All - Newbie here - thanks for taking the time to read my question! I'm currently covering beds with pinestraw and am looking to move to a mulch. I'm primarily looking to mulch for ease of up-keep. I'm looking at the broad spectrum of mulches: natural cypress, cedar, shredded hardwood, shredded pine bark, dyed hardwood (red, chocolate, or gold), etc. Based of price and initial look, we're thinking of doing a mix between cypress and cedar. We have some concerns however, primarily the light color (fading, contrast, etc). So, here go the questions: Comparing the non-dyed options, which color fades the quickest or is it a relatively common rate from material to material? I understand that with the slow decay rate of cypress/cedar that color fading may become a problem as the color fades so quickly in comparison to the material break down. Any thoughts? My house is sand (light beige) with black shutters. I have basic shrubs around the house (pittosporum, indian hawthorne, helleri holly). I have varoius beds with 7 japanese maple varieties, river birch, and crape myrtle. Various perrenials are spread throughout. What color contrast will look best in such an environment? Is the natural cypress/cedar going to give enough contrast? Several people have recommended shredded hardwood to me. The problem is, at least with the bagged stuff from Lowes/HomeDepot, is that my wife thinks it looks like dirt/mud when its down. Its shredded SO fine and the color is nearly black. Is this correct for shredded hardwood? Also, is there any concern with washing/blowing away with shredded pine bark? Several landscapers have recommended going the bagged route over the bulk route to me simply for the ease of application. I need about 8 cubic yards...100 bags vs. hundreds of wheelbarrel loads from a driveway pile (less work). Thanks so much!