Mulch versus soil


Looking for an answer to question of whether it is better to top off flower beds with soil or with mulch. see that many of the $$ homes in the neighbourhood use soil instead of mulch, so wondering if there is something we don’t know.


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

What is your purpose for using soil or mulch? If you decide to add soil to your garden, this will improve fertility, aeration, water and nutrient-holding capacity, root penetration and workability of the soil. You mentioned that you have a garden bed. Is the soil compacted? Are plants having difficulty growing? Are you planting annual plants and adding other plants throughout the growing part of the year? If so, soil is a good choice.

Using mulch will be have a different purpose. Mulch helps decrease the number of weeds in the garden and also helps retain moisture in the soil. This helps plants develop deeper roots, and keeps plants from drying out. Some mulches break down after a couple of years adding nutrients to the soil. Mulches have many advantages and depending on the needs of your garden, mulch might be the way to go. I’ve included an article on mulches.

I am also including an article on soil as it pertains to gardens and soil fertility:

Soil Fertility: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Mulch and soil have a different landscape appearance. And you might prefer a mulched look to your garden or a more cleaner look with soil. Once you’ve examined your needs, you can then make the appropriate choice as to what is best for your garden.