Back in the old, unsustainable days, everyone used to rake up the leaf litter from flower beds and lawns and cast it into the trash, leaving soil exposed to sun, wind, rain, and footfall. It sounded good at the time — keep the place tidy, avoid harboring pests and diseases, get your property looking all suburban and respectable, and let the magic truck take the bad stuff out of your life forever.
"Good" homeowners acted that way, and many still do. Just one problem: The castoffs weren't litter, and there was no "away." What people were really doing was squandering precious nutrients, water, and fossil fuels; causing pollution; harming their plants; supporting a destructive chemical fertilizer industry; increasing weed and pest problems; destroying their soil; and short-circuiting one of the handiest nutrient loops in the garden system.
Modern sustainable landscapers know better. They treat every molecule of organic matter with the utmost care, knowing that it's essential to the long-term health of their personal ecosystems. That's where mulch comes in. Mulch is a blanket of organic (or sometimes inorganic) material that sits on the surface of the soil. (It's not the same as soil amendment, which you dig into the soil.)
Mulch serves many functions in the landscape system, as the following sections show. If I had to pick the top two or three most essential elements in the sustainable landscape, mulch would surely be one.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.