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Replacing mulch

Posted by dinosaur1 5 (My Page) on
Fri, May 14, 10 at 18:59

I have brown mulch now and I am buying burnt orange mulch. Should I get rid of all of the old mulch?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Replacing mulch

LOL


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RE: Replacing mulch

I would get rid of the old. You'll have squirrels or birds in it and bringing the brown up in to the new.
CH


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RE: Replacing mulch

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b, NC (My Page) on
    Fri, May 14, 10 at 21:01

*:facepalm:*


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RE: Replacing mulch

Yeah, everyone seems to hate dyed mulch, but if it works for you then go for it.

Just leave the brown mulch in place and let it decompose with time.


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2 yrs ago is when I replaced mulch the last time. I ordered 8 ordered to go around my house and my blue spruces. If I just want to leave the old mulch and cover it with the new stuff how much should I order? Or is it best to just take the old mulch out completely so it doesn't mix in and look stupid?


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Burnt Orange

I think I might go with Burnt Orange mulch as the color. My home is light blue/grey and with a dark grey 3 dimensional roof. 2 yrs ago I put in dark brown mulch, but I think Burnt Orange brings out the landscaping more. Any thoughts?


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RE: Replacing mulch

A natural color is more natural :)


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RE: Replacing mulch

Let's assume that this is not a wind up for a minute, I am sure it is but let's suspend reality here.We purists try to design gardens that take account of what already exists so that the result is, if not totally vernacular at least fitting in some way. Now we are talking about changing the colour of a material that covers the soil to something more coordinated with the colour of the house. Do you see a contradiction in this or perhaps working backwards from my premise? If we go just a little further in this direction we could add artificial turf that has no reason at all to be green surrounded by a fence painted any way that Alice wants or a few tons of rocks that belong on a beach. Call me old fashioned but should we go down this particular rabbit hole?


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RE: Replacing mulch

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b, NC (My Page) on
    Sat, May 15, 10 at 20:07

If you really want orange mulch...then remove the old mulch and replace it with the orange mulch. That way digging squirrels cannot destroy your carefully planned color scheme.

Besides...old mulch can harbor plant pathogens. So it's a good idea to replace it for plant hygiene reasons.


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RE: Replacing mulch

If colord mulch is what you feel is best then take out the old and replace with the burnt orange. The reason that the dyed mulch is not such as a good thing is because the chemicals in dye can leach into the ground and be carried to storm drainage ponds or holding areas then make its way to rivers and streams. Much like the chemicals we put on our lawns. So natural mulch is a much better choice for the eco syestem. I am a big fan of the colored mulch because of its stunning look. However I use natural mulch and let the plant material put on the show. The natural does its job by enriching the soil, keeping weeds in check and holding moisture in the soil. Less watering. If 8 yards is what it takes then that is the way to go.


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RE: Replacing mulch

Aside from the fact that I personally would not use colored mulch, what I hear you saying is that you have a lot of concerns about matching, and adding, and what if it looks stupid. So that to me sounds like colored mulch will take you further into a zone of worrying about your mulch color from here on out. Is that what you want?

One of the reasons for the "natural" mulch approach is not just due to concerns about toxins, or personal taste in garden decor, but just that it's less hassle if you don't make your mulch, color or otherwise, the focal point of the garden. Goin' natural is more forgiving, the eye is sort of programmed to ignore it, you can repaint your house, evolve different colors in your garden plants, without worrying about matching at all.

Up to you, though.


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RE: Replacing mulch

All of the above, and more. I don't know, colored mulch always reminds me of the tester blotter by Kresge's lipstick bin... a slash of this next to a slash of that.

Having looked at your post with the updated patio pictures; you might get more bang for the buck by searching out burnt orange chair cushions. Better your bottom than the blue spruces.


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RE: Replacing mulch

Hey guys let's see if we can push this one to the 150 posts limit, there are pictures duluthib? .

I have been around gardens since before 'mulch' was considered an accessory to a gardens design like lipstick is to 'whatever' and even before someone burned an orange. I can't understand why someone would want to put lipstick on a pitbull, that is not a dog you would want to piss off as it has a character of its own and "chewed human" lipstick would not add anything constructive. Obscure? What is wrong with the colour of the earth over there where dinosaur lives?


