Parent Q&A

  • Hi,

    I am trying to sheet mulch my yard. I've found several companies that offer free mulch, but you need to have a HUGE driveway! My home has a teeny tiny driveway, so the truck that delivers the mulch wouldn't fit. I get the impression that the companies will not dump in the street, which I guess is understandable. So is my only option to buy mulch? It seems like such a shame to spend a bunch of money on something that I could get for free. Any suggestions? I'm sure this issue must have come up for others, since many Berkeley homeowners have small driveways.

    Thanks so much for your help!!

    Free may not always be the answer.

    Will your driveway fit a car. What do you mean by tiny? Maybe your driveway is big enough.

    Sheet mulching according to google is 

    Sheet mulching is a layered mulch system that nurtures the soil and replaces existing lawns or other vegetation, eliminating the need to remove unwanted plant material. The first layer is a biodegradable weed barrier—usually cardboard or multiple layers of newspaper—placed directly on the ground.


    What kind of material are they giving you for free. Is it toxic. Is it ground up eucalyptus? What is it. Will it do more harm than good for your environment. Are you just saving them money they would have to pay to dump their waste elsewhere?

    Are you trying to keep the weeds down? Retain water? Grow vegetables or what? 

    I would recommend using straw, maybe on top of a clean Cardboard. Organic food boxes? You can buy straw at the Golden gate fields or the place at Ashby and Sacramento, one bale at a time in the back of your car or in your bike trailer.

    Don't despair, just ask very nicely if they will deliver to the area at the opening of your small driveway, and assure them that you will provide plenty of space for their truck to pull up. (You can block off the surrounding area with garbage cans the night before.) Even with a large driveway, the trucks don't pull into the driveway, they just maneuver around and dump right at the entry to the driveway. In reality the mulch frequently ends up in the street, and provided you are ready to wheelbarrow it away pronto, nobody seems to mind. I am a Berkeley Realtor and I have seen this done many times! Feel free to call me for more advice -- Holly Rose (510) 847-0656.


    ive occasionally had luck getting a smaller load of mulch when a neighborhood tree is being cut down 

    Another thought, do any of your neighbors need mulch, have a big driveway, and wouldn't mind you grabbing a few trash cans full for your project?

    its nice to team up wfor th neighbors with resources like that.

    good luck 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Sheet Mulching Landscaper Recommendation?

July 2014

I'd love to find a landscaper who has experience and success doing sheet mulching. The garden is in a Berkeley. appreciate your input! -greenie

Just a piece of advice from a landscaper: despite what you may have heard, sheet mulching, while great for smothering out annual weeds, does not prevent regrowth of persistent perennial weeds. Bermuda grass in particular will remain alive and will find its way through the thickest sheet mulch. I've seen so many gardens that were mulched without first properly evaluating the weeds present that were completely overrun with Bermuda grass and other perennial weeds. Much better to identify your weeds first and eliminate the persistent ones before mulching to avoid disappointment.

Where to get free mulch?

Sept 2013

I'm looking for a source of free mulch. Does anyone know of local landscaping companies in the East Bay/Berkeley area that need a yard to dump their wood chips on? My front yard is crying out for some mulch.

The city of Albany has free mulch:

The City of Berkeley offers free compost/mulch to residents.  See 

Sheet mulching our front yard

Sept 2011

We are looking for someone who will sheet mulch our front yard which is currently mostly lawn (much neglected). Does anyone have recommendation for a gardener who would do such work? We are located in Lamorinda area. Thank you! Desparately seeking sheet mulching person

Hi, I sheet-mulched my yards two years ago and am 100% thrilled that I did. It has saved so much water and time and the look is so much nicer. I worked with a Claudia Vieira, a garden coach, who helped me through the process and who brought in the teen labor to do the hands-on work. She can be reached at: (510) 653-6535 or CVGardenDesign [at] Pat