Quick Tip: How to Apply Mulch

Learn how to mulch your landscape with these easy steps

As we’ve discussed in a previous post (Here), applying mulch to your landscaping is an effective and smart way to suppress weeds, conserve water, and increase soil health. Not only that, but it gives the landscape a nice finished look. Today, I’m going to give you a quick how-to for adding mulch into your landscape.

Choose your mulch

The first thing you need to do is decide which type of mulch you want to use. Mulch is simply any material placed on the surface of the ground for the purposes mentioned above. There are many different materials that can be used as mulch, but the ones most commonly used in landscaping are wood chips, bark, and rocks. Within these groups, there are lots of different options for color, size and shape. There’s redwood bark, cedar chips, “Gorilla Hair”, dyed barks, river rocks, and gravels just to name a few. Some materials look more natural, others look formal, and some look more manufactured. I suggest taking a trip to the landscape supply yard to look at the possibilities in person. Your choice will depend on personal taste and which material will look best with your style of landscaping.

Mulch in Templeton, CA


Now that you’ve decided which type of mulch you want to use, you’ll need to figure out how much you need. There’s a simple math equation for this. First, measure the area of the space that will be mulched. To get the area, simply multiply length x width. This will give you the square footage. Next you’ll need to multiply the square footage by how thick you want the mulch to be. This will give you the amount of cubic feet you need. So say you have 100 square feet of area that will be mulched, and you are going to make the mulch 3 inches thick, you’ll multiply 100 x.25 (divide the number of inches by 12 to convert it to a decimal). Lastly, divide the number of cubic feet by 27 to get the number of cubic yards of mulch you will need.


If you only need a small amount, it might be easier for you to grab a few bags of mulch from the hardware store, but if you need more than that, it’s significantly cheaper and easier to get it from a local landscape materials yard. There are several providers in SLO County, so you should have one close by.
In North County, we like to use Kritz or Rossi. In SLO, there is Central Coast Landscape Products. On the coast, there is San Luis Soils and Sod, and in South County there is Mier Bros. If you have a truck or trailer, you can go pick it up in person, otherwise all of these places offer delivery.


The last step is to grab a shovel and a wheelbarrow and spread it out. Take care when spreading around the base of plants so that you don’t accidentally cause any damage to the plant or irrigation emitters. Once all of the mulch is on the ground, grab a rake and smooth it out, making sure the entire area has an even layer.

That’s about it! Now that you have mulch down, you can reduce your irrigation time, since the soil will retain more moisture. You can also look forward to pulling fewer weeds and enjoy that nice clean, finished look that mulch offers. If you have any questions about which mulch is right for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call.