Benefits of mulch over decorative rock

Mulch or Decorative rock on your beds

When it comes to finishing your planting beds, there are 3 options: Bare soil, Mulch. Decorative rock. Heres a short breakdown to the pro's and con's of each.

Bare soil:

Pro’s

Soil without any covering is definitely easier to deal with, if you are looking to work your beds regularly. Move plants around or maybe your thinking of having veggies and herbs etc.

Cons

The downside to soil is that it tends to dry out faster as well as form a crust which will need to be turned over regularly. It also allows weeds to manifest quite quickly, and once they get going, it can be quite a chore to stay on top of. Although turning over with a dutch hoe or a rake is quite quick and painless. Personally I find soil around plants as a finish to be the least appealing.

Mulch:

These days, there are a lot of types of mulch to choose from, Cedar Nuggets to very fine Mulch. It really depends on your preference and what end vision you have for your landscape. Mulch can be a great benefit to your planting beds, if youre not looking to work them regularly, but prefer to plant your beds and then sit back and enjoy them.

Pro’s

One of the benefits of mulch are, it helps to keep moisture in the soil for longer. It can also keep weeds down . Before adding more mulch each year you can amend the soil by turning the old mulch into the soil before putting a new layer on top.

Cons

Whilst Mulch is a fantastic overall look to finishing beds, I have found you also have to take watering into consideration. Mulch when dry tends to move around when its windy, Large nuggets, not so much, but the Finer mulch will travel when theres abit of a breeze. To prevent this problem, I have found its best to water from above ie hose, irrigation sprays etc. If you have soaker hoses or drip, then mulch is going to be migrating onto wallways, lawn etc, mainly because the mulch mostly stays dry. It may be better to consider using decorative rock for this type of watering application.

Decorative Rock:

With all the decorative rock choices on the market today, its hard not to find one you will like.

Pros

Beds will be more weed free for longer. Good option for xeriscaping. It doesn’t move to much over time.

Cons

This is one of the most expensive options on the market as its charged and delivered by weight. Not a viable option if you like to work in your beds, as moving plants around can be quite cumbersome. You will need Fabric on the soil if you want the rock to be a good weed barrier. Not a good option under coniferous trees and hedges as it hard to keep clean.