Should you really go to all the expense of ordering mulch from a sand and gravel company? After all, you can find mulch for free on Craigslist every day. Landscapers and homeowners toss excess. They also offer old mulch for free when they replace it. So, why not take advantage of this common freebie? It certainly seems like a good idea. Unfortunately, this freebie isn’t really free. It can also be a bad idea for other reasons.
Double the work load.
Think about it. That sand and gravel place delivers a huge load right to your doorstep for a small fee. OK. Maybe it’s not such a small fee. Still, it’s worth every penny if you have it. Why? Because if you pick it up yourself, that means you are moving it twice. Once to pick it up and get it to your home. Once to get it where it’s going after you dump it in a pile in your yard.
That free mulch will likely take several trips to transport. So, now, you have to shovel more, move more and pay for the gas going back and forth. See? Not exactly free right? OK. It will save you a few dollars on the transport end. Plus you can’t beat the non-existent cost of the actual material. Still, the cost of your own labor plus gas has to count for something, doesn’t it? Surely you’re worht more than that to yourself.
Hired help and time.
Let’s face it. If you plan to pick up, say, 3 yards of free mulch by yourself, it’s going to take a long time, a lot of trips and a lot of work. Of course, you can ask someone to help. Do you really want to do that to a friend? You probably wouldn’t without compensating them in some way, right? So there you go. Once again, this is not exactly going to be free. It’s also not going to leave with with much free time.
True, sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you find brand new leftover landscaping materials for free. Most of the time though, that’s not the case. That free mulch is probably faded and partially composted by nature. Which means that it doesn’t have much life left in it. Not only that, you have no way of knowing what kind of chemical pesticides or fertilizers were used in that yard. Why go to all that trouble only to have to replace it next year or have your organic garden contaminated with chemicals or pests carried by the old mulch. It’s just not worth it.
Weighing the odds
There are, of course, other factors. Mainly, there’s the bottom line. If you simply cannot afford to order mulch, you don’t really have a choice, do you? On the other hand, if you have no vehicle to transport the mulch and/or no friends to help, ordering is probably your best option. Weigh the odds and decide what’s right in your particular situation. Just don’t assume that the free mulch doesn’t cost you anything. Didn’t your Mom tell you that nothing in life is free?