Landscape Rock vs. Mulch

One question that often comes up is which is better, mulch or landscape rock? The answer to that question may be a matter of preference but before I give you mine, let me share the pros and cons.
Landscape rock has been used for decades. It’s durable, virtually no maintenance and only needs to be installed once. Landscape rock is applied on top of a barrier like plastic or a woven poly material which can prevent a significant amount of weed growth and this also slows moisture loss from soil below. It’s ideal in areas where there may be long growing plant material like trees and shrubs or areas that may receive a lot of water that could wash mulch away. Rock doesn’t have the organic benefits of mulch in the way it breaks down and adds nutrients to the soil and rock is, however, at least two to three time more expensive than mulch.
Mulch is more often the preferred material now because of the benefits to the soil and plants that it covers. Wood mulch decomposes adding valuable nutrients and retaining moisture. It’s the best choice for landscape beds and garden areas with annuals, perennials or any other plants that need regular watering because of its porosity and water retention ability. It’s also great for insulating the soil and keeping temperature even. This is especially important in northern climates to prevent root damage in winter. Wood mulch does need to be top dressed about every other year and it will require more diligence in weeding. There are granular weed inhibitors that work really well at helping cut down on some of the maintenance and the extra cost of mulch over time is generally worth the benefits your plants and trees will reap. I usually recommend mulch whenever possible because of its eco-friendly
benefits and attractive look.