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In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows a homeowner how to properly mulch garden beds.

Steps for mulching a garden bed

  1. Cut a fresh border along the edge of the garden bed with a manual edger.
  2. Rake up all the existing mulch to reveal the topsoil.
  3. Shovel the excavated mulch, soil, and grass into a wheelbarrow and add it to the compost bin.
  4. Use a three-tine cultivator to carefully scrape old mulch from around base of the plants and trees.
  5. Use pruning shears to snip away all the secondary root growth from around the tree.
  6. Remove all the old mulch from around the tree.
  7. Order a truckload of mulch and have it dumped onto the driveway.
  8. Fill the wheelbarrow with mulch, and then use an ensilage fork to transfer the mulch to the garden bed.
  9. Rake the mulch out to 1 to 2 inches deep. Be careful not to pile mulch up against the base of the plants.
  10. Rake the mulch away from the outer edge of the garden bed, so it'll be easier to trim the grass with a string trimmer.
  11. Spread an inch of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it away from the trunk.