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What Can You Use Instead Of Mulch? (13 Best Alternatives)

What Can You Use Instead Of Mulch

You want to replace the mulch in your flowerbeds, but you're not sure what to use instead of mulch. Sounds like you're facing a big problem if that's the case. Well, there are plenty of alternatives to mulch, but some are better than others. If you want something that looks like mulch but is more permanent, then there are plenty of other alternatives available. Let's take a look at some now.

13 Best Alternatives to Mulch

bark mulch

We have created a list of the best alternatives to mulch that you can use in your garden. Let's take a look at them now.

1. Pumice Rock

Pumice Rock

Pumice rock is a great alternative to mulch. It looks very similar, it's light in color and weight, but it's more permanent than mulch. Pumice rock is made from volcanic ash that has been hardened by heat, so it won't break down over time like other types of rocks do. It looks great for a garden and will last much longer than mulch. If you want the look of mulch but don't want to have to replace it every year, then pumice rock is an excellent choice.

2. Rock, Gravel, Pebbles & Other Stones

Rock, Gravel, Pebbles & Other Stones

There are so many different types of stone that you could use instead of mulch. For example, gravel would be a great option if you want something that looks more natural. You can also use larger stones like granite or limestone for borders and walkways. You can also use small stones like pebbles, which are great for borders and pathways. These types of rocks are easy to find at most landscaping supply stores.

The best thing about using stone instead of mulch is that it can really add value to your yard and property. It's a great way to make your landscaping look more natural, and it will last for years serving as mulch without maintenance.

Just be sure that whatever type of stone you choose has been sealed so it won't stain or discolor your concrete over time.

3. Rubber Mulch

Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is an excellent choice for your landscaping needs because it's an artificial material that looks very natural and can be used in various ways. It comes in different colors and textures, so you can find one that matches the color of your yard or property. It also has many benefits, including -It's easy to install; just roll out and cut as needed. -It doesn't require any maintenance at all, which makes it ideal for busy people who don't want to spend hours keeping up with their yard work each week.

4. Grass Clippings

Grass Clippings

If you want something that looks like mulch but is more permanent, then grass clippings may be the way to go. They will decompose over time and release nitrogen into the soil, which helps plants grow better. The only thing, you need to make sure that the grass clippings are from a healthy lawn and not one that is filled with chemicals.

First, make sure that your lawn is chemical-free; then, you can collect the clippings from your mower and spread them on top of your garden. You will need to do this before it rains so that they don't wash away.

5. Leaves


If you have a lot of leaves in your yard and don't know what to do with them, then consider using them as mulch instead of throwing them away. You can use both the big and small leaf varieties for this purpose, but make sure that they aren't diseased before you put them down. The leaves will break down over time and provide nutrients to your garden, but they tend to be a bit acidic, so make sure that you don't put them down too thickly, or else they may damage your plants.

6. Straw


Straw is another great mulch alternative because it looks like mulch but also decomposes over time. This means that you can use it as a short-term solution while your garden beds are being established and then remove it once they start producing food for you. You can use the straw to cover the surface of your garden beds, but make sure that you remove any weeds before doing so. Otherwise, they will just grow back through the straw and ruin your mulch.

Straw can also be used as mulch around fruit trees and bushes, but you should only do this if there is no other option. While straw decomposes slowly over time, it doesn't break down into the same level of compost that shredded leaves or grass clippings do. So, if you have access to these things, then use them instead.

7. Pine Needles

Pine Needles

Pine needles are another great mulch option. They are biodegradable, lightweight, and can be used to keep weeds down in your garden beds. So instead of throwing away all those pine needles, you can use them for mulch. They will get the acidity in your soil to the right level (which helps prevent and cure fungus) and add some nitrogen (which helps with plants’ nutrition).

You can use them either fresh or dried, but make sure that they haven't been chemically treated before using them as mulch. Pine needles are also a good choice if you have a lot of pine trees in your yard. They can be used as mulch around other types of plants but aren't as effective at preventing weeds from growing than some other types.

You can check out our article to learn How to keep the garden weed free

8. Newspaper & Cardboard


Newspaper and cardboard are other great options for mulching. They are biodegradable, easy to find, and cheap. Both of these materials break down over time, so you won't have to worry about them sticking around in your garden beds or compost pile when they're done serving their purpose. Newspaper can also be used as a weed barrier under mulch if it's laid out flat instead of crumpled up into balls, as many people do with old paper products.

9. Compost


Compost is a great option for mulching plants. It provides nutrients to help plants grow, prevents weeds from germinating, and helps retain moisture in the soil. If you don't have any compost on hand, you can make your own by collecting kitchen scraps such as coffee grounds, vegetable peels, and egg shells and mixing them with some dirt or potting soil in a bin.

10. Cocoa Bean Hulls Mulch

using Cocoa Bean as an alternative to mulch

Cocoa bean hulls are shells of cocoa beans that have been removed from the beans after they've been harvested. They can be used as mulch around plants because they're light, easy to spread around and work into the soil, and won't attract unwanted pests or animals. Cocoa bean hulls are also a good source of nitrogen and potassium, which plants need for healthy growth.

11. Coffee Grounds Mulch

using Coffee Grounds as alternatives to mulch

Coffee grounds are another great mulch option because they're light, easy to spread around and work into the soil, and won't attract unwanted pests or animals. Just make sure that your coffee grounds haven't been treated with any chemicals first. Coffee grounds provide nitrogen, which plants need for healthy growth. They also contain some potassium and magnesium, though not as much as cocoa bean hulls or cocoa bean shells.

But don’t add too many coffee grounds, or they will form a solid crust that won't allow air or water through. You should use enough coffee grounds so that you have an inch-thick layer at most


12. Landscape Fabric

using landscaping fabric as an alternative to mulch

Landscape fabric is a type of plastic mesh that you can use to cover your garden beds. This material is lightweight and easy to install, and it keeps weeds from growing while allowing water and air to penetrate. It's also very durable, so you don't have to worry about it breaking down over time.

You can also check our article for some great alternatives to landscaping fabric.

13. Peanut Shells

Peanut Shells

Peanut shells are another type of biodegradable mulch that is lightweight and easy to use. You will want to break them up before spreading them over your garden beds so that they don't clog up the watering system. Peanut shells are also a good source of potassium and magnesium, but they lack nitrogen. You should use them in combination with other types of mulch if you want to feed your plants.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this article has helped you to determine the best mulch alternative for your garden and landscaping needs. There are so many alternatives to mulch it'll be hard to choose just one! So have fun picking different options for your garden beds. and remember, don't be afraid to mix it up!

As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends who might like to know "What Can You Use Instead Of Mulch?".

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