DIY - Install Mulch Like A Pro

Spreading or installing mulch may seem like a simple task.  However, for those who have never done it, here are a few tips that can make you look like a professional.

Prepare for delivery

1. Clean up leaves, sticks and debris from your installation area. Remove weeds by hand or spray with Roundup. Prune bushes and trees.

2. Pick a site for your mulch delivery. Off road driving is risky for you and the truck.

3. Edge along beds and paved areas.

  1. Use a square shovel (i.e. a square transfer shovel) and insert the blade vertically along the edge between the garden bed and the grass to form a crisp line between the two. Form a narrow trench 3-4 inches wide and 2 inches deep.

  2. For larger beds, use a mini-tiller along the edge of the bed. A leaf blower can be used to blow the dirt back into the bed--more than one pass may be necessary.
  3. Very large projects may require the use of a bed edger (available from most rental stores).
  4. Along paved areas such as driveways, curbs and sidewalks, dig a trench 4 inches wide and 2 inches deeper than the bottom edge of the concrete. This allows the mulch to rest against the side of the pavement rather than spilling onto the paved area, giving you a nice clean edge.

Installing the mulch

1. Use a pitchfork instead of a shovel to make moving the mulch easier.

2. Load a large wheelbarrow with mulch.  It will carry more material per trip, speeding installation.

3. Dump the mulch in small piles in your work area.

4. Spread the mulch with a steel tine rake, but you can also use your feet to kick or spread the mulch into place. Mulch should be spread to a depth of 2-4 inches.

5. Leave a space a couple of inches away from tree trunks and plant stems. This will help keep the plants healthy and free from disease and insects.

6. Use a leaf blower at the end of the installation to blow any dirt or mulch back into the beds, smooth out the top of the mulch and clean and smooth your edges.

7. Enjoy the beautiful results!