10 Top-Rated Mulches for Your Garden & Landscape

There are plenty of different options when you’re looking for mulch for your yard. How do you find the best mulch for your purposes, though?

There’s a lot to consider to answer this question. For example, what are you using the mulch for and what are your goals?

These are important things to consider. After all, the best mulch for landscaping might not be the same as the best mulch for gardening.

This can easily seem overwhelming if you’ve never bought mulch before. Don’t worry – there’s no need to panic about buying the right thing.

That’s why we’re here to help you find the best bagged mulch to use. We’ll cover everything you need to know about mulch so you can make an informed choice.

This includes everything from what you need to know about mulch to some of your best options. Keep reading to learn what you should know!

The 10 Top Mulches for Your Garden

1. Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets

Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets

As a rubber mulch option, these nuggets are great for a few different uses. You can incorporate them into your landscaping or even help make a protective base for a play area for kids.

You can choose from six different colors too. This includes options in red, green, brown, blue, black, and natural black.

For all of the dyed or unpainted colors, you don’t have to worry about fading either. The color on each of these options is promised to last up to 12 years.

They won’t suffer in inclement weather either. After it rains, they’ll dry quickly and they won’t freeze when the temperature drops.

Another benefit of this Playsafer mulch is that, since it’s inorganic, it won’t need to be replaced. Once you spread it out, it won’t decompose or even compress over time.

It’s also a comparatively eco-friendly option. Instead of using newly-made rubber, this rubber is sourced from recycled tires.

For an even safer base for a play area or walkway, this mulch is 99.9% metal-free. So, you won’t have to worry about being surprised by something sharp underfoot.

Like many rubber options, the smell a fresh bag features will fade over time.

2. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack

EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack

This option is great if you’re looking for an organic option. On top of that, it’s a useful choice when you’re trying to improve the success of seeds.

By using straw mulch like this one, seeds like grass seeds are more likely to stay in place. In addition, this straw mulch will help lock in moisture, nourishing your seeds.

The concept of holding the seeds in place is particularly useful in certain situations. For example, it’s great for windy climates or areas with heavy washout.

Since this is an organic option, you can also rely on it to nourish the soil as it breaks down. Plus, it will help to reduce the number of weeds growing in your yard.

The “tack” mentioned in the title references tack bonding. This keeps the straw together so that it doesn’t spread out too far or scatter while in use.

This mulch is also a safe choice. If you have pets or children, they won’t be in any danger by its presence.

The bag that contains the mulch itself is useful too. Since it’s UV protected, you don’t have to worry about unopened bags being left outside.

3. USA Pine Straw Premium Pine Needle Mulch

USA Pine Straw Premium Pine Needle Mulch

This pine needle mulch is great for quite a few different goals. It’s particularly targeted at landscape beds as well as gardens.

Since pine needle mulch has plenty of natural beauty too, there aren’t any dyes. This means that you won’t have to worry about the dye fading or running.

Pine needle mulch is also incredibly helpful in more than just appearances. You can depend on this USA Pine Straw product to suppress weed growth.

On a more positive note, this mulch will help to enrich your soil. This is thanks to the fact that pine needle mulch is an organic option.

It will help you cover a lot of ground as well. Each box of mulch will cover 300 to 320 square feet when the bed is two to three inches deep.

The lightweight nature of this mulch is helpful to boot. When you install the mulch, it won’t take nearly as much time or effort as installing a heavier choice like gravel.

One thing you will want to be careful of, though, is watching out for insects. They tend to gravitate towards options like pine needles, threatening certain areas.

4. Rubberific Brown Bagged Rubber Mulch

Rubberific Brown Bagged Rubber Mulch

If you’re interested in rubber mulch for your yard, garden, or play area, Rubberific has another option. This rubber mulch offers a variety of benefits for you to take advantage of.

For one, while the mulch is only available in brown, there’s a reason for that. Shredded as it is, this makes this rubber mulch look more like wood.

This is great for times when you might want to use wood but it isn’t the best choice. For example, this mulch offers the appearance of wood without the threat of termites or carpenter ants.

The color of the rubber is crafted as to not fade alongside looking like wood. This means that you’ll have a lasting aesthetic without the need for a replacement shortly after you install it.

To be more specific, the color won’t fade quickly but will last quite a while. Reapplying the mulch every 12 years isn’t an overwhelming chore to tackle.

This is especially true since, while you have it, you won’t have to worry about quite a few facets. This includes jobs like weeding the area or worrying as much about inadequate moisture retention for your plants.

5. FibreDust CoCo Mulch

FibreDust CoCo Mulch

This CoCo Mulch is made up of 100% coconut husk. Adding to that, FibreDust promises that there are no additives to the mulch mix either.

This means that it’s an organic mulch option that falls under the category of coconut coir.

Using coconut as mulch has a variety of benefits. This material is excellent as a renewable resource with impressive water retention and soil amendment.

