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leamonzgirl

Landscape rocks…vote please

last month
last modified: last month

Which Landscape rocks do you like better near my house around the boxwoods? The side of my home is in the picture. A cream color and I have three round boxwoods. There is ZERO chance for mulch so please do not comment mulch. Ive had it for years and I'm done with the mulch for now. Thanks :) Please see below for another pic. We live in Central PA and the rocks will be up againstthe green lawn.


golden yellow color
reddish crushed brick

Comments (45)

  • last month

    Not enough detail! What do you have in the rest of the landscape? What zone? Is the area up against green lawn? What edging?


    Personally, I would opt for mulch...

  • last month

    Natural colored mulch.


  • last month

    We currently have black mulch and we are done with the mulch. It will go against a green lawn. Not sure in the edging yet. No flowers in this area just boxwoods. I think zone 6a. Central Pennsylvania. Right landscape rocks is only thing that will be put down. Just looking for what looks the nicest out of these two.

  • last month

    I vote for no rocks. Unless you live in a very arid climate, they are seldom site appropriate, they tend to heat up excessively and retain that heat, often causing stress to the plants, they add nothing of value to the soil and are far more difficult to keep debris and weed free. An organic mulch is a much better idea.

  • last month

    Central Pennsylvania?

    No Rocks. None. Really, really bad idea.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Thank you for you input @gardengal. Mulch is not an option though. I’ve had it long enough and I’m done with the mulch. Some of our neighbors in the development have had rocks for years and their plants look just fine. There is zero chance that I’m choosing mulch this year lol

  • last month

    Maybe some more insights on why mulch has been a problem for you. I don’t think mulch is perfect, but nothing is, so some info on how you’ve been using it, what has been annoying difference are you hoping to bring about, might help.

  • last month

    Of course you will do whatever you want but I will reiterate that rocks are a very poor idea. If you persist with the rock idea, then neither of the two options you presented would look very good. A standard gray tone would look much better than those colored examples.

  • last month

    Mulching with rocks is still mulching. You are just using rocks instead of other mulching materials.

    What are the issues you are having with your current mulch that you want to replace it with rock mulch? If it's something like weeds, be aware that they come up in rock mulch like they can with other mulches. If it's the replenishment factor, rock mulch can be replenished less. Rocks don't break down, but they can sink into the soil. If it's fading issues, rocks do tend to not fade. Or other issues with your current mulch?

    I'm not a big fan of the rock mulch look, but it can have it's place sometimes. If I were to choose between the two rocks in the OP, I'd probably go with the brown rocks. I just like the smoother and lighter look than the darker chunkier one.

    Tara L thanked beesneeds
  • last month

    Thank you @beesneeds. And yes all of those reasons is why i'm tired of mulch. If I choose to go back to wood or rubber mulch, I'll have it removed-the cost is minimal. It's an easy fix in my opinion. But for now, landscape rocks it'll be. Thanks for your feedback:)

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    If it's all the reasons. Then yeah, be aware you will still be weeding, maybe around as much as you do now. Rock mulch catches plenty of weed seeds. But if you make sure you put in edging to retain it, your replenishment needs and fade factor will be less than with dyed wood mulches.

    A different factor with a rock mulch than wood mulches is keeping your mulch clean. Since it does not break down and does catch debris, it will show debris pileups, dirt disturbances, and potentally splash/moss growths depending on your precipitation and house drip factor. How much cleaning your rock mulch will need to look good in the long term? I dunno, depends on your yard.

  • last month

    I can't say from your picture which might look best with your house, but I have both in my yard and the dark does show the debris (leaves, twigs etc.) more than the lighter. While the dark might look better, you may be using the leaf blower more.

  • last month

    Thanks for your input. I did talk with some neighbors about their rocks as well and they seem pleased. Our lawn person has returned and has started back up a couple weeks ago so he will maintain it and I’ll do whatever in between. This picture was from a while ago I just happened to have it in my camera roll.

  • last month

    Not the red.

  • last month

    Very Good point kcooz. Yes I plan to use the leaf blower more which is way easier with rocks.

  • last month

    You might want to consider crushed gravel like the violet stone at the Getty Museum cactus garden. Years ago, I tracked down the importer of that italian Getty stone and he still had 4 tons of different sized gravel. I bought it all and used it all my planting beds and even mixed the smaller gravel in my exposed aggregate concrete slabs.

    There are some great crushed gavel colors out there... I would consider it.



  • PRO
    last month

    Neither is quiet right. Although, in a weird way, I like the red. Can you find something like this?


    I think the gold doesn't go that well with your siding color.

    Good luck!



  • last month

    The Getty Museum cactus garden is the proper setting for a rock or gravel mulch. Surrounding boxwoods in central PA is not. It is unrealistic to make comparisons of the two situations - very different settings, very different climates.

  • last month

    @ Debbie I did see that in store. I thought it would look horrible but it actually doesn't look too bad I just didnt want something too dull. So that's what I was worried about. I like red too and i thought it would be a nice pop of color...

  • PRO
    last month

    You can always mix them as well! I have red mulch, so that is probably why I like the pop of color.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Tara L: I have this 3/4 inch Golden Nugget stone around most of my house. Our siding is a yellowish tan and some similar colored brick in front. I also have boxwoods, as well as hollies, azaleas, rhododendrons, junipers, a Japanese maple, a weeping cherry tree, a Bradford pear tree, and a cypress tree. I live in Zone 6a/b in western New England so probably similar weather to you. I have had NO issues with using landscaping stone with any of these plantings, some of which have been here since 1995!