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I think burnt orange mulch can be seen from space!

I had some of it in my backyard woodland garden near the conservation land... it wasn't until I saw a pic of the yard taken from the deck did it really strike me as glaringly un-natural. Now the area has a living mulch of viola labradorica with great little black accented dark green heart shaped leaves.

If it's useful for dino, really depends on the type of garden and the context.


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Dino- I'm not into burnt orange. I've had a thing about orange since childhood. And I'm not getting into the high energy color contrast thing you'd have going on with that burnt orange under your blue spruces with the blues and grays of your house.

I'm getting a monochromatic picture in my mind's eye for you, Dino. Lots of blue. I think you are a blue sort of person. I'm thinking cerulean, cyan, perse, sapphire or maybe even periwinkle. Take it deeper or softer. Do they have blue mulch?

And, blue is a natural color. Just look up. Whole sky of the stuff.

And, if you still want some complimentary accents, think of the gorgeous way that would set off your marigolds. I remember from an earlier post that you are fond of marigolds?

Wellie


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RE: Replacing mulch

A short time ago there was a post asking how to restore color to orange mulch as it faded quickly. Unable to find the discussion at the moment. However these colored mulches do fade so it seems a useless endeavor to remove the old mulch as shortly all will blend together.

Note to Ink...have you considered, based on recent questions here, that in these lean days of landscaping jobs there is another aspect of the business for which one could charge a consultation fee? Would really be easy. Show up with your color wheel ready to fulfill an owner's desire for garden decoration. Thanks to programs such as Curb Appeal, potential customers are being led down the garden path, led to the false understanding that landscaping is changing house colors, installing new front door, adding some sod surrounded by a few plants in bloom at the moment. Yup, that's where it's at...garden decoration, coordinated mulches, no understanding of future growth and appearance...finis...


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RE: Ink, this one's for you

Pictures? Yes, indeedy. Look at page 2, Sunday, May 9, 2010, post entitled "Suggestions for Patio design, New Pics after updates". (Sorry, I'm link challenged.)

I think this could go to 150... even without twirling windmills or grandma's cake stands glued up into totems.


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RE: Replacing mulch

Here's the link ...

But inquiring minds want to know ... Was Grandma's cake left out in the rain? And was the icing color burnt orange?

Here is a link that might be useful: Suggestions for patio design


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RE: Replacing mulch

  • Posted by rhodium New England Z6 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 18, 10 at 12:58

Okay I just saw the pics of your patio (Dino), and I think that is not the proper color mulch at all! Quite frankly your patio would then look a graded test exam with a bright red teaching assistants mark around your answer to explain where it went wrong. YOu did good by consulting with the LD pro's (I'm not one though).

Dino I would suggest you try just 1-bag of it just to see. If you want a little faint red coloration and a great smell, put in some cedar mulch.


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"I'm getting a monochromatic picture in my mind's eye for you, Dino. Lots of blue. I think you are a blue sort of person. I'm thinking cerulean, cyan, perse, sapphire or maybe even periwinkle. Take it deeper or softer. Do they have blue mulch? "

Got yer brain bleach handy?

Photobucket


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RE: Replacing mulch

Thanks for the visual (I think) at least I know the question is serious now. Didn't someone suggest spray paint on that thread Nandina well, this may be the answer as we already have painted rocks why not painted mulch? And talking about future growth given time those spruces will take care of most decorating needs eventually although a few hanging bowling balls might look nice, burnt orange would be my choice of colour.


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The www is just loaded with information that will probably never come up on Jeopardy but will be forever wired into my long term memory...

...Specialty Mulches such as Red (for early, cool season tomatoes), Metallic (for insect control) Brown (for higher soil temperatures) and Blue (for melons and squash).

Black Plastic Mulch for, but not limited to: tomato, pepper, eggplant, and vine crops.

Translucent Mulch, SRM Olive, is used for crops where an increase in soil temperature is desirable, ie, vine crops.

This company didn't carry orange - could be fruit, veggies, annuals, perennials, trees, and/or shrubs didn't respond in any way to this color.

