Applying mulch or stone to your landscape can provide a number of benefits, including improved soil nutrition and water conservation, while creating curb appeal. Different types of soil coverings provide these benefits at different levels. With so many options for mulch or stone for your Florida home, which one should you choose?
Mulch undoubtedly acts as a beautiful finishing product for high-profile areas such as entrances and walkways, but it isn’t just for looks. This organic landscaping option is also good for the soil. It helps to conserve water, prevent weeds, provide nutrients, reduce erosion and regulate plant temperature. Mulch comes in many forms, such as bark and wood chips, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. It’s lighter than stone, so it’s easier to work with. It’s also more economical than stone, at least in the short term.
Because mulch eventually decomposes, however, it needs to be replenished over time. Even if you opt for inorganic mulch that’s made out of plastic or geotextile (landscape fabrics), exposure to light and wind can degrade the material over time. How often mulch will have to be replaced depends on various factors like the climate and the type of mulch. On average, organic mulch needs to be replenished about every few years. Not only does this cost add up over the long term, it consumes time and energy. Stone, on the other hand, requires less maintenance than mulch.
Unlike mulch, stone doesn’t require replacement or much maintenance at all. Stone can also prevent weed growth in landscapes and conserve water as mulch does, but it doesn’t provide nutrients to the soil or insulate soil in the same ways as organic mulch because it doesn’t decay. The weight of stone also makes it more difficult to work with during installation and harder to rearrange than mulch. Stone is also more expensive than organic mulch.
On the other hand, stone is much more durable than mulch. Because it doesn’t decompose, stone may never need to be replaced or replenished over time, but it may require periodic washing. This makes stone low-maintenance and potentially more affordable in the long term. Stone also comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and textures. Popular types of landscaping stone include lava rock, pea gravel and river rock, among other types of rock.