Organic Mulch or Landscaping Rock – Which Should You Use?

Should you opt for organic mulch or landscaping rock for your planting beds and landscape elements?


After you plant new flowers, trees and shrubs – or to freshen up existing planting areas – you’ll want to add just the right finishing touch. But which of these landscape materials will best help you accomplish your goals?


Here at The Dirt Bag, we get these questions often from our valued customers. Although both materials have merits, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. To make a decision between organic mulch and landscaping rock, you’ll need to weigh their differences.


Pros & Cons of Organic Mulch


Organic shredded or bark mulch serves several purposes. The advantages of using this landscape material include:


  • Improves moisture retention in the soil
  • Reduces the need for watering
  • Helps stop weed growth
  • Keeps soil at the right temperature
  • Enriches the soil with nutrients as it decomposes
  • Cheaper and easier to install than rock


Mulch isn’t always best, however. The main arguments against mulching are:


  • Organic material breaks down over time
  • May attract more insects
  • Color may change over time


Pros & Cons of Landscaping Rock


Landscaping rock, also called gravel or cobble, is becoming an increasingly popular choice. The benefits of using this landscape material on your property include:


  • Promotes healthy drainage
  • Discourages weed development
  • Doesn’t decompose or change in color
  • Fire-proof and wind-resistant
  • Simple to remove debris and fallen leaves
  • Lasts for a long time and almost never needs replacement


Gravel isn’t always the better option, however. The primary reasons you might not want to use rock are:


  • More expensive than mulch
  • Raises the soil temperature
  • May require edging to keep gravel out of the grass


Deciding Between Organic Mulch & Landscaping Rock


Ultimately, your choice of landscape material comes down to the needs of your plants and your personal preference.


Since organic mulch absorbs moisture, it’s typically best for those plants that need plenty of water to thrive. Landscaping gravel provides drainage, but it doesn’t retain moisture well. For those reasons, it’s better suited for succulents, cacti and drought-tolerant plants.


Keep in mind, also, that mulch color can fade or weather over time. Gravel retains its appearance indefinitely.


If you have questions regarding the right landscape materials for your northern Utah property, trust The Dirt Bag for expert answers.


A local industry leader, The Dirt Bag offers a range of high-quality bagged and bulk products, including topsoil, compost, soil conditioner and more. To schedule delivery anywhere in or near Salt Lake County, or to learn more about our organic mulch, landscaping rock and other landscape materials, contact our West Jordan, Utah, office today.