Where to Use Mulch

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape January 21, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Inorganic gravel mulch used in a xeriscape cactus garden.
Photo credit: Clare Wilkinson Flickr CC BY 2.0

  Bark mulch used on a path through a garden area where edging is not needed. Photo credit: trippedamine Flickr CC BY 2.0


Using mulch in the landscape is one of the seven steps or principles of xeriscape design. Mulch helps conserve water by reducing evaporation from exposed soil surfaces. Be sure to use the correct mulch type and depth for the site and plant type.

Roots of some very drought tolerant plants do not tolerate too much soil moisture. Avoid using organic mulches around these plants.

Places Where Mulch Can be Used

  • Raised beds
  • Parking strips
  • Annual and perennial planting beds
  • Paths 
  • Around trees to protect from mower and string trimmer damage
  • In new plantings to keep annual weeds in check
  • In rock gardens

Additional Resources:


Colorado - Xeriscape Mulches
Utah - Water-wise Landscaping: Mulch


Missouri - Mulches
Ohio - Sustainable Urban Landscapes: Using Mulches in Managed Landscapes


Connect with us

  • Facebook
  • YouTube


This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by eXtension.org



This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.