If you're getting ready to do a bit of gardening or landscaping, and you are planning on buying mulch, you might be confused about all the different varieties. There are lots of gardening books, and landscaping books, that will only tell you to use "mulch". However, when you get to the home improvement store you find that they sell lots of different types.

Here's some info on mulch types to help you get started as you head to the mulch supplier.

Cedar Mulch

Cedar mulch is one of the most popular types of wood chip mulch. The reason people like it so much is that cedar is a very moisture resistant wood. Because of this, the cedar mulch won't decompose too quickly. Cedar mulch is perfect to use as a bedding around small shrubs and flowers. It comes in natural and dyed versions. The choice is up to what you think will match your shrubs. You should not use cedar mulch with a vegetable garden because it prevents the necessary water that vegetable plants need from reaching their roots. Also, cedar mulch takes a long time to break down, so it would end up destroying the garden bed.

Straw Mulch

Straw mulch is made from dried straw. This is oftentimes used to protect plants over the cold winter. The straw is an excellent insulating material. It traps the warm air near the ground and prevents the cold air from getting to the plants and harming them.

Grass Mulch

Grass mulch is made from cut grass. You can usually make this yourself if you have a mulching lawnmower. Just remember to attach the bag to the mower so it collects the mulch instead of shooting it out the side.

Grass is perfect for a vegetable garden because it allows adequate water to get through and it also decomposes quickly.

Rock (Mineral) Mulch

If you are using mulch in a decorative space that doesn't have lots of plants and flowers, then rock mulch is perfect. It lasts a really long time and is very sturdy. You can use it as ground cover in lieu of grass. If you do have a shrub or tree in the area, don't worry. You can lay mineral mulch around the base and water will still get through. You can see examples of this style of gardening in the Southwest where homeowners plant cacti and other dessert plants and use mineral mulch.  You can choose from a quartz, brick, or even lava stone mulch. They come in different shapes and colors.