    On really really hot days I will go out and hose down the stone and plants. Our inground sprinkler system doesn't reach all the way into the landscaping in the front and that is west facing, so it does get hot. But again, I've had no issues for over 30 years.

    I do, for some reason, have mulch along the back deck and the left side of the garage. Can't remember why it isn't stone, but I mumble every year that I'm going to change it. The mulch throws artillery spores up on to the siding and I hate it.

    So, stone away to your heart's content!!!! I like your paler color choice rather than the red.

    Lastly, regarding weeding (and some folks here will have a hissy about this!), our landscaper sprays Roundup over the rocks and around the plantings a couple of times from spring to fall. And no, it has not killed one single plant, and yes, there are absolutely no weeds in my landscaping beds. Pulling weeds out of rocks is no fun and I now don't have to worry about it.


  • last month

    Thank you!!! ☺️☺️☺️☺️☺️

  • last month

    I just updated the last bit. And you're welcome.

  • last month

    Love the 3/4 inch nugget!

  • last month

    I would go with gravel more natural looking like those shown by Debi and Kate. And ignore the naysayers .

  • last month

    @gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9) Odd comment... anyone can put any rock or gravel of any color they like... in any state, in any climate. You need to loosen up with the rules.

  • last month

    Thank you everyone! I was thinking the pea gravel might blow away with using the leaf blower from time to time …

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    For future, maybe you will find it helpful: bark nuggets mulch. It lasts forever. And weeds don't grow through it even remotely as much as they do through regular mulch. Nuggets also don't disintegrate for years. And they look brown and natural. I used it in two climates - northern and southern/hot/humid (weeds looove it). And it's been the best.

    And combination of cardboard + nuggets = pretty much a season without weeds (cardboard first, then nuggets).

  • last month

    I really like the look of Debbi and Kate's suggestions. I particularly like Debbi's because the blue pieces look a lot more like native rock and schist you find in PA. (Was born in raised in PA.) The red and gold look like something from a Colorado office park.


    Not only are the colors of their examples better, but they sizes are not uniform and the variation is nice. They look more like smooth smooth stones rather than the red chunky rock fragments, which also remind me of something you'd put in a fish bowl.

  • last month

    I do like Kate’s but from what I saw today I think I would have to do a mixture of two different types.

  • PRO
    last month

    I need to see the whole area and the house .

  • last month

    What kinds of places are you looking Tara? Around here there are some options. Big box stores, sell bags and often a couple bins of stuff out back. Smaller nurseries, they tend to sell mostly bagged, some have bins. Landscaping/earthscaping places, they tend to have a lot of bins, but don't sell it bagged. By bins I mean the large wall ones you can drive a small bucket into.

    I don't know what kinds of places are around you. But if you can and haven't, look around online to see if you have more local options to look at than what you currently are.

  • last month

    @Patricia

  • PRO
    last month

    For leaf blowing, just lower the speed or stand further away. I do that when leaf blowing over the mulch

  • last month

    When done rocking the shrub area, consider spray painting that square pot on the porch a happy color from the pretty wreath. Can also paint the border edging stones :)

  • last month

    Another vote for good edging -- rocks seem to wander out of their bounds, and they will kill a mower (or an ankle) quickly! Like the idea of something more PA native.

  • last month

    Whatever is the most natural-looking in your yard. The worst-looking landscape beds in the world are those covered in orange or stark white or black mulch-or-not-mulch-material. Gah!


  • last month

    I hate rock mulch ! The previous had rock mulch on top of landscape cloth installed across the front of my house, and now it's full of weeds. It's very difficult to weed and I refuse to use Roundup on it. I hate that cancer-causing stuff that they say is now in our groundwater. Kate Cowers, perhaps you wouldn't be so cavalier about using Roundup if you had lost close family members to that horrible disease like I have.

  • last month

    Worse is the amount of crops that have been rendered Roundup Ready. RR Crops are genetically engineered crops that have had their DNA altered to allow them to withstand the herbicide glyphosate - Round-up. Current Roundup Ready crops include soy, corn (maize), canola, sugar beets, cotton, and alfalfa, with wheat still under development.

  • last month

    Let's not get carried away here and cause a perfectly reasonable thread to go completely off topic. This is not a discussion for the pros and cons of RoundUp/glyphosate, which the vast majority of the population have zero understanding about except what they read in social media or scare mongering publications.

    Let's keep focused here!!

  • last month

    I used pea gravel in some beds in Texas and and in Indiana. It collected more debris in Indiana (because there were a lot of mature trees where I lived in Indiana compared to Texas) but I thought both were easy to pull weeds out of. I used round up occasionally, but I mostly pulled weeds if needed. I also had good success with using preen in my pea gravel mulched beds.

  • last month

    With out landscape fabric your rocks will sink into the dirt and disappear. Over time dust/dirt collects and that is where weeds can grow. Did you ever try mulch then Preen over that? Mulch is the least labor intensive in the long run...but it appears you are edging with brick--so match that.

  • last month

    Good point about the preen. Sometimes a good pre-emergent can take care of a lot of weeds. Get them before they become something that needs to be pulled or chemicals used.

  • last month

    @jack, good idea. I think i may even get a nicer pot. On have one of those on each side.


    thank you for your feedback everyone! i have tried preen and it didnt go so well. I wasnt going to use fabric but maybe i will. It's best to prob use a commercial type.

  • last month

    I went with ground cover plants! Use Preen and very minimal weeds.