• Coupons

  • Save $100
  • Save $250
  • Save $500
  • Free Landscaping Plan

Home » Hardscaping » Which Is Better: Rocks or Mulch?

Which Is Better: Rocks or Mulch?

rocks or mulch

Both organic mulch and rock beds can add an aesthetic curb appeal to any landscape or yard. They are both used to cover bare patches in soil beds and the soil around trees, to prevent soil erosion. Both types of garden beds look great, so whichever type of mulch you decide to use in your yard is often a matter of personal preference. Most purists prefer the look of natural mulch, especially in curvy beds brimming with seasonal flowers and perennials. Meanwhile, other gardeners prefer the clean, modern, bright look of rock mulch which accentuates the straight lines of a modern garden. So, which is better for your landscaping, rocks or mulch?

Which Is Better: Rocks or Mulch?

Organic mulch

Organic mulch is typically made from either tree or plant bark and is 100% natural. Bark from pine trees, cedars, oak, cypress, and hemlock are commonly used. If you feel inclined, you can even make your own organic mulch.

In addition to preventing soil erosion, which happens when soil is bone dry and blows away, mulch is a valuable source of soil nutrition and soil water retention. Furthermore, soil blocks out the light, thus making it difficult for weeds to sprout and grow.

There are also non-organic bark mulches available that have been colored to achieve a year-round dark, rich look. Given the natural properties and practical benefits of natural mulch, you can never go wrong with this choice. Mulch does of course break down over time and becomes compost, and feeds the soil. This means that you will need to replace the mulch, which will take time and labor, and money, if not making your own.

Rock mulch

The rocks sold as rock mulch typically come from river beds and are available in many different sizes. Rock mulch sizes range from pea-size to marbles to golf ball size and come in all sorts of natural shapes. Though rock mulch is porous, and water passes through it, it is used primarily for decoration.

While rock mulch is available in its natural color, it is commonly artificially colored. There is a variety of rock mulch to choose from including black lava rock and quartz. The initial outlay cost for rock mulch will be greater than the cost of organic mulch. Once it has settled, rock mulch may also need a top-up layer. In terms of maintenance, you will need to occasionally wash the rocks to keep them looking good.

Landscape considerations

Rock beds are a very good idea for yards with poor drainage as the rocks allow the water to drain quicker. Rock mulch is also great for covering large bare areas where grass doesn’t grow as it requires little maintenance. It can be turned into a feature. In addition, rocks are an excellent platform and backdrop for fountains and water features. Another excellent use of rock mulch is in high-traffic areas. This is particularly true of residential developments, where residents ignore designated paths and cut through flower beds.

Additional Reading: About Landscape Fabric (UNL Extension)

Arbor Hills Landscaping Company Omaha | Best Landscaping Company in Omaha, NE

Arbor Hills Trees & Landscaping Services can provide you with everything from detailed maintenance programs to unique plant production, and other services in between. That means we build water features, walls, patios, irrigation, walkways, outdoor kitchens, lighting, and anything else you can help us dream up. Our professionally trained staff can build the landscape of your dreams and keep you from breaking any Home Landscaping Rules.

Click on a heading bar below for more information:

Fire Pit Designs Landscaping Services

Imagine the ambiance created in your backyard landscape by a custom fire pit. In fact, nothing is more inviting on a cool spring night or for fall and winter gatherings of family and friends. A fire pit may be used to provide warmth during outdoor entertaining, but also as a heat source for outdoor cooking or simply roasting marshmallows. Our trained custom fire pit installers are experts in turning your vision into reality. More…

Outdoor Living Landscaping Services

Outdoor Kitchen
Unlimited Outdoor Kitchen offers a professional outdoor kitchen, outdoor fireplace, and outdoor living room design, building, and installation services with FREE ESTIMATES. More…

Retaining Walls Landscaping Services

Retaining Walls
Enhance the beauty of your landscape with a retaining wall that is customized to coordinate with your home’s exterior. At Arbor Hills, our retaining wall designer will create a functional retaining wall that is aesthetically pleasing for your personal taste, and within your target budget. With the many materials available today, the retaining wall project you’ve been considering is just a phone call away! More…

Stamped and Colored Concrete

Stamped Concrete
It is time to upgrade or replace some of the hardscape features surrounding your home? Stamped and colored concrete is a beautiful and affordable material. It enhances the color and texture featured on your home’s exterior. Stamped concrete in textures from modern to rustic is available to coordinate with your home’s existing design features. Colored concrete can be blended to match or enhance your home’s exterior color scheme. A designer from Arbor Hills will consider all these existing features at your site visit and when designing your project. More…

Patio Pavers Landscaping Services

Patio Pavers
Concrete pavers are a great way to improve your landscape and garden. In fact, they are super strong and lend themselves to many hardscaping projects. They rarely crack but if they do, each piece is easily replaceable. More…

Landscape Lighting Designs

Landscape Lighting
Outdoor lighting can be nearly as important to the overall look and feel of your home as the landscaping itself. So you shouldn’t short-change yourself by skimping on quality lighting products. We are a full-service landscape and waterscape company that can solve all of your residential and commercial lighting needs anywhere in Omaha and the surrounding areas. More…

Water Feature Landscaping Designs

Water Features
Imagine the sight and sound of bubbling water as you relax in your outdoor sanctuary. A water feature can give just the right ambiance to your outdoor retreat. Or, if you are looking for a water feature with traffic-slowing curb appeal, a designer from Arbor Hills will help you choose the water feature that best enhances your home. More…

Sod Installation Services

Sod Installation Omaha
Whether you have just built your home, cleared agricultural land for your personal use or simply want to improve the look of your existing yard, having sod installed is a fast way to create the lush, green carpet of grass you want. It offers instant satisfaction rather than the weeks of waiting and anticipating whether or not your grass seed is going to grow. Plus, using sod offers a host of other benefits. More…

Mulch & Rock Landscaping Services

Mulch and Rocks Landscaping Omaha
The concept, to design, to delivery and installation, we have more than 20 years of experience in the landscaping industry in Omaha and surrounding areas. Our services include delivery, full installation, and clean-up of mulch and rock around your beds, trees, and more. More…

Plants & Shrubs Landscaping

Garden Center Omaha Plants and Shrubs
Plants and shrubs are the backbone of your landscape, therefore they should be the first things you plant. Proper selection will enhance a home’s appearance and increase property value while reflecting the homeowner’s style and personality. More…

Tree Nursery

Trees for sale Omaha
Let our trained nursery professionals assist you in selecting the perfect tree or shrub to complete your landscape. We carry a selection that is unmatched in Omaha and the surrounding areas and are willing and eager to explain our favorites. Improved varieties are introduced each year and we always strive to carry the best and newest – varieties more resistant to disease, shade trees better able to withstand storm damage and ornamentals in unique colors, shapes, and sizes you have to see to believe. More…