Love that exquisite blue, cearbhaill...for melons, squash AND YUCCA. That's almost religious; the BVM in virginal white offset by blue and standing on a clump of something. (But not limited to cake stand totems.)


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RE: Bowling for dollars

Even Jamie Durie used an unexpected cache of bowling balls in the last Outdoor Room program I happened to catch. The "Wisconsin Inspired" one. I think Wisconsin is known for more than beer, brats, barns, and bowling.

I don't know if that worthy couple is going to be able to handle the arboretum's worth of plants dropped off by the Monrovia Nursery truck. There was the raised walkway and "impression" of a barn though.


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RE: Replacing mulch

I must confess that I didn't devote much time to this research but I couldn't find a timeline for when 'mulch' shifted from being a material that was spread between plants mainly for weed suppression to being a garden accessory. Why are chewed up and coloured palettes so sought after? Why is the sky blue? Where do the wurst brats come from? So many questions.


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Question for Ink (and anyone else who wants to take it on):

There seem to be two dominant reasons for eschewing dyed mulch:

1. The dyes are harmful to the environment.

2. It doesn't look "natural".

It suddenly struck me that only the first reason, the potential harm in the dyes, is really of importance. The second reason is simply a current norm.

Fashions change. Garden fashions change. Maybe burnt orange, or blue, or pastel speckled mulches will make people re-think their outdoor spaces. Once upon a time elaborate annual bedding designs were de riguer. Now we frown on annuals, except as fillers or quick, but temporary answers. Landscapes have also taken this long trail toward creating Nature in My Backyard. But how well do we really do it? How much of our fixation on making things look natural is really more about making our yards look like the current standard. Which can vary in particulars, but must adhere to certain fixed criteria, if it's going to be considered ... oh, I don't know what word to use ... fitting? Acceptable?

Question: Do well-designed gardens always look natural?

If so, why? Who came up with the standard for natural that we ascribe to in our gardens?

To put it another way, What's wrong with blue mulch?


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Why are chewed up and coloured palettes so sought after? To create markets for recycled wood products

Why is the sky blue? Raman effect

Where do the wurst brats come from? The worst parents

The dyes are harmful to the environment. If this was true then there would have to be an MSDS or application instructions on the mulch bag, so a counter question is what chemical in mulch is more dangerous than the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides found in the same garden center?


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I was trying to make a different point that was not based on the rightness or wrongness of natural vs. unnatural from a style or taste standpoint, but on the extra effort of maintaining the unnatural look that leads to questions such as, should I replace the mulch. This idea allows one to take into consideration square footage, cost, access, whether your "color" will be available whenever you need it, what is the average lifespan of the mulch you are using, how long you'll be living there.


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RE: Replacing mulch

  • Posted by rhodium New England Z6 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 19, 10 at 11:54

It's not atypical for maintenace companies to replinish mulch every year, to compensate for that lost to decomposition or other processes. Typically the coloration fades with time, so the annual renewal is also needed to restore the color. If you start with a natural colored material, then how the color change with age really is not quite so striking as with dyed mulches.

Red food dye has been re-approved for food use, but I don't know if that's the same dye used for colored mulch.


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YUP - blue spruce, orange marigolds, white rocks and orange mulch. It is a serious question and the answer is yes - orange mulch is perfect. High contrast.


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The dyes are harmful to the environment. If this was true then there would have to be an MSDS or application instructions on the mulch bag, so a counter question is what chemical in mulch is more dangerous than the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides found in the same garden center?

Okay, I'll allow that the dyes in mulch may not be harmful. But who trusts that warnings are always accurate or that knowledge of the effects of every chemical is complete?

If mulch is made from shredded shipping pallets, how do the buyers of used pallets know how the wood may have been treated -- or what possibly dangerous substances may have spilled onto the wood at some point (especially if the pallets originated in China)?

This is not to say that there aren't many other things we buy that have secrets we don't know about.

[Confession: I have been known to compost paper printed with colored ink.]


