Should I use mulch or gravel around plants and in front of house?

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Hello,Can anyone recommend what I do to lay around my rose, lilac and rhododenron? There was a termite issue in the area that has been fixed and I want to prevent them from coming back. My ranch faces east and gets full sun.I can't decide between rock/gravel or cedar mulch. And should I put it down before the winter? I live in NH so fall is here.

q mulch or gravel around plants and in front of house
q mulch or gravel around plants and in front of house
  16 answers
  • DesertRose DesertRose on Sep 01, 2018

    Either mulch over weed paper, or rocks over weed paper would be fine. If you use mulch you might want cedar or cypress mulch as it does not attract termites etc. like many mulch types you can buy.

  • So funny to hear you all talk about fall. I can't even imagine . . . Still running the ac full blast here.


    Landscape fabric and cedar mulch would be my choice. Just do not set the mulch in direct contact with the house.

    • Sandy Sandy on Sep 03, 2018

      LANDSCAPE FABRIC IS A JOKE, the weeds down here in Florida still make there way thru the fabric...For me it happened and I had to take all the stones off and remove the fabric and when I used mulch I had to do the same thing!!!!

  • Cindy Boyd Cindy Boyd on Sep 02, 2018

    I personally prefer pine needles. They look great and don’t attract insects or termites. Much easier to lay and I know my roses and hydrangeas and boxwood loves it Just put about 3 inches down I don’t even use a landscape barrier. If u get a weed or too they are really easy to remove. I’ve been using for about 3 years now. I replace it every spring

    • See 1 previous
    • Cindy Boyd Cindy Boyd on Sep 03, 2018

      I purchase my pine needles from Lowe’s by the bale just in case u need more than u can rake up. Good luck

  • Darlene Williman Darlene Williman on Sep 02, 2018

    I prefer mulch as it is biodegradable plus it puts nutrients back in your soil. I don't use a fabric barrier though, I use newspapers. Newspapers are also biodegradable plus you can punch a hole through it to put in a plant if you want to. put down several layers of newspaper and mulch at the same time to hold them down. The type of mulch depends on what plants you have as some like acid and some don't so check into that before you spend your time and money.

  • Lorraine Lorraine on Sep 02, 2018

    I used landscape fabric and river rock all around the perimeter of my house. I use cedar mulch around my plants. The river rock looks decorative and is easy to spray for weeds.

  • Num24716303 Num24716303 on Sep 02, 2018

    I also used landscape fabric and put river rock around entire perimeter of the house, mulch and pine straw attract bugs and moisture. Extend the river rock two feet. It might cost up front but in the long run you are saving from not having to replace the mulch every year. We have done this with every home.

    • Patricia Ammerman Patricia Ammerman on Dec 12, 2018

      I bought a house 32 yrs ago that has about 300 sq. Ft. Of river rock. I don’t like spraying because I hate the chemicals. there is so much dirt from composted leaves that fall from trees that I have to hand weed and that job is endless. Newspaper is good under mulch. Just wet it to hold down before & after adding mulch.

  • Rose Sinning Rose Sinning on Sep 02, 2018

    Keep in mind that any areas that get hit by heavy or steady rainfall will have water running off...and your mulch along with it. I can tell you from experience. We had to put barriers (in my case bricks I got for free from craigslist) to surround any mulch area we installed. The gravel areas have only washed on a pretty steep slope...and we will be replacing the mulch as soon as we can afford to with gravel.

  • Sarah A. Victory Sarah A. Victory on Sep 02, 2018

    Well, I live in the South in Zone 7 and my best advice would do what you can afford but if you use mulch don't push it up close to the house. On the other hand if you use some type colorful gravel you will never have to replace it. Mulch generally needs to be refreshed every few years. Don't forget to put heavy duty landscape fabric underneath the mulch or gravel to prevent weeds. Good luck.

    • Sandy Sandy on Sep 03, 2018

      The landscape fabric is a joke, THE WEEDS COME UP THRU IT ANYWAY....I've DONE IT AND THEY COME THRU...

  • MEG MEG on Sep 02, 2018

    Id stay away from wood/chips mulch since you had a termite problem already. You could use pinecones, rubber mulch which is recycled car tires or rocks. Place several layers of wet newspaper down first as a weed barrier then whatever you decide as a mulch material.

  • Kelly-n-Tony Kelly-n-Tony on Sep 02, 2018

    I don't recommend mulch because it does attract pests and fungi and has to be refreshed each year or two. Go with rock which lasts so much longer and isn't much of an issue with bugs. There are plenty of choices with colors too!

  • Em Em on Sep 02, 2018

    I kind of like the rock against the house and some kind of mulch around the plants. The rocks get hot and help dry out the soil but the mulch around the plants keeps the soil moister. I just put a ring around each large plant.

  • Sandy Sandy on Sep 03, 2018

    DON'T CARE WHAT ANY BODY SAYS EITHER WOOD OR STONES you will always have 'WEEDS' coming thru and even thru the material in which I have used and had weeds come thru anyway...Haven't tried pine straw, or rubber tires (shredded) that might be good just do not put it up against the house like the other person said...My neighbor just digs a hole in the dirt in front of the house and plants the 'plants' in the grass....doesn't look bad, they are far enough apart so you can use the lawn mower to cut the grass..in the end its up to you....experiment....

  • Sarah A. Victory Sarah A. Victory on Sep 03, 2018

    Most folks buy an inexpensive landscape fabric at Lowe's or Home Depot. There is a verrrry heavy duty one that is thicker than burlap. It also helps if you put about 3" of mulch down if you use the cheap landscape fabric. Bend over and pick a few weeds, it want kill you and is good exercise. Birds spread seed and so does the wind---it ain't all the landscape fabric's quality.

  • Jlnatty Jlnatty on Sep 03, 2018

    I recommend rubber mulch. The upfront cost will more than pay for itself over time because you NEVER have to replace it unless you get tired of the color. It will not disintegrate and will not attract wood eating termites. I would not use gravel - a real PAIN in the neck to try and remove it all if you decide you want to change out the beds and if you live in a place that has hard freezes during the winter, you will get "stone pop" -- the stones often ends up outside of your garden bed and bury themselves in the dirt in the areas outside the beds! Rubber mulch comes in bags and can be purchased in several different colors. Of all the mulches you can use, it requires the thinnest layer, so there is some savings over time there, as well. Before putting down the mulch, pull or spot kill weeds, put down a really good weed barrier and stake it into the ground and put the mulch on top. Good luck with your beautifying project!

  • Dee Dee on Dec 12, 2018

    I like the dark black mulch. It makes the area look really nice. Put some landscaping bricks in to hold the mulch.

  • Karen Thorne Karen Thorne on Dec 12, 2018

    If you're going for looks and trying to decide, look at what other houses in your neighborhood are using. If you live in a desert area, wood is not a good idea. It can catch on fire too easily. In desert areas we use lava rock or river rock. Gravel sounds terrible. I hope it helps.