Around these parts, mulch is a primary landscaping tool, the rule rather than the exception. Mulch is available in a variety of colors and textures. It can be bought by the bag at big box stores and filling stations, hauled from the county biosolids site for free or for a couple of hundred dollars a dump truckload can be delivered to one's doorstep.
In my poorer days, I mulched my flowers and shrubs with grass clippings. They served the purpose of discouraging weeds while retaining moisture. Then I graduated to bags of mulch, then an annual dump truckload, and now have backed off to a couple of pickup truckloads a year from the biosolids site. My goal is to be virtually mulch free, though, just like in those fancy landscaping books.
Some of my beds have achieved this state of grace, most famously the hosta bed on the north side of the garage.
|Hostas as far as the eye can see.|
|Help! Save me! I'm drowning!|
The front of the house is also filling in nicely, mostly with a selection of tall and low growing sedums.
The other beds around the foundation of the house are similarly packed. I won't say these beds are weed free, but they are relatively easy to keep that way. My yard and its planting may not look "normal" but it suits me just fine.
(Deja vu! I feel like I have covered this topic before, but I can't find a similar posting. Oh, well!)