Stone vs Mulch, or Both!

Mulch isn’t the only choice for accenting landscaping. Many homeowners are choosing decorative stone in addition to or instead of mulch. Stone is a great low-maintenance alternative ground cover material for those who don’t want to spend a ton of time weeding around bushes and flower beds. Additionally, rocks and stones work better around the borders of pools and hot tubs as they stay in place better than other lighter-weight materials.

Both mulch and rocks are available in multiple colors and types.

Mulch isn’t just black or red, there’s an array of textures such as pine straw and shredded hardwood bark as well as cocoa bean shells, nut hulls, salvaged palettes that are ground up and even seaweed.

Here are some pros and cons of mulch and stones:


  • Nearly doubles the rate of growth for trees and plants.
  • Reduces water evaporation
  • Adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.
  • Stops weed seeds from sprouting
  • Keeps plants warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • Reduces soil erosion by up to 85 percent.
  • Needs replacing every one to four years.
  • Some organic mulches, like pine bark and hay, may contain weed


  • Almost never needs replacing.
  • Less expensive in the long run
  • If you live in an area with wildfires, rocks are better since they’re inflammable.
  • Keep weeds away longer.
  • Prevent soil erosion in windy areas.
  1. Can raise the soil temperature and lead to stressed, thirsty plants.
  2. Don’t aid plant growth or soil health.
  3. Create alkaline soil, which can hurt trees.
  4. Soil between rocks creates spots for weeds to grow.
  5. Rocks can prohibit rejuvenation pruning, creating unwieldy shrubs.
  6. If you want to remove stones, you must do it manually, which can be tedious

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