Gravel Versus Mulch

If you are looking to use mulch or wood chips, then you will have a lot of choices.

The mulch that you pick for your garden can have a big impact on how your landscape looks and how much it will cost to keep it maintained.

Mulch is often used within garden beds and flower beds to protect ornamental plants.

Gravel, which can be called rock or stone mulch, is made up of crushed stones and it is great for driveways, walkways, and even around buildings.


This is the most inexpensive and common type of material that is out there. It is often made from shredded wood or tree bark.

This mulch can be a product of different types of trees, though most are made from hemlock, oak, pine, cypress, and cedar. Mulch comes in different types and benefits based on the type of tree that it comes from.

Benefits of Mulch

Mulch has a lot of advantages. It is very economical, and if you have a shovel, then you can put it in your own garden.

When you use mulch, you are providing your garden with organic materials and nutrients whenever it decomposes. How the mulch is shredded and what tree it comes from results in different colors and shades, which is great for edging flower beds.

Mulch allows soil to retain water better, which allows you to save water. It also helps to insulate your plants, especially if it is a very cold winter.

Drawbacks of Mulch

There are some characteristics of mulch that may make it unsuitable for you. Because it decays, you will have to replace it often.

The colors and hues will fade over time and may make your garden look dull.

Mulch can also be blown away by strong winds or washed away by heavy rains.

Benefits of Gravel

Gravel comes in various types of rock and stone like pea gravel, river rock, quartz rock, granite, and lava rock. It also comes in different colors, textures and sizes.

Gravel will not decompose or decay, and it will not need to be replaced. The variety of gravel that you can get can give you a great look in your garden.

Gravel will not retain moisture, so it will lower the chances of fungi growth. Gravel does not need a lot of maintenance, which makes up for the cost.

Drawbacks of Gravel

Gravel is more expensive than mulch and it is heavier, which makes it harder to install.

Gravel’s appearance will suffer when leaves cover it up, and it does not have any soil building properties because stone will not decompose.

You may also need to install a weed barrier to keep weeds from growing through the gravel.

When you are thinking about purchasing a garden cover, whether mulch or gravel, it will depend on your landscaping, what plants you have, and what will do best under your local weather conditions.