpensive solution to insulate their vegetable beds. Make sure you get weed-free straw from your local nursery, and you'll be able to just till it under in the fall after you've harvested your gardens. You can spread it up to six inches thick without having to worry about mold forming.

8. Pine Straw (or Duff)

If you live in an area of boreal forest, you might be able to utilize the pine needles that have fallen over the years as effective mulch. It has a distinctive burnt-orange color that can add interest to landscapes, and it is known for reducing issues with slugs in gardens and flowerbeds. As mulch, it is rather short-lived at only two years.

9. Fresh Wood Chips

Freshly chipped or shredded wood will be very long-lasting mulch that won't blow away, and doesn't contain weed seeds. It's easy to care for, looks great in a wide array of environments and landscape designs, and will last up to four years. Check your local nursery for readily available varieties.

10. Seaweed

If you're lucky enough to live on the coast, gathering seaweed to use as compost is a free option that'll last several months. It is absolutely filled with nutrients that will enhance your soil as it decomposes. If you don't live near a coastal area, or near lakes, you can buy prepared seaweed-based mulch at superstores and garden centers.

11. Weed Fabric

Typically utilized under another type of mulch, this weed barrier will provide long-term coverage that'll help you stop the weeds before they start. Stay on top of weeding, because if weeds grow through the fabric, your weeding job will be a lot harder!

What our clients are saying  

I have been working with Jen since she listed our home in Feb. 2015 and helped us close on our dream home in July 2016. Helped us get exactly what we wanted out of our old house and provided great advice when buying our new home. She recommended a septic inspection since our mortgage lender did not require and saved us over $6,000 in expenses due to her advice. Would encourage any future buyer or seller to take her advice and follow it. Benefited us tremendously Source:


~ Amber

What a great experience working with Jen Tolley! Her expertise and professionalism found us the tight house at the right price and her sweet demeanor made the process a pleasure! Source:


~ Mark

I have been working Jason and Jen since 2011. I have had great success using their services and recommend them for your next house purchase/listing. They specialize in investment properties and are patient with helping you find your next investment or primary residence. I have purchased both investment and residential properties with both Jason and Jen and I will use them in the future to buy and sell more properties. Source:


~ Luke

This team is amazing! Listed and sold my house in 5 days!!! They are professional, knowledgeable and so easy to work with. They made the process so easy. The house was in Georgia and we reside in Alabama - the distance didn't matter. Amazing job!!! Source:


~ Kaye

Jason and Jen knows how to find right property for you including finding investment property so we could rent homes out. If you need to sell they are having great info to help price the home right price that you can sell it right away. Source:


~ Dhaval

We purchased Our Home thru Jen and Jason! They were absolutely amazing and helped us every step of the way to find our home! They also helped find the perfect home for my mother and father in law too! They are highly recommended to work with. They will work very hard to find you the perfect home that matches for what you are looking for. Do not use a real estate agency anywhere else Source:


~ Heather

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