Landscaping involves a lot of creative decisions. What types of flowers will you use? Will you plant trees or not? Perhaps one of the more difficult choices is the one between traditional mulches and nontraditional ones. While mulch and pine straw are frequently used as fillers for flower beds and gardens, many gardeners are choosing to use unusual items, such as rocks, to fill these spaces instead.
Which choice is best for you? We’re going to look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide.
Mulch is a very common choice. It performs its job well– it protects plants from the heat of the sun, prevents them from being damaged by heavy rains, and is probably the most cost-effective of our three options. It is also available in a variety of colors, so you’re sure to find one that matches your garden.
Mulch also has its cons, though. If it is spread too thickly, it can become home to insects, some of which can harm your plants. It also holds onto water, so that the ground around your plants stays wet long after the rain has stopped. To prevent these problems, make sure that your mulch is properly laid so that it does not create too thick of a layer.
For those who aren’t big fans of mulch, pine straw is a very popular option as well. If you’re lucky enough to have some pine trees on your property, you can get your pine straw for nothing, besides the time it takes to rake it of course. Unlike mulch, it does not hold water, as the thin needles allow it to pass through quite easily. Its bright orange color that fades to a deep brown later in the season is also quite an attractive landscaping choice.
However, pine straw, like mulch, can attract insects– some fans of pine straw complain that when they place it around their home, they notice an increase in the number of cockroaches that find their way inside. As far as your garden goes, some gardeners object to pine straw because it is acidic, and it can alter the ph level of your soil. This is not a problem for those with plants that prefer acidic soil, but if your favorite plants thrive in alkalinity, pine straw may not be the best choice for you.
Choosing rock instead of a more standard mulch is an unusual but attractive option. The rocks will pull heat from the soil in the long days of summer, helping to regulate the temperature of the dirt around your plants. They, like other mulches, are also a good way to prevent weeds from growing in your garden.
However, the rocks can make it difficult for some plants to grow, as it can be harder than usual to water plants if they are surrounded by rocks. The rocks also do not decompose like ordinary mulch and can become caught in lawnmower blades, ultimately causing damage. It is important to confine the rocks to a definite area so that they do not end up scattered throughout your yard.
Whichever landscaping option you choose, pick the one that’s best for your backyard. Do your research on what would benefit your plants the most and set out to create a beautiful backyard in no time.