When choosing a protective fall ground covering, many homeowners face the dilemma of choosing rock or mulch for their landscape beds. While each provides their own unique benefits, choosing the best option for your yard depends on your own personal lifestyle and the type of landscape plants you have.

Here we’ll go over the differences between rock and mulch and which one is best for your fall ground cover in Gresham, Happy Valley, Troutdale, and the surrounding areas.

When Is Rock a Good Choice?

Rock ground cover is comprised of decorative gravel or rocks ranging from pea-sized pebbles to golf ball-sized stones. Rocks come in a myriad of sizes, colors, textures, and shapes. You can choose a porous, lightweight red or black lava rock, or smooth quartz in purple or pink. Rock is great for properties with drainage issues as it allows water to drain quickly through your landscape. Because of its high drainage quality, rocks are best for drought-tolerant plants such as succulents. Rock cover is an easy, no maintenance option if you have open bed areas without plants.

The Benefits of Mulch

Mulch is made of several types of wood bark and can be dyed various colors to achieve whatever look you desire, although the most common colors are black, brown, and red. Mulch retains moisture so you don’t need to water your landscapes as much and is the perfect natural weed repellent as it blocks the sunlight they need to sprout in your garden. When it rains, mulch protects your landscape beds and soil from erosion as it keeps the rainwater from washing away your soil. Over time, mulch decomposes and breaks down, becoming one with your soil. Mulch provides added nutrients to your soil and plants as it breaks down over time, providing a continual stream of support to your landscape beds. Mulch is ideal for flowers and other plants that need more moisture and can’t tolerate the dryer conditions provided by rocks.

Rock and mulch both provide a protective layer for your landscape beds during the fall and winter months.

Choosing the Best Option for Your Lawn

This yard in Troutdale, OR chose mulch for fall ground cover.

When choosing which type of ground cover to use for your landscapes during the fall, there really is no clear cut winner. Rock is great for people who want a protective barrier but don’t want to have to worry about it or maintain the layer. If you have areas of high traffic on your property, then rock is much better as it can tolerate and handle the stress of constant foot traffic better than mulch. On the other hand, rock is significantly more expensive than mulch. The price of rock varies depending on size, but generally costs two to three times more than bark mulch. Rocks also do not prevent weeds from growing. In fact, in order to prevent weed growth, an extra layer of fabric weed barrier must be applied. Mulch, on the other hand, does not last as long as rock and needs to be maintained and replaced yearly to maintain a rich, clean appearance.

If you’re looking for a low maintenance option and have plants that can tolerate the drier environment, then rocks are the way to go. If you want a cover that retains moisture and feeds your landscape as it breaks down, then mulch is the perfect option.

Call us today for all your fall ground cover needs.

At J&C Lawn Care, we provide both rock and mulch ground cover for your fall landscapes. We serve properties in Gresham, Happy Valley, Troutdale, and the surrounding areas with superb landscape services such as rock and mulch installation. Call us today at (971) 284-2035 to prepare your landscape beds for the fall and winter months ahead.