Pros and Cons of Rock Flower Beds

Can’t decide whether to use rocks or mulch for your flower bed design? Know the pros and cons of rock flower beds so you can decide what works best for your landscaping ideas.

rock flower beds Ingrid Balabanova/Shutterstock

To fill in flower beds, homeowners often choose between mulch and rock-based groundcovers like gravel, pebbles, volcanic rock and stones. Can’t decide whether to use rocks or mulch for your flower bed design? Know the pros and cons of rock flower beds so you can decide what works best for your landscaping ideas.

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Why fill flower beds with rocks instead of mulch?

Using rocks instead of mulch has distinct advantages, including durability, design options and more.

Rock Flower Beds Are Durable

Although rocks may initially be more expensive than mulch, they’re a one-time purchase because of their durability. One of the biggest benefits of choosing rock flower beds is that the rocks do not decay or decompose. Certain mulches start to decompose as soon as they’re exposed to elements like rain and snow. So, while mulch must be replaced every season, rocks last many times longer and may even last the lifetime of your garden.

Rock Flower Beds Provide Many Design Options

Another advantage to rock is it provides a striking contrast to brightly-colored foliage, improving the appearance of your garden. Landscaping with rocks means you can add texture through a wide variety of shapes, sizes, types and colors. Stones can also double as a garden bed edge, keeping soil in place and minimizing erosion. Keep in mind that over time, depending on how heavy they are, rocks can start to sink down into your soil.

Rock Flower Beds Are Low-Maintenance

Once rock is in place, it requires little to no maintenance. Rocks maintain their appearance and aren’t easily disturbed by wind, pets or foot traffic. Using rocks can also keep weeds at bay but doesn’t prevent them completely. Because rocks don’t add nutrients to the soil like mulch does, you may need to fertilize your plants periodically. Rocks can also become a catch-all for leaves and other yard debris. During spring cleaning, the easiest way to remove leaves and debris is to use a leaf vacuum but if the rocks are small enough you may have to remove them by hand.

Rock Flower Beds Reduce Soil Erosion

Stones stabilize the soil and reduce erosion. Erosion, the gradual loss of soil to natural elements like rain and wind, can wreak havoc on gardens. But rocks give soil something to catch onto, which holds it in place in the event of heavy rain or other water runoff.

Next, check out some amazing flower bed lights you can add to your landscape.

Shawnna Stiver
Shawnna is a veteran lifestyle, marketing and news content writer, currently contributing to ecommerce companies in the parenting and babies space. She has had the pleasure of writing traditional, digital and social content for the following industries: beauty, consumer goods, entrepreneurship, financial services, health/wellness, home improvement/DIY, lifestyle, non-profit, parenting and self improvement. For a dose of positivity and to see innovative ways companies are doing good in the world, check out her website: www.kindco.org