9 Types of Mulch for Landscaping and Gardening


Clean wheat, barley, or oat straw is the best mulch for lightly covering newly seeded lawns. The straw mulch keeps the grass seed from washing away, deters feeding birds and rodents, and, until it decomposes, conserves the moisture the seeds need for good germination.

Pine Needles

Also known as pine straw, pine needles are effective as mulch, especially for flower beds. They come in non-colored, natural light brown, and sometimes can be found in red and brown shades. 

Grass Clippings 

No need to shop around you can make your own organic mulch using nothing more than grass clippings or shredded leaves. Leaf mulch is ideal for use in garden beds and around trees and shrubs

Leaf Mold

Another option is to compost fallen, shredded leaves to form leaf mold mulch for the garden. It boosts nutrients in the soil and helps with water retention. It s best to let it sit for at least 6 months 


Shredded black-and-white newspaper can be used as an effective weed suppressant. Apply two to three layers at a time, then cover with another heavier organic material, such as leaves or grass clippings


Cardboard is another great mulch option to deter weeds, since it blocks the sun; this makes it a good mulch for preparing garden beds. It also serves as a way to feed plants as the material decomposes. 

Cocoa Chips

Popular for their rich color and pleasant scent, cocoa bean hulls are lightweight, easy to handle, and appropriate for all planting areas. Don t apply more than 1 inch or water excessively, because cocoa chips already decompose quickly.

Hazelnut Shells

Hazelnut shells are an attractive yet expensive mulch option. The cracked hulls of the shells last several years and are amber in color. Some of the key benefits of using hazelnut shells


Composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings is another way to create desirable mulch. After decomposing over time in the dark, these materials transform into nutrient-rich dirt that works well in the garden.