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As usual you have seen the sharp end Wellie. There was a time when gardens were looked down on, that is viewed from the 'piano' (second story) level. To be amusing patterns were drawn out on the ground (parterre)and filled in with sand, coal and anything else that provided a 'paint by numbers' solution. None of this had any horticultural significance as plants were seen as simply another material to play making patterns with.

I am writing a book here without touching on 'nature'.


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RE: Replacing mulch

To replace hyperbole and defensiveness with open discussion of facts, see the abstract below for an interesting discussion of arsenic in SOME dyed mulch. The indicators of potential arsenic in the mulch are also presented.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arsenic in mulch and indicators


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Interesting link, so now I won't feel bad when I'm asked to use the stuff. But I do wear gloves, as my hands always get stained!

Making patterns with mulch is an idea also... maybe mixing different colors together, red/black mulch, white rocks, colored glass, androcks with peanut oil ;)


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Anyone else picking up on the zen of all of this?

Patterns in mulch ... like that sand art thing. Or maybe I'm just flashing on orange robes In the LA airport in the 70s. Hari,hari! Krishna, krishna! or something along those lines ...

Maybe we could even sell limestone rocks? Remember Pet Rocks?


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Years ago, when people were asking about landscaping glass, somebody posted some links to photos of Mondrian-inspired landscapes. I was looking for them in connection to this thread, but didn't have any luck.

To be honest, I could see something like this in the foundation bed in front of my garage. A knot garden that wouldn't be thrown off by the sun/shade differences from one end to the other. However, how in the world I would keep the leaves out of it is mind-boggling.


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I hope your neighbor likes ORANGE mulch too! My next door neighbor uses a bright orange mulch in lieu of grass UGHHH! and whenever we get a winds - I find chunks of it spewed all over my front lawn and in my driveway.


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My next door neighbor uses a bright orange mulch in lieu of grass UGHHH! and whenever we get a winds - I find chunks of it spewed all over my front lawn and in my driveway.

Perhaps your neighbor would consider a bright orange snow fence to match his mulch.

*ducks*


Pic of plastic snow fencing in case you don't see much of it in 8a:
http://www.homedepot.com/Building-Materials-Fencing/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xr5Zbb05/R-100384032/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053


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Busy week folks, just in. Intelligent observations might have to wait until tomorrow. But it is surprising how differently people come at this suggesting that there is life in the old thing yet. Patterns on the ground mad.


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Obviously, welly a garden is an artifice. It may well have the intention of representing nature but a nature passed through the mind of a person. There is no way you want nature in your garden, nature is wild; Cindi Lauper not Polyanna. A garden is nature 'perfected', modernists attempted to deny this gardening fetish but without much success. What this means is that although a garden is artifice to be successful this must be disguised as spontaneous.


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RE: Replacing mulch

oxymoronically delicious. Aloha


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RE: Replacing mulch

I agree, Lehua, Ink is delicious. Right now though I think I'm close to delirium. Played hard all day in the garden, but realise this evening that I have, of all things, a head cold, achy in the joints, hope-I-don't-get-a-fever thing going on.

The word that caught me up though is spontaneous. First thought was to wonder again if Dinosaur is "spontaneous" or "artifice". Take that one on the literal level, but also wondering about how the human - environment connection really plays itself out. I mean, where does "human" and "nature" diverge? Maybe playing with colorful mulch is very essentially human--"Because I can. Because humans like to do things like this." So, Humans are nature, too, aren't we?
A few weeks ago I was reading The Architecture of Happiness. Interesting text. An idea was presented there--not the author's, if I remember correctly--that architecture expresses what we long for. He used the move in landscape architecture of the past few decades to try to tame nature and put it in our yards as one example. As Nature (capital N) disappears, we want to put it in the yard. Controlled, of course. and, looking "spontaneous" rather than artificial.


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So what your saying Ink is that our past and contemporary gardens (in the Western world) are a reflection of our society's view about itself and the world, in much the same way painting and sculpture is considered to be.