This is also a great choice if you’re wondering how to handle soil acidity. With a neutral pH, coconut coir doesn’t add acidity as an option such as peat does.

This is a reliable answer as to what to use on a slope too since it doesn’t float.

You probably notice that this is a smaller bag but that isn’t necessarily because there’s less mulch. This mulch is just dehydrated, making it appear smaller.

You can re-hydrate the mulch with four gallons of water. After it’s fully re-hydrated, you can take advantage of a yield of up to two cubic feet.

With a “rust” color, this mulch will offer a neutral but warm aesthetic to your landscape design. Since this tone is natural, you don’t have to worry about it running in the rain either. 

6. Soil Sunrise 100% Natural Pine Bark Mulch

Soil Sunrise 100% Natural Pine Bark Mulch

As the name suggests, this Soil Sunrise mulch is made entirely with natural pine bark. It’s a versatile choice too since it works as cover mulch, landscaping mulch, and as a potting media.

For one, this means that it’s suited to gardening. Yet, you’ll still want to check this with the types of mulch that are compatible with what you’re specifically growing.

This is helped along by the fact that this mulch is fan dried every batch. So, it’s less susceptible to moisture than an undried bag of mulch.

Each bag of this mulch is four quarts or a single gallon. This size is because it’s mainly aimed at potting plants that use the spread of mulch differently from landscaping.

If you’re considering this pine bark mulch for landscaping, though, you aren’t out of luck. You can order a single bag of this mulch or in packs of two, three, and four.

The concept of indoor use does help with one universal trait. This mulch is made to be easy to pour and use without much difficulty.

Since this mulch is bagged every week, you can rest assured you’ll have a fresh batch.

7. Longleaf Pine Straw Mulch

Longleaf Pine Straw Mulch

Longleaf offers its own pine straw mulch that users can depend on. It’s even a choice that’s well-suited to large project sizes.

This is because the dye they use features UV protection. As such, it helps to reduce the amount of color loss that comes from prolonged sun exposure, increasing its longevity.

In other words, your mulch will look freshly laid for longer, giving you an extended fresh appearance. It also reduces how frequently you’ll need to re-mulch the area as well.

This is a unique choice as well thanks to its method of coloring. Longleaf promises that the mulch is more durable in appearance than their non-colored options.

This mulch is pretty versatile too. You can put it in a plant bed, landscaping sections, or even around hardscapes like pools and sidewalks.

Each order comes with a box including five bags. This means you have plenty of mulch for landscaping projects.

In total, each of these bags covers about 25 square feet with a two to three-inch depth. With all bags included, an order of the Longleaf mulch will cover approximately 120 to 130 square feet.

8. Vigoro Cedar Red Rubber Mulch

Vigoro Cedar Red Rubber Mulch

Like the other rubber mulch option we’ve looked at, this Vigoro mulch has an ecological advantage. Rather than creating unnecessary waste, this mulch is made from recycled tires.

Still, the mulch has durability like it’s brand new. The mulch itself is durable and won’t break down while the color won’t fade for years.

This mulch is great for a variety of uses too. Whether you want to mulch a garden to minimize weeds or create a comfortable walkway, this is a trustworthy choice.

It’s meant to reduce the harm you’d come to if you fall as well. That feature makes it valuable for landscaping a play area or playground for kids.

On top of reducing the number of weeds in your garden, this mulch inhibits fungi and mold growth.

Since it’s an inorganic option, this means you won’t have to mulch your space again anytime soon. It’s made to last and take some of the work off of your back, at least saving you annual mulching. 

Each bag offers about 3.2 square feet of coverage. That is if the area you’re mulching has a depth of three inches.

9. OLDCASTLE Lawn & Garden Premium Black Green Thumb Mulch

OLDCASTLE Lawn & Garden Premium Black Green Thumb Mulch

When you’re looking for a colored mulch that is still neutral, black mulch is the way to go. Oldcastle Lawn & Garden has an option to answer this need.

You can use it wherever you want in your landscape design. From creating walkways, accenting flower beds, to other natural areas, it fits the bill.

The mulch has a variety of practical benefits. This includes helping to keep moisture in as well as add aesthetic appeal.

It’s a good idea to remember the big warning that comes with black mulch, though. Due to its dark hue, it will retain heat more than a lighter color option.

With this in mind, there’s something to consider when you use it in a garden or flowerbed. You need to make sure that your plants are safe when it’s a little warmer than the ambient air.

Yet, this isn’t just natural black but a color-enhanced mulch. This gives it a longer lifespan before it starts to fade in the sunlight.

Each bag of mulch comes with enough mulch to cover 8 square feet. This translates into an alternative 2 cubic feet.

10. Dirt Co. 100% All-Natural Houseplant Mulch

Dirt Co. 100% All-Natural Houseplant Mulch

You don’t always need enough mulch to cover large areas or for outdoor landscaping. That’s why Dirt Co. offers this mulch which is catered to houseplants rather than outdoor applications.

