Placing mulches around your plants helps reduce weeds, retain moisture and adds a decorative touch. Mulches can be organic, such as bark, leaves, nut shells or straw. These mulches will decompose and add to the soil structure. Others are inorganic, such as gravel or landscape fabric, and will not add to soil health. Some mulches come in various colors, from earthy browns and grays to bright reds and blues.
Bark comes in an assortment of reds, tans and browns. Red cedar bark mulch, for example, has a red tone, while fir has a rich reddish-brown color, hemlock bark is deep brown, cypress bark is tan, and black pine mulch is a deep blackish-gray. There are also artificially colored mulches in blue, pink and other colors. Other wood products used for landscape mulch include sawdust and wood shavings. Both are ground from the inner wood of trees, rather than bark.
Rock mulches come in a huge range of textures and colors. Some people enjoy the snowy white gravel, which really sets off cacti and succulents. Others may prefer rust-colored lava rocks. Smooth, gray river rocks complement deep green evergreens well, and larger rocks can outline and define beds. Polished black pebbles work well around shrubs and ferns. Other mulch colors include brown, tan and green. Some rock mulches come in mixed colors, and can vary from small, pea gravel to large, basketball-sized boulders.
Rubber mulch is typically made from ground up rubber tires, and offers some of the greatest color diversity. Sometimes, it's colored to look like a natural wood mulch, but there are also a number of colors not normally found in mulches, such as lilac, turquoise and blue. Rubber mulch is often used on playgrounds and in pathways due to its durability, but its color palette invites creativity in designs. Custom colors can be created for special landscape needs.
Glass mulch is made from recycled bottles and other recycled glass. There are as many colors available as there are types of glass. Not only is this glass used as a ground cover, but it's used in pathways, between pavers and in pots. The mulch adds a bejeweled quality to landscape designs and draws the eye to landscape features. Sometimes glass mulch is used to line fire pits. Blue glass is often used to create artificial rivers, ponds and water features.