After spending time picking out the perfect flowers and shrubs to add to your landscape bed, it is crucial that you protect them with a mulch or rock covering. Many think that adding mulch or rocks to your landscape beds is just for show. Although it can definitely add great color, and cohesiveness to your property, its main purpose is to help protect your soil and plant roots. No matter the type of covering, mulch or rock installation will regulate your soil temperature, retain moisture, prevent weeds, and more.

There are so many options to choose from when picking out your landscape bed covering. From colors to maintenance levels to the amount you'll need, there is a lot to consider. Keep reading to learn more about the most popular mulch and rock choices for landscape bed coverings.

#1 Shredded Bark Mulch

A bed of brown shredded bark mulch by a home in Noblesville, IN.

Shredded bark mulch is an extremely common choice among our customers. It comes in black, dark brown, and red color choices. When installed, your mulch layer should be about 2-3 inches thick. This will make sure that your soil is properly insulated.

When shredded bark starts to decompose over time, it will release extra nutrients into your soil and give your plants a little boost. However, its decomposition also means that you will eventually have to replenish it. We recommend replenishing your wood mulch coverings once every spring to ensure that you are setting your lawn up for the summer weather and getting the most soil protection.

#2 Pine or Cedar Bark Chips

A landscape bed topped with brown bark chip mulch on a property in Carmel, IN.

Pine and cedar bark chips are also popular choices for mulch coverings in the Noblesville, IN area. Property owners love choosing pine or cedar bark chips because they break down at a slower rate than other types of mulch. However, it still decomposes, so you still get the added benefit of extra nutrients in your soil.

Similar to shredded bark mulch, pine and cedar bark chips can be ordered in black, dark brown, and red. These coverings should also be about 2-3 inches thick to get the best benefits. Even though pine and cedar bark chips decompose at a slower rate than other types of mulch, we still recommend replenishing it every spring to ensure that you are receiving the best soil protection as the hot summer weather rolls around.

#3 River Rock

A pink flower landscape bed topped with white and grey river rock mulch on a property in Westfield, IN.

If you decide that you like the look of a rock covering over a mulch covering, river rock is a great choice. This type of rock has many colors to choose from and even multi-colored options. When you install it, it's best to determine how much you add based on the rock sizes. A half-inch rock size requires a 2-inch thick covering. If your stones are 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch, make the covering about 3 inches thick. If your stones are 1 inch or larger, your rock covering should be about 4 inches deep.

As far as maintenance levels go, river rock will not require much from you. The only thing you have to do after installation is replenish the covering every other spring season. Since rocks don't break down as mulch does, you won't have to worry about fast decomposition. However, you will want to get it back to tip-top shape bi-annually to make sure your soil is getting the best protection.

#4 Lava Rock

A landscape bed topped with lava rock mulch alongside a paved sidewalk on a property in Fishers, IN.

Lava rocks are a lot like river rocks. They give the same low-maintenance benefits and require the same thickness when installing. However, they do differ slightly. Lava rocks are lightweight and can be found in red and black colors. Though the colors are more limited than most ground covering options, they are bright and eye-catching.

Another benefit of using lava rock on your landscape beds is that it is excellent at absorbing heat. In the hot summers of Noblesville, Indiana, the heat absorption helps regulate your soil temperature which, in turn, helps your plants.

Looking to protect your plants with a mulch or rock covering? Call us today.

At Sprout Lawn & Landscape, we offer many different choices for your landscape bed coverings. We can help you choose the best mulch or rock type for you and your landscape. If your property is located in or around the Noblesville, Carmel, or Westfield, IN area, give our team a call today at (317) 900-7151!