Finishing Touches – What about Bark (and other materials)?

When working on your landscaping we often think of the big items: retaining walls, paver patios, synthetic turf, even a French drain, but the finishing touches also matter. How to give your landscape that final shine can be something as simple as adding a fresh topcoat to your flower beds. 

Bark, bark dust, mulch, compost, chips; lots of names for various products. Some of them may be used interchangeably, but there are differences between them, and a good landscaper will know which product to use when to make your yard the envy of the neighborhood. You learned all about rocks in one of our posts, now you can learn all about bark and why it is important (and maybe a little more about rocks).


First things first, in our company, mulch isn’t a noun, it is a verb. That means that mulch is a technique for spreading material. You can have bark mulch, compost mulch, and even rock mulch or rubber mulch. Mulching isn’t what you buy, it is spreading the material in an even layer in the landscape. So, for the course of information we provide, mulch isn’t a product. 


In some places (like in Utah where the author of this post grew up) people use the term mulch in place of compost. Compost is a soil additive that is used to improve the nutrients and fertilize where your plants are growing. It is especially important when doing the initial planting because the soil in the Portland Metro area (Canby excluded) is typically terrible clay. The compost can provide much needed nutrients to your plants.

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