Consider lava rock as a mulch in xeriscape gardens or around shrubs, succulents or other plantings that won’t change much over time. This type of rock is lightweight compared to traditional stone mulch, which makes it easier to haul and handle without professional help. Individual rock edges tend to be sharp. Stone mulch doesn’t ever break down or disappear—it’s a permanent addition to the landscape. Place it on a layer of landscape fabric to prevent rocks from sinking into soil.
Turn to decorative stone mulch when you want to give plantings a formal ambience. Stone comes in a variety of colors and shapes. River rock usually has smooth, rounded edges, while quartz is more jagged. Stone mulch doesn’t degrade over time and doesn’t usually need replaced if it’s seated on landscape fabric. You might need to refresh the top layer of stones at times if it fades or discolors.
The natural rock texture of the boulder steps and planter retaining boulders brings a great, rough texture to this backyard. The stones transition the space from the lawn and melt into the concrete walkway. Small mulched sections create a space for gardening to add natural decoration.
The natural textures of this home create a lovely understated country design. A mulched yard and rock walls add natural texture. Red siding sections and blue shutters and door add pops of color. The polished wood of the entryway serves as the focal point with a rock bed and concrete walkway leading to it.
A paver walkway leads to the entrance of this beautiful home. A mix of natural rock and mulch creates a simple yet lovely landscape around the front. The stucco exterior and standing seam metal roof creates an interesting country-meets-mediterranean facade.
A paver pathway leads out into the backyard to a sitting area that looks back over a reflective pond. Along the way a sunken fireside patio is separated from the pathway using natural stone steps. Mulched garden areas surround the patio sections giving natural life and color to the design.
Concrete tiles act as stepping stones leading down the side of this home into the backyard. Mulched planters create garden-like spaces in the landscaping. A rock and wood retaining wall features built-in bench seating at the bottom, softened with green and turquoise throw pillows.
This area begins the walkway that invites you out into the backyard oasis. Warm landscape lighting gives a cozy and inviting feel to the paver patio. Mulch in the surrounding garden area and a natural rock section of the home's exterior wall add texture to the design. A screened in gazebo sits opposite the house connected by the patio space.
A paver patio pathway leads to a stylish outdoor sitting space and continues down to a fire pit area with adirondack chairs. Beige cushions with a center tuft on the backrest pad the wrought iron chairs. A circular table with tinted glass top sits in the center topped with an oil lamp. Natural rock and plants surrounding the space add beautiful texture to the design.
Stone siding creates a textural finish over the exterior of this country home. Stained wood siding covers the remaining exterior sections and blends seamlessly into a covered porch protecting wood rocking chairs. A mulched section borders the home with planted shrubs and ornamental grass.
After: A rock wall and strategically placed boulders create a new bed for plants and trees that don’t overwhelm the entryway. Now, the area is better tied to the existing bed, and there’s also an expanded mulched area with new plants.