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Why You Should Not Put Mulch Around Your House

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mulch around house

There are several reasons why you should not put mulch around your house. These reasons are:

  • Mulch attracts pests.
  • Mulch makes it easier for fungi to grow in and around your home
  • Mulch around the house can contribute to moisture being in a crawl space, basement, or downstairs area of your home.

Briefly speaking of course, mulch is not the best thing to add around your house and can cause issues to occur. Reading this article can help you get a better idea of why it is bad to put around your home and give you some alternatives to mulch. 

Why You Should Not Put Mulch Around Your House

A lot of people love to have flower beds around their home. They are beautiful so see especially if you have a nice patio or porch. There is just something about adding that simple yet drastic look with flowers. However, when you choose to put a flower bed around these areas of your home, you are probably planning on using mulch. 

Using mulch can help darken the background of the flowers and help make them pop out more against. However, mulch is not a good option to use around your house. But why should you not put mulch around your house?

Insects and Other Pests

Mulch is great for flowers, but there is a downside to using mulch. Mulch is a great harbor for pests and insects to live. Some of the pests that you can find in mulch are pill bugs and centipedes. These are not particularly troublesome when it comes to structure damage but can cause a huge infestation to occur.

There are insects that are known to cause damage that thrive in mulch. These are termites. While you may not realize it, mulch is made from wood and wood particles. This is a prime location for termite housing to start. If you have mulch around your home, there is a big possibility that you will get termites.

Perhaps you already have termites that you are not aware of. Mulching around areas of the home is a great place for termites to move and provides them with more space for nesting and colonies.

This can cause a huge problem with not only your mulch and plants but also causes significant damage to your wood frame home as well. 

Things to Prevent Termites and Pests

If you still want or need to use mulch around your home, there are some things that you can add as a precaution.

When using mulch around your home or any structure, you can leave a space of about a foot from your structure or home that is just ground. Keeping the ground dry can also contribute to less termites and pests being around your home. 

If you do need to apply mulch around your foundation, it is better to create as thin of a layer as possible next to your home. This can give you the benefits of using mulch for weed control and could help lessen the possibility of termites and other pests being in and around your home. 

Using a termite resistant mulch can also be a good alternative.

Fungi Grows in Mulch

Fungi can be a useful resource in some situations. However, it is not fun when it comes to being around your home. Since mulch is usually just finely chopped and ground up wood, which is why it is great for termites, it is also great for when it comes to growing fungi. Once this occurs, it can be hard to treat. 

Fungus lives in moist environments. This means that since mulch is used for retaining moisture for plants to grow while also keeping out weeds, it is like a petri dish for growing fungi. You can often try to treat fungus growths with fungicides, but that could potentially make the problem escalate. This is because once these are used on mulch, there is no chance for treatment to hit the soil.

 Soil is where the treatments need to be instead to prevent further growth and damage. 

Preventing Fungi While Using Mulch

If using mulch still needs to be done around the foundation of the building, there are some tricks that can be done to help aid in a decrease of mold and fungi growth. These include using bricks between the house and the mulch. 

Too Much Added Moisture

Mulch is known for holding in water and moisture. While this benefits plants, it is not good for being around houses.  Since most areas get plenty of rainfall throughout the year, especially the spring, mulch can cause an increase in water damage to occur. 

If mulch is placed too close to foundations or basements, all the water that is collected and stored in the mulch can become too much and drain into cracks and crevices along the walls. This can cause a crawlspace, basement, or even just downstairs to retain moisture and lead to bigger problems. 

Issues like flooding and water leaks are one thing, mold growths are typical when it comes to moisture inside areas like a basement. When the temperature warms up, the likelihood of mold growing inside the house is high. 

This can lead to needing an inspector to come out to assess the damage and remove most if not all of the mold growth. 

What to do Instead of Mulch Around the House

There are alternatives to using mulch around your home and garden. These can be great for preventing pests like termites and holding in moisture. Alternatives to use instead of mulch are:

  • Rocks or pebbles
  • Rubber Mulch
  • Leaves
  • Pine Needles or Pine Bark
  • Landscaping Fabric

Using any of these alternatives in place of wood mulch can help in a multitude of ways. From keeping the moisture needed for plant growth to being more visually pleasing. It also helps protect the ground from becoming too wet and contributing to fungi growth and moisture leaks in basements and crawlspaces.


We’ve shown you several reasons why it may not be a good idea to use mulch around your house, especially if you have a wood frame house. But, it’s still very useful around flower beds in your backyard.

We showcase how we mulched our backyard to remove grass and keep weeds at bay.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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