By Clayton Ditzler
Nature abhors a vacuum; in your landscape, that vacuum is bare soil. When a garden is young, before the plants have had a chance to fill in, you will inevitably have some weeding to do. However, to keep maintenance down, consider mulch as a long-term solution.
Mulch has many advantages, from looking good to conserving moisture, but from a maintenance perspective, its primary function is reducing weeding by covering bare soil. As mentioned previously (see Tip 4), mulch can also be used in dead spaces. Consider this trick: blend your planting beds into those dead spaces using the same mulch. If done properly, the dead areas look more natural.
When choosing mulch, look for options that are locally available in large quantities. Mulch tends to be bulky and/or heavy, so shipping it in from other areas means added cost. The components of local mulch will depend on where you live.
Inorganic materials, such as washed rock, must be used over a layer of landscape fabric. The fabric helps keep the rock clean and physically suppresses weeds while allowing air and moisture through. Organic mulch, such as wood chips, can be used without fabric, as it will break down over time and become incorporated into the soil.
This is tip 8 of 10 in Low Maintenance Landscapes