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My New Mulch Trick - Adding Grass Clippings Under New Mulch

If you've been reading the blog since the beginning you probably remember when I shared why I prefer having mulch in my landscape beds over rock. If you're a new reader, then check out that blog here. It's time to add new mulch to many of my beds so thought I'd share a new trick I'm trying... putting grass clippings down underneath the mulch.

Why I Prefer Mulch Over Rock

Mulch is a better material for landscapers because we are always adding, splitting and moving plants. One of our front yard juniper trees has already started to outgrow the plant bed we put it in, so I'm going to be expanding that soon and glad I dont need to move rock to do that. Mulch holds moisture better than rock, reduces weeds and keeps the soil temps cooler in the summer. Cedar mulch in particular is supposed to also help keep bugs away.

front landscape with new mulch

Using Grass Clippings Under Mulch

Most of the time when I mow, I bag the grass clippings. Especially in the backyard by the pool. Keeping pool chemistry in balance is a weekly chore, and one of the biggest issues with doing that is gettting both organic material (grass/leaves) and fertilizers in the pool so we try to limit how much of the grass gets stuck on people's feet.

When you have as many trees and leaves as I do, plus bagging grass clippings, I fill up my city yard waste bin weekly. That's what got me starting to wonder if I could use grass clippings as mulch. After some research, I've learned grass clippings are a good mulch alternative when used in a thin layer. The grass needs to be dry and shouldn't have been recently ferlitized. Here's a link to the University of Minnesota Extension site for more info if you're curious about what to do with lawn clippings.

zach putting grass clippings in plant bed

I've been using grass clippings to start new plant beds, adding that as an initial layer to get started, and to help build up some of the existing beds at the back of the yard. For free.

Topping Off with Two Kinds of Mulch

I got a BIG load of free mulch again this spring to create the new plant bed that runs along the whole side of our front. I shared how I get free mulch last fall, but with all the dead trees around, companies are looking for places to take mulch. You can search Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

pile of mulch in driveway in front of car

The free spring mulch was much better than the fall - no leaves, almost all wood chips. The only issue is you don't get to pick the type of wood or color, so it's good for a base layer. But saved us easily $500.

zach and abbey dumping mulch

Plus free labor from our best helper with her own little wheel barrow.

girl scooping mulch into wheelbarrow

For the visible beds in the front and back, we use cedar mulch for uniform color and quality of mulch.

bags of cedar mulch

I usually try to buy this in March when it's cheapest - if you watch for the sale, the mulch will drop down to just over $2/bag. You can order it online from Menards in March and wait to pick it up in June so you can get the right price and use it at the time you need.

The cedar mulch makes the plants really pop. And it smells great too.

hydrangeas with cedar mulch

Need a mulch fix? Here's what we used:

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!


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we're kiersten and zach

Follow along with us each week as we work to make the very 2000s home we bought during the middle of a pandemic more “us.” We’ll share everything from quick fixes to more permanent changes, along with projects you can do in your own home. Zach will also share all his lawn and garden advice as he starts over on the yard.


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