WOOD MULCH OR STONE?
While the initial installation of decorative stone is considerably more tedious and expensive, it can pay dividends in the long run. Bob shares his photos here of the more commonly used decorative landscape stone like river rock, shore gravel and lava rock.
Most stone and gravel is graded with numbers related to its size. For example, #2 is likely two-inches in diameter and #3 is three-inches in diameter. Some of the photos below have a 12-ounce can of soda or a Quarter to help show stone sizes.
While Bob doesn’t recommend using landscape fabric (or black plastic) under wood mulches, he does recommend using landscape fabric under stone mulches. It is also advisable to use tarps when trimming shrubs that are growing in decorative rock landscape beds to ease clean-up and keep decorative gravel clean. VIDEO: How to use tarps when trimming a shrub
Shore stone is a lighter color and costs more than more commonly used river rock, which is usually brown in color.
River rock is typically used in landscape beds where a brown color and more permanent cover than wood mulch is desired. Using mixed sizes helps fill-in the gaps between larger stones.
Decorative stone is more expensive than wood mulches, but provides a more permanent cover in landscape beds. Some decorative stone shown below may be difficult to find.
White decorative stone usually makes a bright, bold statement in the landscape, sharply contrasting landscape plantings.
Boulders add a nice accent to landscape plantings, but only use the types of stone resistant to the freeze-thaw cycles of winter weather. Special care should be taken when moving and placing boulders to save on smashed fingers and bad backs.