Adele DuranGO
Adele DuranGO
  • Tutorial Team
  • Bayfield, CO

How to Paint Your Backyard With Color Mulch!

2 Materials
1 Hour

I used to be a snob about Color Mulch. I shiver when I see a circle cut around a tree and filled with red mulch. "Oooo," I thought, "how tacky! That doesn't look natural at all!" Last year I broke my naturalistic snobbery and embraced my artistic child. I discovered Bold Color IS Natural! I learned to sweep the color over my garden canvas and paint with it -- how FUN! It added another dimension of excitement. Too bad it took me 40 years to discover it! I can take a chore I despise, spring mulching, and have a lot more fun with it. So this spring, I will share my pics as I spruce things up, if anyone seems interested.

Getting started. A little bitto red & rocks

I started in my herb garden, right outside the kitchen door. It is late May at 8,000 ft altitude, in SW Colorado. I can see which herbs and perennials have started. Time to clean up and mulch around them.

The red looks great, I think. So I continue to create a pathway, a flow to lead your eyes around the planter box I made many years ago. (converted from a fountain.)

When I am sure frost is over I will plant it with succulents. I've discovered that many plants in planter boxes require daily watering... and I like to leave for a few days at a time. So succulents thrive and really look interesting among our rock features no matter how long I'm gone. Succulents also look cool in the decaying log I upended on the far side of this pic - top near edge, with metal bunny.

Tender herbs like basil and a few veggies will go in a 8' x 5' section behind the planter. I've turned the soil so it'll be great in a few weeks.

Here's a closer detail of how I paint with color. I group white rocks together, for example, and arrange them in a swish... I sprinkle orange-toned rocks over the red mulch to add extra dimension.

I want the rock bench that is black and red to pop, so I use black mulch under it and add black lava rocks and throw in tiny doo-dads for character. I use brown mulch for middle-ground areas, with pine needles and bark accents for extra texture.

I spread lightly with the brown in some areas, so that perennial creepers like thyme, oreganos and veronica can spread more easily where I want them to. I keep their roots from going too far by careful placement of more rocks in the right places.

Here is a higher elevation taken from my bedroom balcony. It shows how color inter-relates to what I already have in place. How you repeat colors and patterns to create a flow around your yard. You can see how I prefer circles to rectangles... and it works.

Please forgive the grass for now.... I will overseed after frost has passed and it will add another sweep of color very shortly.

Have fun!

and let your creative juices flow.

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1 comment
  • Wendy
    on May 28, 2019

    Your herb garden looks so lovely, and the mulch does indeed add some beautiful color.

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