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  • Hursh's Landscaping

Should I Use Mulch, Soil, or Decorative Rock for My Landscape?

Landscaping requires some technical know-how to get it right. While you may be tempted to mix it all up or try to achieve the same effect from a fancy magazine that impressed you, you should be aware that you may eventually end up with undesired results.

This is often the case when the choice to use mulch, organic soil, or rock comes into play. While each has its aesthetic and practical benefits, they all have certain cons you may or may not be able to cope with.

Decorative stone vs mulch

Organic mulch comes from various tree species like pine, oak, cedar, spruce, and Douglas fir. Additionally, they can be dyed in various colors, allowing you to choose a preferred shade. Organic mulch is also easy to add to your garden beds for a well-manicured and instantly polished look.

Despite this, some traditional gardeners may prefer the sturdiness of decorative stone or rock, as it helps to insulate the soil from wind erosion while reducing temperature fluctuations. Stone also prevents weed growth with sufficient depth.

No matter the aesthetic qualities offered by either option, always remember that nothing is as important as adequate soil cover is more important. The threat of weeds means you must always consider maintaining soil moisture and temperature.

Why you should choose mulch over rock

Here’s why you might want to consider organic mulch over decorative rock:

  • Mulch is great for retaining soil moisture and reducing surface evaporation, so you’ll spend less time watering

  • Mulch is organic, and when it decomposes, it adds more nutrients to the soil

  • There is adequate cover against weed growth

  • Mulch is cheaper than decorative rock

Cons of mulch

Here are some of the disadvantages of mulch:

  • Mulch has more recurring maintenance and requires replacing annually due to decomposition

  • Mulching late in the season can allow time for weed growth

  • Over-mulching can damage plants

Advantages of decorative rock over mulch

Here’s why rock might appeal to you over mulch:

  • Rock is easy to maintain

  • Although the initial costs are higher, you save more over time with rock

  • Rock is highly durable and fireproof

  • It comes in various colors, shapes, and sizes

  • Rock is great for high-traffic areas

Disadvantages of rock

  • Rocks need a fabric weed barrier underneath to prevent weeds from growing up through the rocks.

  • Soil temperature cannot be easily regulated under stones, meaning that plants can overheat and die.

  • Falling debris and leaves and debris can get caught between the stones and have to be removed manually or carefully with proper tools.

  • Rocks need a raised edge to keep from shifting.

  • Decorative stones don’t add to plant and soil health like mulch and can lead to high soil alkalinity, which is unhealthy for some plants.

Choose the best material for your landscape today

There are several things to consider when choosing the right soil covering for your yard. Stone, mulch, and organic soil are all great options, but it’s important to ensure that it works perfectly for you in the short and long term. Contact us today, and let’s guide you in choosing the best option for your landscape.



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