We recently received a call from a property owners association that had installed decorative stone in the landscaping around their office. Their situation is one we have heard before from homeowners and commercial property maintenance professionals.
Unfortunately, an inebriated individual used the stones to break out the glass. We have had other reports of kids throwing stones into homes and cars, and even weed whips and mowers pulling stones out of landscape beds.
Given the choice between high maintenance wood mulch, decorative stone, and rubber mulch many of our clients have chosen rubber mulch.
No product is perfect for every situation. I think it is wise to explore some similarities and differences between rubber mulch and decorative landscape stone.
Installation of Stone vs Rubber Mulch
Landscaping with rubber mulch requires very little prep work.
How to install rubber mulch:
1) Simply level the beds with what is left of the your wood mulch or remove excess wood mulch if it is thick and matted. Coverage is 170 sq. ft. per cubic yard (700 lbs).
2) Apply pre-emergent or plan on using weed killer a month after your rubber mulch is installed.
3) Spread your rubber mulch at least 2″ thick to prevent weed seed from reaching the soil.
4) Sit back and enjoy your mulch season after season.
How to install decorative stone:
1) Level the beds for best coverage expect 100 square feet per cubic yard (27 cubic feet approximately 2000 lbs.).
2) Apply pre-emergent
3) Install commercial grade geo-textile fabric (weed fabric will work) to prevent the stone from sinking into the soil over time.
4) Install stone 1 1/2″ thick.
5) Apply pre-emergent as needed and spray with weed killer as needed as weeds grow in the organic matter that builds up on top of the weed fabric. Year one and two this should be minimal and increase with time.
6) Porous stone such as lava rock may mold or mildew and require bleaching over time.