Should I use River Gravel or Mulch in my landscape beds?
Pros and Cons of Mulch:
A fresh application of mulch looks great and can really dress up your landscaping. It comes in a variety of different colors. It’s really good for the soil and retaining moisture around your plants during dry, hot summers. It also protects your plants during the harsh cold conditions of the winter season by helping to insulate the soil by acting as a heat blanket overtop of the roots of the plants, protecting them from the frigid temperatures.
Mulch is certainly your less-expensive option per install; however, because it’s organic material is meant to break-down overtime and it will begin to fade in appearance. Therefore, a yearly re-application is typically required to refresh it each season. Mulch beds also require consistent weed maintenance. Although it does help prevent weeds and makes them easier to pull out by the root you will need to keep up on some maintenance. This is perhaps the biggest draw-back of opting for mulch as your flower bed material over river gravel.
Pros & Cons of River Gravel:
Depending on what type of river gravel you choose, the initial install cost may be 2-3xs the cost of a mulch install. However, this can be a worthwhile investment when you consider that it won’t need to be re-applied for several years, often just needing a touch up treatment. River gravel beds are much less maintenance because weeds are less likely to germinate in the rock y and soil deprived conditions. The particular type used for this client’s project is PA River Gravel purchased through Nye’s Mulch. They have quite a few different options to choose from that come in different sizes and color blends.