Decorative Bark or Gravel? Decisions You Need to Make in Order to Have the Perfect Flower Garden This Season

The key to having a beautiful flower or vegetable garden isn’t just the flowers and seeds you choose to plant. A lot of how well your garden does depends on the soil or mulch you use. Sometimes deciding on a potting soil or bark mulch might seem daunting, but here are a few things to consider when making your decision. It really isn’t that complicated.

Using rock or bark mulch can be one of the greatest things you can do for your gardens this season. Mulch is essentially a mixture of material (usually wood or rubber) that is spread on top of natural soil to protect it against erosion or moisture.

Decorative bark

Using a decorative bark or rock mulch in your garden offers many benefits to the longevity of your garden, but most people use it as way to boost their curb appeal and add the ‘Wow’ factor to their landscaping. Using bark mulch will also help plants keep an even soil temperate, as well as help to keep them moist during hot summer days. Mulch often helps prevent weed growth and offers less maintenance for your garden.

Want a Low Maintenance ground cover?

If you decide you want a low maintenance garden, decorative gravel might be your best bet. Decorative gravel or rock mulch is used as ground cover and is fairly easy to install. It is a low maintenance option if you’re not the traditional ‘gardening’ type. Most forms of decorative rock are mined from river bottoms so the rocks are smooth and pleasing to the eye. Rock mulch is also great for conserving water, since it allows soil to retain its moisture, thus allowing you to water less frequently.

decorative gravel

Your Soil is Important!

Soil type is another thing to consider when deciding where to start your vegetable garden or plant your flowers. Before you begin planting it might be helpful to dig up a small area of your garden in order to see the kind of soil there. Generally dark soil is the best and usually contains more organic matter. Most garden plants will grow better in soils that have higher organic makeup. If the soil is brownish red or yellow,  that could signal drainage problems or that the soil isn’t receiving suitable air. In this case purchasing some potting/topsoil might be beneficial. You can go to any home improvement store or gardening center to purchase a potting soil that best fits your needs. You’ll want to make sure it provides the proper amount of drainage and extra nutrients that will help your plants flourish.

soil

 Considering your  ground cover options  will help your garden  succeed!

When you consider your options (decorative bark, gravel, or mulch), your garden will have a better chance at succeeding and becoming the perfect accent to your home. There are many options of groundcover to choose from depending on your level of gardening experience and preference. Just make sure you choose the option that suits you and your gardening needs. After that, the rest is simple and you’ll be ready for a great summer!

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topsoil

http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/misc/soilbasics.html

 

Top 7 Types of Mulch

top-7-types-of-mulchWhen choosing what to use to help protect and beautify your garden or landscape, there are many options available. Each has their own strengths and curb appeal as well as price range. Mulch has been a popular option for years in order to protect your garden and landscape from the weather, to help keep in the moisture, to provide continual nutrients, and add a great look. Let’s look at 7 different styles of mulch that you can choose from.

  1. Straw mulch. While one of the most simple and cheapest mulches available, it leaves a lot to be desired. It can create simple walkways and provide some good protection for your gardens and landscaping. The problems that arise is that it attracts mice, and other critters, it doesn’t usually completely block the sunlight and therefore doesn’t act as a strong moisture barrier. Another drawback is that it often contains weed seeds.
  2. Newspaper and cardboard mulch. Are you feeling green? Recycling your old newspaper and cardboard and using it as mulch is excellent for your plants and soil. It can offer a strong barrier to the sun and weather, therefore protecting your soil, the plants and the moisture and it can easily adapt to the contour of the land. Since paper is biodegradable, it will decompose into the ground, therein truly recycling the paper. One of the biggest drawbacks with this mulch is the look. One solution is to use newspaper as the bottom layer and cover it over with Utah compost.
  3. Pebble/gravel mulch. Pebbles and gravel tend to be more popular as trail or pathway coverage but can also work in gardens and landscaping. It does well at absorbing heat during the day and giving it off at night which can help create a more subtle climate range. However, it doesn’t keep out the weed seeds or does it do a very good job at keeping the moisture in the soil.
  4. Pumice rock mulch. One of the big differences between pumice and other pebble or gravel mulches is that is has the ability to trap and better maintain moisture in the soil. While this works well once this type of stone is further in the dirt, when you first lay it, you’ll need to give it extra time and water in order to for the water to penetrate and really be utilized in the soil.
  5. Grass clippings mulch. This is about as green as you can get! When you add this mulch immediately after being cut, you gain the green aspect of the fresh grass as well as a great fragrance. With any living green plant, once cut from its’ root it will turn brown, but as it decomposes, it adds great organic fertilizer to your garden and landscaping area.
  6. Compost mulch? Compost provides exceptional nutritional value to your garden and landscape. This will provide value for seasons to come. However, as a decorative mulch it is a little bit lacking. One solution is to mix this with another type of mulch, using this as the first layer of the mulch. It offers great coverage over your dirt, locking moisture in and keeping weeds out.
  7. Shredded bark mulch and wood chips. One of the most popular and favored of all types of mulches is the wood mulch in its various forms. With a never ending option of colors and types of wood from which to have this mulch made, it’s no wonder that it tends to be a favorite. Add to that the cheapness of it as well as it often being readily available and you have a winner for most people. This type of mulch offers exceptional moisture retention as well as weather barrier for your garden and landscape areas. A drawback is that it does break down, but this is also a positive as the decomposing of the mulch can help add nutrients to the ground and it gives you an opportunity to add new life and color when applying a new batch.

As one can see, there are a myriad of different types of mulches and something to suite everyone. Whether one prefers organic, “green”, or cold stones, you can always find something that will make your garden or landscape look even better. If you’re looking for something more industrial – check out agbeltingoutlet.com.  They’ve helped farmers and landscapers with several different types of belts for their equipment to help them get as much out of their labor as possible!