Landscape Rock vs Mulch – Why Stones are better!
One common question we often get at Tampa Bay Ponds about landscape gravel vs. bark or wood chip mulch is:
What are the advantages to using one of these landscape product types over the other?
We’ve compared the pros and cons of each material that you should consider depending on your project.
The Pros and Cons of using Mulch
Bark mulch is able to serve several purposes, both functionally and aesthetically.
Reasons to use Bark Mulch or Wood Chip Mulch
1. Retain moisture levels in the soil,
2. Help to discourage the growth of unwanted weeds around flowers, vegetables and other plant life.
3. Organic mulch like wood chips will decompose over time. The process of decomposition replenishes the surrounding soil with nutrients, and fertilizes vegetation.
4. Easy and cheap to install
Reasons to choose Landscape stones over Mulch
1. As mulch decomposes it will need to be replaced if you want to keep the area looking fresh. This is maintenance that will be required either yearly or bi-yearly. It can get expensive!
2. It attracts insects like roaches and termites.
3. Color fades after few months.
4. It can wash away in areas that flood or beneath downspouts.
5. Not easy to clean up debris or to blow off leaves out of it.
6. Mulch could catch on fire. A lit cigarette tossed into a bed of bark mulch on a hot, spring day in the middle of a Florida drought has been known to ignite a small flame.
The Pros and Cons of landscaping with Gravel or Stones
In recent years, here at Tampa Bay Ponds & Rock, we have noticed that it has become increasingly common for gravel to be utilized as an inorganic mulching compound.
1. Gravel is known for its ability to promote healthy drainage, slowly percolating water back into the soil and ground supply. This is especially advantageous in areas where water otherwise has a tendency to collect and stand, or around plants that generally prefer drier conditions.
2. Landscape Stone and Gravel doesn’t decompose or decay, meaning that it won’t need to be replaced on an ongoing basis like mulch but it needs to be refreshed from time to time to keep an aesthetic look.
3. Gravel acts like mulch discouraging the germination of weeds.
4. If you use large gravel like 1-3 inches, you can blow off the leaves out of the plant beds
5. You could also find gravel available in a huge variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
One of the largest cons of gravel is that it is more expensive than mulch, a bit more difficult to install and you may need to install edging to keep the gravel out of the grass areas. However, landscape stone in your beds is more cost effective over the long haul when you do not need to replace it every year.
Another negative regarding the use of landscape rocks and gravel is that it holds and reflects heat, so your plant could feel an increase of the temperature around them.
Gravel vs Mulch: Which is Better for Your landscaping needs?
Both materials have their merits and can work well in promoting soil and plant health. Ultimately, what it comes down to is your specific requirements and your personal preferences.
First, understand the needs of your plants. As organic mulch can absorb and hold a lot of moisture while preventing the evaporation of the soil’s moisture, it’s smart to use wood chips and similar materials around plantings that require plenty of water in order to thrive.
Gravel will prevent erosion, but won’t retain moisture well, instead focusing on ample drainage. This makes the material best suited to vegetation like succulents, cacti and other dry plants.
You’ll also need to think about aesthetics. How would you feel after few months when the mulch color fades away? Would you prefer instead the looks of the smooth brown gravel or the striking color of the Red Crimson stones?
Some careful consideration makes the decision of choosing between gravel and mulch much easier and more practical.
Discover a huge selection of Landscape Stones and Gravel in the Tampa Florida Area!
At Tampa Bay Ponds we recommend landscape Stones and gravel and carry a huge selection of sizes, shapes and colors.
Tampa Bay Ponds & Rocks offers high quality landscaping supplies like natural – boulders, river rocks, pebbles, crushed shells, mulch, etc, in addition to a variety of pond fish and other pond accessories.
If you have any questions about how you should landscape your home and what types of stones will work best for your home or business call us today at (727)738-4974