Which Is Better for Landscaping: Mulch or Rocks?

Landscape mulch or landscape rock- which is the better choice for your landscape? Both have their own unique benefits, but one may be a better fit for your needs.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at landscape mulch and landscape rocks to see which one is the best option for you!

What Is Landscape Mulch?

Mulch is a material, usually organic, spread over the surface of the soil in landscape beds. Its primary purpose is to protect plant roots and hold moisture in the soil, but it also can give your landscape a polished look.

Many different types of landscape mulch are available on the market, including wood chips, pine shavings, pine straw, leaves, and even rubber mulch.

yellow petaled flower beside wooden fence

What Is Landscape Rock?

Landscape rock is a material, typically inorganic, that is used to create landscape beds and other decorative features in the landscape. Landscape rocks can be found in various colors, sizes, and shapes, making them versatile landscape materials.

While landscape mulch is usually spread over the soil’s surface, landscape rocks are typically used to create landscape features such as beds, edging, walkways, and ponds.

So, which is better for landscaping- mulch or rocks? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide!

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green moss on gray rocks

How to Choose Between Mulch and Rocks for Your Landscaping Needs

When choosing between landscape mulch and landscape rocks, there are several factors you will need to consider, including your landscape’s design, climate, and maintenance needs.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding between landscape mulch and landscape rocks:

Design

Landscape mulch can be used in various landscape designs, from formal gardens to naturalistic landscapes. Landscape rock is best suited for more formal landscape designs or those with a minimalistic aesthetic.

Climate

Landscape mulch can help protect your plants’ roots from the heat if you live in an area with a hot climate. Unfortunately, landscape rock does not provide the same level of heat protection and can make your landscape beds hotter.

Maintenance

Landscape mulch will need to be replaced every year or two, while landscape rock can last for years with little maintenance.

Pros and Cons of Landscape Mulch

Mulch is a landscape material that is placed over the soil to protect it, keep it moist, and add nutrients. Many mulch types are available, including wood chips, bark, leaves, and straw. Mulch can be bought in bags or bulk.

Pros

  • Mulch helps to control weeds.
  • Mulch conserves moisture in the soil.
  • Mulch moderates soil temperature.
  • Mulch adds organic matter to the soil as it breaks down.
  • Mulch can improve the appearance of your landscape.

Cons

  • Mulch can attract termites, mice, birds, and other insects.
  • Mulch can harbor diseases and fungi.
  • Mulch can blow away in windy weather.
  • Mulch can be ugly if it is not placed correctly.
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Gray Concrete Blocks and Green Trees

Pros and Cons of Landscape Rocks

Landscape rocks are inorganic materials, such as gravel, that are used to create landscape beds and other decorative features. Landscape rocks come in various colors, sizes, and shapes.

Pros

  • Landscape rocks are durable and long-lasting.
  • Landscape rocks require little maintenance.
  • Landscape rocks can help control weeds.
  • Landscape rocks can improve the drainage of your landscape beds.

Cons

  • Landscape rocks can be expensive.
  • Landscape rocks can be challenging to install.
  • Landscape rock can be blown away in windy weather.
  • Little kids and pets may be interested in playing with the landscape rocks, which can make a mess.
  • Landscape rocks can discolor or get dirty over time which can look undesirable.

Now that you know the pros and cons of landscape mulch and landscape rock, you can decide the best option for your landscape!

Green and Brown Garden

Which Option Is the Best for You

Now that we’ve gone over each type of landscape material and its pros and cons, let’s touch on how you can decide which landscape material is best for you.

As we mentioned, landscape mulch is an excellent material for those who want to add organic matter to their landscape beds and control weeds. Landscape mulch is also a good choice for areas with hot climates since it can help protect your plants’ roots from the heat.

On the other hand, landscape rock is best suited for more formal landscape designs or those with a minimalistic aesthetic. Landscape rocks are also suitable for landscape beds that need good drainage or live in windy areas since they are not as likely to be blown away.

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At the end of the day, the best landscape material for you depends on your landscape’s design, climate, and maintenance needs. So consider these factors when deciding between landscape mulch and landscape rock!