Today’s Miraculous Little Discovery: Black Mulch

I’m not sure that I’ve accurately conveyed the scale of the disaster that has been happening at our house these past two months, commencing promptly on January 2, when we discovered the poopriver in our driveway. In the eight weeks following that super-fun incident, all of the following events transpired:

  • The city services people came and charged us $3,500 for the privilege of having our sewer drain moved ten feet, so that they could fix a problem that they had created.
  • In the course of “fixing” said drain sewer, the city services people also created a series of massive holes in front of our house.
  • Notwithstanding the fifty thousand calls I have placed to city services, said holes are still present and accounted for, as are the very attractive signs and cones they left as a “safety precaution.” (Protip: massive holes in your driveway tend to be unsafe regardless of whether or not they have neon-orange accessories.)
  • I used a sledgehammer to remove the rest of the cement in our park strip myself, thereby landing myself in a doctor’s office with a neck that would not move and confirming my suspicion that I should probably never be allowed to use a sledgehammer.
  • Our fence fell down during a storm.
  • Our other fence fell down during another storm.
  • My computer broke and I have to buy a new one, which has nothing to do with the weather but STILL.

Soooooo I think it’s safe to say the exterior of our house (both back and front) has looked better. I think it’s also safe to say that there have been times in my life when I’ve had fewer massive emergency expenses.

What does all this have to do with black mulch, exactly? Post-bombogenesis, there were several areas of the front yard and the backyard that had transformed into utter disaster zones, what with the missing cement and the torn-up plants and the broken boards everywhere, and I had spent all my disaster money on previous disasters, like pooprivers. Enter: black mulch, which is $3.99 for a large bag, much more clean and streamlined-looking than the more traditional brownish-red stuff, and covers oh, such a variety of sins.

Here, for example, is the park strip on January 2nd (pre-cement-hacking and doctor’s visit):

sewer issue resulting in removal of cement

That was a fun night.

But here it is now:

how to use black mulch for your home exterior landscaping

Better. About $50 worth of mulch (versus about two grand for new cement), and I think the overall look is actually preferable to what it was before – it’s certainly softer-looking than all that cement.

As a second example, here is what the edge of our fence looked like after the storm last week:

bombogenesis storm damage in california

(I know.)

And here is what it looks like now:

how to use black mulch for your home exterior landscaping

Black mulch + river rock edging + lavender plants = a grand total of $18. (Well, plus the cost of replacing the fence, but details.)

In short: the exterior of our house is significantly less terrifying at the moment than it should probably be, and for that I have to thank the tiny miracle that is black mulch.

P.S. I’m still playing around with ideas for what plants to add to that park strip – lavender? succulents? more colorful stuff? – and would love any opinions!

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