After designing your dream landscape and picking the plants, it’s time for the finishing touch: mulching. When deciding between organic bark mulch and river rock, it’s important to know the pros and cons for both options.
Bark mulch, while significantly cheaper, can certainly add up, as maintenance for mulch is typically needed every year. On the flipside, mulch is biodegradable and actually enriches your soil and fertilizes your plants. Mulch also reduces water evaporation that leads to fewer watering sessions. If you have the time to do the physical labor every year, then mulch may be your best option.
River rock is a one-time investment and almost never needs replacing. River rock is also less likely to wash out and shift on windy or rainy days. The downside to river rock is that it can absorb heat from the sun, making your beds 20-30 degrees hotter and plants thirstier. Due to this temperature increase, river rock requires more watering than mulch due to planting beds drying out more quickly.
Both river rock and mulch have their pros and cons, but you can’t go wrong with your choice. Most of the time it comes down to personal preference.