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RE: Replacing ideas

Not exactly Isabella, "a reflection of our society's view about itself and the world" is a difficult concept for me. I was talking specifically about nature in response to Wellsprings post of earlier and what it means to a gardens design. It is interesting that in yesterdays reply at 21:10 Wellspring wants to capitalize the word nature and this is an idea that does possibly reflect a society's view of the world. Nature has always been scary, if you have ever been at sea during a storm or stood close to a haystack on fire or walked through a forest at night or any other unsettling experience you have witnessed the power. Spelling the word with 'N' names this power but this is not what we want; when we talk about a 'water feature' we don't mean 15 foot waves and a force 10 wind. So I guess what we want Isabella is a suggestion of nature, you know not three wild horses running through foamy water but a reproduction print on the wall.

Please note that I have written this 'off the cuff' and if I ever get the time to elaborate I will.


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I took a humanities/philosophy class awhile (long...) ago in high-school, and we studied how philosophy changed with the advent of the age of reason and scientific thought. In a pre-20th century relatvistic understanding of the nature of matter and energy, there was the classical mechanics understanding of the world, which was dominated by a sense of order and sense that we knew everything about our world.

In my question about the topic (landscape patterns and Man's interpretation of Nature) being discussed herein regarding I was trying to understand if the idea that a garden (landscape) was influenced by the general pervailing philosophy of the era in a manner that other art forms were. A bit of a deviation maybe from the thread, but I'm trying to synethsize an understanding of how garden design in various ages is a comparative reflection of how philosophy has also evolved. I'm sure some changes are more fad and/or reactions to emerging technology, but maybe an overall sense of the age be seen in the arch-type garden design.

Sorry to be rambling on, and maybe this is more of a landscape architect doctoral thesis topic, but I find it interesting to consider.


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RE: Replacing mulch

Very interesting read here. Bet you wern't expecting all the great posts on mulch. Get the orange and don't spray paint something else to look orange. Chances are that is going to be worse and will not weather well. The key here is weather. To me it is like this. If I am the only one in my area that uses colord mulch shame on me for what I could be introducing into the environment. If all my neighbors use colored mulch shame on all of us for the same reasons. If you really want the burnt orange go for it but realize that it will fade and have to be top dressed each season. Ask yourself if you can get the same color every year. Maybe for some time you will. Then possibly your taste in color will change. Do check the compounds of dye and the safety to the environment. It may be minamal. Over time it maybe a bad thing. I don't see the mulch police comming to arrest you. What ever you do and I hope it was a joke. Don't spray paint. This just seems so wrong on so many levels.


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RE: Replacing mulch

Last time I posted, I mentioned a cold coming on ... Loathe being sick, but seem to be on the mend.

And ... as Storm says above, there are some things of interest here. First, spray paint. Did I miss something? Did someone suggest spray paint to create and/or "touch up" Dinosaur's future mulch? I think the spray paint was for the rocks Ink suggested as an additional accessory?

Ink, the Nature v nature thing. I was playing with an idea in Alain de Bottons book The Architecture of Happiness. Isabel mentioned philosophy. De Bottons other books include How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations Of Philosophy, and the Art of Travel. The main sections of The Architecture Of Happiness are: The Significance of Architecture, In What Style Shall We Build?, Talking Buildings, Ideals of Home, The Virtues Of Buildings, and The Promise of a Field.

Roughly, as he proceeds, he gives a sketchy overview of the history of architecture, exploring as he goes the whys and wherefores of what humans have tried to communicate when weve built the buildings that matter to us the most. Occasionally, he deals directly with landscapes, because, after all, buildings always find themselves located in a scape of land somewhere.

When I posted before, I was trying to capture his take on the idea that architecture expresses what humans of a certain time most long for. So, in a way, its both what you are saying, Ink, and what Isabel may be after. One thing we long for now is Nature. Id even say that we sort of long for the scary sort. Because we know its slipping away. Or, because of what weve done to it, its becoming something even scarier. We long to restore Nature, but we remain conflicted about it.

