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Should I Use Mulch or Decorative Stone?

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Landscaping can quickly become a property owner’s nightmare if it is not executed and managed suitably. There are a lot of decisions to be made when it comes to landscaping, and you may find yourself debating between using mulch or decorative stone. Both options have relevant pros and cons to consider.

While mulch may be the more common option, that does not mean it is the best. River rock is becoming increasingly popular because it offers several unique benefits that can make landscaping easier and more manageable over time. Keep reading to find out more about using decorative stone or mulch.

The Benefits of Mulch

It cannot be denied that mulch offers some landscaping benefits. After all, it has been used for many years for a reason. After planting trees, flowers, or shrubs, mulch is the typical finishing touch. Landscapers use mulch to bring a yard together for a polished look. It is mostly used for the following reasons.

· Water evaporation is reduced, so you do not have to spend as much watering.

· Mulch can help to prevent weeds for a brief period of time.

The Drawbacks of Mulch

Many people choose mulch because it has a lower cost. However, they forget to factor in the fact that mulch has to be replenished or replaced on a regular basis and it requires considerably more upkeep. The expiration date for mulch is fairly short, which adds up in more costs over time. Other issues to consider with using mulch include the following:

· Mulch has limited decorative/color options.

· Adding too much mulch can stress and suffocate plants.

· Mulching too early or too late can cause late blooms or higher weed growth.

· Weed seeds may be hiding in some types of organic mulch or will germinate once landing on mulch.

· Mulch must be replaced at least once a year and requires monthly upkeep to stay looking pristine.

The Benefits of Decorative Stone

Using decorative stone, or river rock, is an incredibly cost-effective way to create beautiful landscaping features. There’s no need to worry about monthly maintenance that is expensive and a hassle to coordinate. Instead, river rock provides an environmentally friendly option for landscaping. Other benefits of decorative stone include:

· You do not have to replace river rock nearly as often as mulch. In fact, these decorative stones can last for years thanks to their incredible durability and immunity to the elements.

· River rock has a better appearance. The endless variety of sizes, shapes, and colors allow for unique decorative features that match your style and preferences. From walkways to gardens, river rock can elevate the appearance of any outdoor area.

· Using decorative stone requires significantly less maintenance and there is not as much labor involved. Monthly upkeep is not required.

· River rock can help prevent soil erosion because it is largely wind resistant.

The Drawbacks of Decorative Stone

Depending on your soil and climate, there may be some drawbacks to using river rock. In very high temperatures, rocks can increase the soil temperature. Also, rocks do not break down to nourish the soil. Other considerations include:

· Weeds may return in certain spots if rocks are blown out of place. To combat this, Discount River Rock provides maintenance twice a year. A single employee is all it takes to spray weed killer and keep your decorative stone perfect year-round.

· Up-front costs may be higher.


Ultimately, river rock provides the best long-term value. Using decorative stone improves the overall look and feel of your landscaping project thanks to the many options for color and size. Also, it is more cost-effective than mulch as a result of its limited maintenance requirements. While cost may be a concern, bulk hauling directly from the quarry can offset some of the difference.

Discount River Rock understands the unique needs of property owners and managers when it comes to landscaping. They can save you considerable time and money for your landscaping projects by providing high-quality river rock. Their impressive array of river rock offers something for everyone.

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