Decorative Stones vs. Mulch: Making the Right Choice for Your Garden

Posted on June 12 2024

When it comes to garden landscaping, choosing the right ground cover can dramatically affect both the appearance and health of your garden. Two popular options are decorative stones and mulch. Each has its unique benefits and best uses. This guide will help you decide whether decorative stones or mulch are better suited to your garden’s needs, with a focus on their application in flower beds and the various types of decorative stones available.

Mulch within your flowerbeds Decorative stone within your flowerbeds


Decorative Stones vs. Mulch: Benefits and Drawbacks:
Decorative stones, including pebbles, gravel, and larger stones, offer a permanent solution for garden areas. They do not break down over time, which means they don't need to be replenished regularly, unlike organic mulch. Stones can also help with drainage, keeping soil moisture levels balanced, which is particularly beneficial in areas prone to water logging or during heavy rain. Additionally, they can prevent weed growth when laid over a weed barrier.

In contrast, mulch, which is typically made from organic materials like wood chips, bark, or leaves, enriches the soil as it decomposes. This process improves soil fertility and encourages healthier plant growth. Mulch also helps retain soil moisture during hot weather and provides insulation for roots during colder months. However, it needs to be replaced annually, which can add to garden maintenance costs and effort.

Opting for Decorative Stone for Your Flower Beds:
Using decorative stones in flower beds not only adds aesthetic value but also stabilises soil temperature and protects plants against erratic weather changes. When selecting stones, consider how their size and colour will complement your plants and overall garden design. Gravel and small chippings are ideal for surrounding delicate plants or for smaller flower beds, whereas larger slate pieces, cobbles, and pebbles can make a striking impact in larger or rustic-style garden areas.

Types of Decorative Stone:

  • Gravel: Versatile and commonly used, gravel works well in paths, patios, and as a base layer under other types of decorative stones.
  • Chippings: Smaller than gravel, chippings come in various colours and are perfect for creating textured surfaces in flower beds and around garden features.
  • Slate: Flat and durable, slate provides a sleek, modern look that is ideal for contemporary garden designs.
  • Cobbles: Larger and rounder, cobbles add depth and texture to garden landscapes, suitable for edging or as a decorative feature in larger beds.
  • Pebbles: Smooth and often colourful, pebbles can be used to create decorative patterns or fill spaces between larger stones for a polished look.

We're always thrilled to see the creative ways our customers use the decorative stones they purchase from us. One particularly creative customer used Alpine Blue and Blue Slate to craft a stunning flowerbed at the front of their property. The result is absolutely fabulous, showcasing both their creativity and the versatile beauty of these stones.

The choice between decorative stones and mulch for your garden depends largely on your maintenance preferences and desired aesthetic. While stones offer a low-maintenance, lasting solution that can enhance the structural features of your garden, mulch provides significant horticultural benefits that can support plant growth and soil health. Evaluate what you aim to achieve in your garden—whether it’s ease of care, soil improvement, or visual appeal—to make the most informed decision.