Much of what de Botton has to say deals with the communication between ourselves and our built environments. From one perspective you could say he has a great deal to say on burnt orange mulch and why and how we "feel" about it. He writes:

"A more disturbing aspect of associations lies in their arbitrary nature, in the way they can lead us to pass a verdict on objects or buildings for reasons unconnected to their specifically architectural virtues or vices. We may make a judgment based on what they symbolise rather than on what they are. We may decide that we hate nineteenth-century Gothic, for instance, because it characterized a house in which we were unhappy at university, or revile Neoclassicism, (as exemplified by the German ambassadors residence or by the work of the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel) because it had the misfortune to be favored by the Nazis. For proof of the capriciousness with which architectural and artistic styles fall victim to baleful associations, we need only note that, in most cases, little besides time is required for them to recover their charm."

Burnt orange mulch, however, isnt regarded as "charming" mostly because of the connections, real or otherwise, that we make between colored mulch and nature. We say, "It doesn't look natural." Well, lots of things in landscapes historically didn't mimic nature. Or, we say, "It'll harm the environment." Once upon a time, no one had that worry. That's a sign of our time.

Back to de Botton

"If it is true that the buildings and furnishings which we describe as beautiful evoke aspects of happiness, we might nevertheless ask why we find such evocation to be necessary. It is easy enough to understand why we would want such qualities as dignity and clarity to play a role in our lives; less clear is why we should also need the objects around us to speak to us of them. Why should it matter what our environment has to say to us? Why should architects bother to design buildings Which communicate specific sentiments and ideas, and why should we be so negatively affected by places which reverberate with what we take to be the wrong allusions? Why are we vulnerable, so inconveniently vulnerable, to what the spaces we inhabit are saying?"

In other words, how is it that burnt orange mulch can say so much to us?

Didn't find the quote connecting contemporary landscapes with our longing for nature ...


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RE: Replacing mulch

Bump - some posters on this thread have been missing for a while, are you still around?


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RE: Replacing mulch

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b, NC (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 15, 10 at 16:18

Still here...just WAY busy. ;^) It was a fun thread to revisit...thanks for bumping it up!


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RE: Replacing mulch

What luck to stumble upon this fascinating thread on a stormy night, after months of not checking this forum.

> This just seems so wrong on so many levels.

I couldn't have said it better myself, although the scope would be a little different than what stormz4 had in mind.

What on earth is a *:facepalm:* ?


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RE: Replacing mulch

A *facepalm* is what you do in a situation where someone has acted in such a way that you can't find words to express your reaction.

It involves covering your eyes with your hand. Sometimes people lean over; sometimes the head remains upright; often it's a bit of both. Usually it's done with one hand, but both hands may be used.

The asterisks indicate "facepalm" is to be interpreted as a gesture rather than a spoken word.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=999&bih=801&q=facepalm&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

The Star Trek: TNG examples are frequently posted in message boards.


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RE: Replacing mulch

I'm guessing digging missed the thread on spray painting for color coordinating the mulch. &_& (which is apparently an emoticon for eye roll).

Should probably start a new thread - the OP is presumably still getting these emailed to him per his request.


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RE: Replacing mulch

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 16, 10 at 22:49

The bottom line is that mulch of any kind is a a temporary groundcover. You plant a groundcover in the mulch and it takes over as the mulch deteriorates. All you should do after that is give the groundcover a top dressing of compost or wood chips as needed.....if needed. Much less material, labor, and money, than a complete mulch replacement.
Colored mulch as a design statement is foolish at best IMO.
Removing the old mulch and replacing it with a new colored mulch is even more foolish. You only see whats on top.


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RE: Replacing mulch

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b, NC (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 18, 10 at 10:19

missingtheobvious...heh. Thanks for explaining that so nicely. Do I "know" you from another board? One where that expression is common? My handle is the same everywhere...


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RE: Replacing mulch

Colored mulch as a design statement is foolish at best IMO.

There are many design statements that might be considered foolish. With the sublety of a ball peen hammer, some of them have even been discussed on this very forum.


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RE: Replacing mulch

mjsee, no, I've never used this handle anywhere else. And unfortunately I haven't seen your name on any other site I frequent.

I realized about 10 or 15 years ago that it was one of my personality traits ... took me a long time to realize I miss the obvious, because that was so obvious I missed it....


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RE: Replacing mulch

Glad to hear you're still participating, and still in full agreement over colored mulch!
I see Ink has disappeared, this time without a goodbye note, which is un-characteristic.


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