Decorative rock mulches can make a big impact on any outdoor space. Rock features range from detailed, small-scale aggregate bands to large swaths of rock mulch. Available in a wide array of colors and textures, there are rock mulches to fit virtually any project. Many mulches carry a range of colors, like Rainbow Pebbles, Whiskey River, and other specialty blends. Recycled glasses and specialty minerals also appear in decorative touches to a landscape design. There are suppliers that focus mainly on providing and developing decorative rock mulches and other related hardscape products, indicating a strong market and wide availability of these products.
While rock mulches typically cost more than bark mulch at the time of installation, they also weather much differently than traditional compost or bark mulches and require little or no re-application once installed and properly maintained. They can be used for small-scale rock only areas, or as a full replacement for bark or compost mulch top dressings in bed areas. Since utilizing rock as a full top dressing is a more permanent solution, laying down a non-woven weed barrier is a good idea, depending on the intended application of the area in question. Plants generally will need a little more fertilizing in these areas as rock mulches don’t weather and feed plants as compost or bark mulches do.
Rock mulched beds usually include the installation of a delineation border, such as steel edging. This serves multiple purposes. A rigid border helps keep rock mulches from migrating out, gives a clean visual edge, and helps retain the rock below grade. Natural stone rock mulches, like larger cobble river rock, often do not require retention at the edge due to their larger size and oblong shape.
While bark mulch and sod lawns tend to dominate our Puget Sound region, in other parts of the country rock mulch is more common for top dressing large areas of landscaping. Possibilities no dot end with the rock itself. Patterns, displays, and a variety of design applications can can show off decorative rock in creative ways. The rock material can be encased in concrete or glass, applied to walls, and used in almost any way your imagination can conceive.