Stones vs Mulch: How to Tell Which Is Right for Your Yard

We all know the benefits of mulching: better moisture for the soil, protection from weed growth, and temperature regulation. However, mulch eventually breaks down with time and needs to be replenished. Thankfully, there’s a longer-lasting alternative that many homeowners are using: landscaping stones. Discover how they perform compared to mulch and which type is correct for you!

Landscaping Stones Instead of Mulch

There are pros and cons to both and, depending on your situation, one may be better than the other.


Pros Of Mulch
  • Suppresses weed growth without having to use landscaping fabric underneath
  • Good at retaining moisture so you don’t have to water as often
  • Helps protect roots of plants from extreme temperatures
  • Supplies plants with extra nutrients as it breaks down
Cons Of Mulch
  • Needs to be replaced every few years unlike landscaping stones
  • Not as good at preventing soil erosion
  • Over-mulching can damage plants
Pros Of Landscaping Stones
  • Great for high traffic areas
  • When laid down with landscaping fabric, landscaping stones are much better than mulch at preventing weeds
  • Unlike mulch, which needs to be replaced every few years, stones require little maintenance
  • Unless you change your mind about the color, landscaping stones will never need to be replaced
  • Really good for areas around well-established trees and shrubs
Cons Of Landscaping Stones
  • Not a good solution for garden beds with mostly annuals
  • Rocks may need to be washed every so often
  • Plants among stones may need to be fertilized more since they won’t get any nutrients as they would from mulch
  • Doesn’t nourish the soil like mulch does as it breaks down
  • More expensive at the start than mulch

landscaping stone

How To Lay Landscaping Stones

Whichever type of landscaping stone you choose, it’s always a good idea to put down a layer of landscaping fabric first.

Types Of Landscaping Stones

There are several types of landscaping stones to choose from depending on the size and material you prefer.

River Rocks – Tend to be larger; available in a variety of colors

Gravel – Smaller granules; fairly inexpensive

Crushed Stones – Lay flatter like woodchips; good for a modern-looking exterior

Pebbles – Like river rocks but smaller; often has a bit of polish and therefore a more upscale, sophisticated look

Lava Rocks – About the same size as pebbles. Porous qualities allow for better drainage.

Landscaping Stones Calculator

Calculating the amount of landscaping stones you’ll need is easy. Simply multiply the length times the width of the area you want to cover and then multiply that number by the depth of rocks you’d like. For example: a 10 ft. x 10 ft garden bed with a depth of two inches of stones would be 200 cubic feet. There are 27 cubic feet in a yard so 200 divided by 27 is 7.4 cubic feet. Round up to make sure you’ll have enough landscaping stones. Therefore, you’ll want to purchase 8 cubic yards of landscaping stones.

Get Professional Landscaping Stone Installation From Quality Cut Lawn Services

Discover the benefits of stone spreading instead of mulch! The team of experts at Quality Cut Lawn Services will help you decide which type of crushed stone is ideal and professionally install it for you. Give us a call at 302-420-7597 or contact us online today for a quote. For more landscaping ideas and tips, check out our blog!