For one, this can help you to reduce your watering schedule. With added mulch, your plant will retain more moisture and, in turn, won’t need to be watered as much.

It also helps to work as a shady addition to any plant. This helps to protect the roots of the plant from overheating in the summer sun.

Conversely, in the winter, this insulation will help protect the plant’s roots from the cold.

You can also use this mulch to help keep your plant safe from pests. It will help to deter everything from fungi to bugs like gnats and even your cats out of your houseplants.

Finally, this mulch has an aesthetic draw on top of the practical effects. It will help create a consistent appearance across all your houseplants.

There are plenty of options when it comes to how much mulch you need too. This mulch is available in orders of one, two, three, or four bags.

Mulch for Your Garden Buying Guide

When you’re looking to buy mulch for your yard, it’s important to know more than your options. You need to know what to look for in a mulch as you read product descriptions and make considerations.

In this section, we’ll take a look at the essential information that you need to know to choose great mulch.

Gardener mulching Juniper plant with pine bark

Types of Mulch

It’s absolutely crucial to remember that mulch is a category more than its single, defined thing. There are plenty of different types of mulch that you can choose from.

This is a critical part of your decision because not all options are interchangeable. There are plenty of options but we’ll look at some of the big ones here.

We’ll take a look at organic vs. inorganic categories later but these are the two main types of mulch.

Organic Mulch Options

Organic mulch can include options such as wood chips, either soft or hard, straw, and cocoa chips. These are just a few of the many examples available out there.

Hardwoods work best for trees and shrubs or your perennial beds.  Softwoods, like pine, are suited well to larger shrubs and trees.

Straw mulch is usually made with a material like wheat, oat, or barley straw. These are great for lawns that were recently seeded since they can help keep the seeds in place.

This type of mulch can also help you by deterring pests and conserving moisture prior to decomposition. However, you should beware of hay over straw as hay will cause weeds to sprout.

Cocoa chips are popular for their deep, rich shade of brown and they have a nice scent. Made of cocoa bean hulls, these are fairly appropriate for all areas, easy to handle, and are lightweight.

Inorganic Mulch Options

Inorganic mulch doesn’t decompose, like rocks, crusher dust, or rubber. These types of mulch will stick around and serves as a durable choice.

Rocks and gravel are popular on walkways and paths. You should probably avoid them around trees and shrubs since they don’t retain moisture well and can create heat stress.

Similarly, rubber will stick around for a while plus it’s inexpensive. This makes it a great choice for high-traffic areas like paths and playgrounds.

The Benefits of Going Organic

We’ve talked a bit about inorganic vs. organic options for mulch at this point. The main difference between them is that organic mulch breaks down over time while inorganic mulch doesn’t.

It’s worth noting that “inorganic” doesn’t mean “unnatural” or “synthetic.” While synthetic options like rubber are available, stone mulch is also considered inorganic since it doesn’t break down.

Organic materials are often touted as a great choice but why? Well, they’re better for the planet, for one.

When you use organic mulch, you’re doing more than just covering the soil. You’ll also enrich the soil and feed it nutrients.

That being said, organic mulches do tend to retain more moisture. This is often fine but in low, damp areas, it will likely retain too much water for some plants.

Knowing and Avoiding Negative Effects

It’s also worth considering what types of mulch have especially negative effects. After all, this will help you decide what you want to consider.

For instance, cypress mulch is great in theory but its production threatens wetlands, especially valuable wetlands in Louisiana. Alternatively, you can use cedar, pine needles, or pine bark in its place.

You should also be careful of dark mulch around heat-sensitive plants. Since dark colors retain heat, you should only use dark mulch around your heat-resistant plants for the best results.

Woman gardener mulching potter thuja tree with pine tree bark mulch

Considering Mulch Colors

You can purchase mulch that isn’t dyed. If it’s organic, you can expect it to fade to a gray color in about a year.

If that isn’t what you want, it’s a good idea to look for dyed mulch. Dyed mulch is usually shaded with vegetable dye which isn’t very harmful.

There are plenty of colors you can choose from and these colors last for about two or three years. Still, you might see brighter colors run a bit when it rains but that’s normal and it washes off sidewalks.


There are plenty of reasons that you might want to add mulch to your yard. Whether you want to create a walking path or enhance a garden, though, you need the best mulch for that.

However, choosing the right mulch for your project can seem more than slightly stressful at first. In the end, it all comes down to knowing what to look for and considering the best options for you.

That’s exactly why we detailed this guide for you. It will help you throughout the buying process so you get the results you were hoping for.

Now that you’ve read the buying guide, you’re ready to start looking around. It’s given you everything you need to know to make an informed decision about your mulch options.

On the topic of options, we have plenty of those too! The 10 options we looked at earlier are great choices to suit various projects, giving everyone an option without trouble.

Now that you know what to look for and the best options, you can find what’s right for you!