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Mulch vs. Stone for Landscaping: What's Best for Your Home in Flower Mound, Lewisville, or Highland Village, TX?

Jack Moore
Jun 18, 2019 9:20:57 AM

You take pride in having a great-looking landscape. That’s why you want to make wise choices when it comes to various aspects of your property. You understand that the choices you make ultimately have a positive (or negative) impact on the overall look of your space.

One of the decisions that you might be pondering is mulch vs. stone for landscaping. Both are viable options and for different reasons. While some of it is personal preference, there are also some important pros and cons to consider regarding each material.

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Mulch vs Stone: The Pros and Cons

As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to each of these options. In order to make the best possible choice, you should definitely consider all of these points and make the decision that is best for you and your property.

Mulch Pros

Here are some of the key benefits of choosing mulch for your plant beds or tree rings.

plants and shrubs in mulch

  • Less Watering: Due to its ability to reduce evaporation, mulch helps keep your plants’ roots moist. That means that you may be able to reduce watering needs.
  • Weed Suppression: Mulch creates a barrier that can suppress weeds. By insulating the soil and keeping it slightly cooler, it’s more difficult for weeds to germinate and also more physically difficult for them to grow through a couple inches of mulch.
  • Creating a Nutrient-Rich Environment: As mulch breaks down, it has the nice benefit of adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil that plants need to thrive.
  • Creating an Ideal Temperature: Mulch also helps keep plants warm in the winter by insulating the roots from wind and freezing temperatures and cool in the summer by protecting roots from the summer heat.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: A lot of homeowners like the look of a freshly mulched plant bed or tree ring. Of course, whether you prefer the look of mulch over stone or not is a matter of personal preference.

Mulch Cons

Here are some potential downsides to consider when using mulch.

  • Poor-Quality Mulches Introduce Weeds (and More!): While a good mulch can suppress weeds, a cheap mulch can do just the opposite—it can actually introduce weed seeds into your plant beds. In fact, some really low-grade mulches can even have pieces of tire, glass, nails or other “junk” that you don’t want in there. This is the type of mulch that you often see on a roadside with a big “Free” sign on it. You simply have no way of knowing where it came from. It could be ground-up two-by-fours from a construction site and will introduce unwanted debris into your plant beds. This is why it’s important that you (or your landscape professional) is using a high-quality mulch.

weeds growing in mulch

Stone Pros

Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of choosing stone in the mulch vs. stone debate.

plants and shrubs growing in stone

  • Low Maintenance: It’s unlikely you’ll ever need to replace stones, other than maybe adding to the very top layer if significant fading from the sun occurs once every 5-10 years. This can also make stone the less expensive option in the long-term since there are no ongoing costs. But the upfront costs for stone materials and their installation are higher.
  • Weed Suppression: Like mulch, decorative gravel can be successful at keeping weeds away. However, over time, weeds can find their way through gaps that appear in stone-filled beds.

weeds growing in landscaping stone

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Plenty of homeowners really like the look of stone. Decorative stone and gravel is available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and color blends. Stone also lends itself to greater customization and can help you create a unique-looking landscape.
  • Ideal for Certain Locations: There are certain areas of your property where stone may be preferred due to the fact that it’s less likely to get tracked or washed away. For instance, stone is great around pool areas so that it won’t get tracked or washed into the pool. Any areas where water tends to wash out mulch (such as up against hardscaping), could be a good spot to consider stones.

Stone Cons

Here are some of the downsides to choosing stone.

  • Temperature Trouble: Rocks, especially darker ones, can really raise the soil temperature and create an environment that is not ideal for some plants. In fact, not all plants can adapt to living in a rocky climate, so you’ll have to be selective in your plant choices.
  • No Plant Benefit: Unlike mulch, which can be really great for plants and improve their performance, stones offer no benefits to your plant material. There’s no nutrient breakdown occurring from stone and therefore no improvement to soil health, either.

Mulch vs. Stone for your Complete Landscaping Needs

Whether you ultimately choose mulch or stone for your landscape beds (and tree rings), these features can be an excellent addition to your overall landscape project.

You and your landscaping company may also decide to use both mulch and stone on your property. Don’t feel as if you have to use one exclusively over another and they can blend very nicely together.

Grassperson crew performing landscape maintenance in Texas

We commend you for the time that you’re taking to research your options and understand a little more about them. As an informed consumer, you’ll be able to make the best possible decision for your property and therefore have that fantastic landscape that you’re after.

Of course, we also understand that you have better things to do than being worried about all of the nuances associated with moving forward with a project like this. As a busy homeowner, you just want to work with someone who can take over it all. That is, someone who can guide you to the best options (and is available to answer any questions that you may have) but that takes the reins so that you don’t have to worry about it.

At Grassperson, that’s exactly what we do. If you want to add an enhancement project such as mulch or stone landscaping to your Total Maintenance package, we can certainly do that and we can help guide you toward what might work best for you.

Want to let us take over your complete lawn and landscape needs? Get a Free Quote, then you can enjoy the best lawn on the block!

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