Flower beds add interest and beauty to almost any yard. But even the simplest elements of a flower bed involve nuance and require proper steps to ensure their success. One of the most important elements of a flower bed is mulch.
Mulch helps control and prevent weeds, retains moisture for the soil and plants, and even enriches the soil with nutrients as it breaks down - not to mention the beauty it adds to your beds. With so many benefits, it's important to take the right steps when adding mulch to your flower beds. Follow these DIY tips to get the most from your mulch and create a beautiful flower bed.
Start by building up a thick layer of topsoil. Having a good layer of nutrient-rich soil will create the best environment for plant growth. You can build up your topsoil by layering newspaper and compost until you have several inches of soil. You can even mix some mulch into these layers.
Once you have a healthy layer of topsoil, plant your flowers and other plants, ensuring they have plenty of space and aren't too crowded.
Choose your mulch. Using a locally sourced mulch from your nearby garden center offers a more environmentally friendly choice for your beds. Wood mulch often comes in a variety of colors, allowing you to choose one that complements the flowers or plants in your bed. If you have a lot of trees and small fallen branches, you can use a chipper shredder to create your own mulch. Using your own mulch will add a natural look to your beds that matches the surrounding environment. Most wood mulches last up to three years before needing to be replaced.
If you can, look for a 50/50 blend of mulch and compost. You can also buy compost separately and mix it with equal parts mulch. This step will load your mulch with extra nutrients and will continue to feed your plants throughout the season.
Once you have the right mix of mulch and compost, choose an area in the center of your flower bed and dump a pile of mulch. From there, it's easier to rake the mulch out to the edges of the bed.
Spread the mulch with a mulch rake or flat shovel, being careful not to damage your flowers. You should spread 2 inches of mulch to get a good layer and give your plants the complete benefits of the mulch and compost.
Once your mulch is spread, water it down with a hose and sprayer. This will help the mulch settle and keep any smaller pieces from blowing away in the short term.