Your Guide On Choosing The Best Mulch Color For Your Lawn & Garden

Are you looking to give your lawn an extra boost of texture and color? Mulch is a great way to add some visual appeal while also keeping your plants and garden healthy.

Mulch can help retain moisture in the soil, suppress weed growth, and protect your plants from extreme temperatures. It can also provide a barrier against soil erosion, helping to keep the area looking neat and tidy.

Choosing mulch because of the health benefits it has for your garden is an easy choice, but choosing the right mulch for its visual appeal is a bit trickier.

Different colors of mulch can create different looks and may go well (or not) with the existing colors in your landscape (including your house).

The Two Types Of Mulch

Before you begin to think about which color mulch would best match your landscape, there are two main types of mulch you should consider first: organic and inorganic.

Organic mulches are made of natural materials like bark, wood chips, and leaves, while inorganic mulches are generally made of rubber, plastic, or stone.

Inorganic mulches are often more aesthetically pleasing, due to their wider range of colors, neater look, and the fact that they don’t need to be replaced as often.

  • Organic mulches generally come in colors typically dark brown, black, and red. This makes sense because wood chips and bark are the most common types of organic mulch and they are frequently dyed black, brown, or red.
  • With inorganic mulches, the color range is much wider and typically includes black, red, green, blue, and even pink.

Types Of Organic Mulch And Their Colours

Organic mulches come in a variety of colors depending on the type. For example, shredded bark may be brown or black, while pine straw is usually yellowish to golden brown.

Shredded leaves will add a beautiful shade of dark brown to your landscape and cocoa bean hulls often come in shades of red or black.

Grass clippings are usually light green and will eventually break down into the soil, adding vital nutrients.

Garden compost can have a wide range of colors as it’s made from multiple types of organic material.

As we said earlier, wood chips are the most common organic mulch to use and they are typically dyed for aesthetic purposes.

Be warned, though: colored mulch can actually affect the functionality of the mulch.

  • Black mulch absorbs and retains more heat than other mulch colors, which can be problematic in hotter climates. Black mulch is especially not recommended if you have heat-sensitive plants. Our recommendation is to use black mulch if you live in a cooler area.
  • Red mulch is a great choice if you are looking to add some warmth and vibrancy to your landscape. Red mulch makes for a popular choice because it stands out against the green of the lawn and garden. Interestingly, red mulch can actually affect the quality of yield of some crops, as cited by this study in regards to strawberries. The study indicated that red mulch “increased fruit size and improved concentrations of phytonutrient, flavor and aroma compounds.”
  • Brown mulch is a nice option for those who want to keep a natural and balanced look. Brown mulch looks great against green plants and lawns alike and works well for darker plants as well.

Red and black mulch is more commonly used in commercial applications as it takes longer for their color to fade.

Whilst brown mulch is the safest option to use and goes well with most color schemes, using red or black mulch can add a more vibrant pop of color and provide greater contrast.

Types Of Inorganic Mulch And Their Colors

Inorganic mulches come in a variety of colors, from black to red and even pink. These mulches are often made from rubber, plastic, and stone, so you don’t have to worry about the color being affected by weather or sunlight.

These types of mulch can also give your landscape a neat and tidy appearance that organic mulches don’t always provide.

However, inorganic mulch comes with distinct disadvantages from organic mulch, in that it is dead and not living! This means that they won’t provide organic nutrients to your plants. Consider this before purchasing such mulch for your garden.

There are numerous colors of inorganic mulch available, which vary depending on the type.

Stone mulch is a great option for those looking to add texture or create pathways in their landscaping. Stone mulch is available in a variety of colors, from natural earthy colors to dyed pink, blue, and green versions.

Rubber mulch usually comes in black and red, and is often used in playgrounds or landscaping around commercial buildings. Rubber mulch can be a great way to add safety (since it is soft and springy) and aesthetics to your landscaping.

Lava rock mulch is an increasingly popular option for landscaping, as it provides a unique texture and color that stands out. Lava rock mulch typically comes in shades of red, black, and pink.

You’ll find that most pebble mulch comes in natural colors, such as brown and gray but you can also purchase them in a wider range of shades. Pebble mulch is foot-friendly but unfortunately small enough to be washed away during heavy rain.

Pea Gravel and other gravel-based mulches come in a wide variety of colors, from blues to greens, grays, and even purples. Gravel generally isn’t recommended for households with small children as it can be very coarse to play or walk on.

Similar to pebble mulch, pea gravel is even smaller and prone to washout. Be sure to stick with garden borders if you are using either type of these mulch.

Marble chips are probably the most expensive type of inorganic mulch, but they add a unique and stylish look to your landscape. Marble comes in a variety of colors – from white to black, gray, and pink.

Mulch Colors That Go Well With Your Home’s Exterior

The color of your mulch should coordinate with the exterior of your home in order to create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing look.

For homes with white or light-colored siding, go for lighter colors such as tan or brown mulches. For darker houses, darker or more vibrant colors like black, red, and dark brown are best.

If you have a neutral-colored house, then you can get creative with your mulches and choose any color that coordinates well! Pastels such as pink and blue work really well in these cases.

Let’s go over the 3 most common mulch colors – black, brown, and red, and find out what works and what doesn’t work.

Black Mulch

Black Mulch

Black mulch is best used against homes that have a darker exterior. It works especially well with brick or stone homes and helps to emphasize the home’s architecture.

Alternatively, black mulch will also draw attention away from the mulch and onto lighter elements of your garden, offering a fantastic level of contrast. In a similar vein, if you have a white house, black mulch can really make it pop.

All in all, black mulch is great for a modern look.

Brown Mulch

Brown Mulch

Brown mulch is the most popular color as it goes with virtually any home’s coloring, from light-toned wood paneling to tan siding as well as darker palettes. It is also a great choice for landscaping in general, as it helps to blend the area together and create a cohesive look between light and dark plants.

Red Mulch

Red Mulch

Red mulch is best used as an accent color against a white or light-colored house. It can also be used to make a statement in an area of the garden that you want to draw attention to, such as around your front door.

Red mulch doesn’t generally work well with a brick house though. Too much red can simply blend your mulch into the background.

When it comes to plants, red mulch works great for lighter-colored vegetation where the vibrant contrast can really shine.

Note that sometimes dyed red mulch can stain concrete surfaces like driveways or footpaths. It’s a good idea to use this mulch within a barrier.

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