Mulch vs. Stone in Commercial Landscaping: Best Time, Best Materials, & Best Practices

Michael Hatcher

Apr 21, 2020 3:37:46 PM

When you see “mulch vs. stone,” you might assume this is going to be a fair fight.

But we’ll be upfront with you here: it isn’t. 

Here at Hatcher, we really love mulch, and most of our commercial landscaping customers prefer it, too. 

Overwhelmingly, we use mulch more than stone.

Why? 

We’re glad you asked. 

Why We Love Mulch So Much 

If this were a love poem to mulch, which it sort of is, we’d say “let us count the ways.” So sappy. But what the heck. Let’s count the ways.

  1. Cost. Stone costs 10 times more than mulch. Yes, it lasts longer and you don’t have to replace it every
  2. Mulch looks amazing. That rich, dark brown color adds a tidy, uniform appearance to your beds.
  3. It improves your soil and gives your plants a boost. Mulch made from organic material like bark decays over time, crumbling into nutritious bits that actually feed your soil.
  4. Mulch retains moisture. That means you won't have to water as much. 
  5. It keeps pesky weeds at bay by blocking the sunlight they need to sprout.
  6. Mulch prevents rain from washing away your landscape soil.
  7. It protects your plants’ roots from extremes in temperature, keeping them cozy in cold weather and cool in summer’s heat.

When is the Best Time to Mulch? 

If only mulch stayed so great-looking forever. But it doesn't.

Fresh mulch

Mulch fades and breaks down over time, so you’ll need to replace it every spring. 

We mulch once a year for most of our commercial landscaping customers, between February and the end of March, after spring clean-up.

What’s the Best Mulch for Commercial Landscaping? 

Here at Hatcher, we use double-hammered hardwood mulch.

Besides sounding cool, it’s good stuff. 

Hardwood bark is hammered, breaking large pieces into smaller chunks. Then, it’s hammered again, making it even finer.

It has a great look, and it breaks down faster, nourishing your soil.

Mulch Best Practices for Commercial Landscaping 

Sure, the basic idea is to cover areas of your commercial property with mulch.

plant beds with mulch along walkway

But there are a couple of tricks of the trade that not everybody does. 

Mulch Blowers

If you need large areas of mulch, we can do the job quicker and more efficiently by using a mulch blower. 

These monster machines spread mulch with powerful ease, in half the time of a crew working by hand. 

Powered by a diesel engine, a conveyor system inside feeds the loaded mulch toward a paddle that directs it to a hose. The force of high-velocity air blows the mulch through the hose to wherever the operator directs it.

Your inner 4-year-old will love it. 

Hardlined Beds

We “hardline” all the planting beds that get mulched with the flat edge of a shovel, creating a tidy barrier that looks great and helps keep mulch from creeping into the grass.

No Mulch Volcanoes

Hold the volcanoes. You’ve likely seen them — cone-shaped mounds of mulch that creep up the base of trees. 

They’re not good. The excess mulch encourages tree roots to grow toward the surface. 

Wet mulch against the bark can cause it to rot. 

And too much mulch can block the tree roots from getting enough oxygen.

Mulch vs.Stone: When Stone Wins

Sometimes, just like rock beats paper, stone beats mulch. 

If you have drainage issues on your property, stone allows water to drain quickly.

Some commercial buildings are huge, with large gutter downspouts that send floods of water to the landscape during a heavy rain.

Mulch can’t absorb all the runoff and tends to wash away.

But stone stands strong, draining the downpour. 

Mulch vs. Stone for Commercial Landscaping? Trust Hatcher

You want your commercial landscaping to look great, attract attention, and boost your image.

Mulch to the rescue. 

plants in mulch at commercial landscape property

But you also need it to function well, fit your company’s unique needs, and not overwhelm you with maintenance headaches.

Let us give you a hand

Whether you prefer mulch or stone, we’ll work with you to design a commercial landscaping plan that fits your property and your needs, will stand up to the rigors of a commercial property, and offer the curb appeal you need. 

When your landscaping looks great, you look great, too.

Are you ready to let us help you decide on mulch vs. stone, and create the best plan for your commercial landscaping? Talk to one of our commercial landscaping experts today! We’ll meet at your property, create a custom plan, and get you on your way to enjoying a beautiful, worry-free property.

Get Started

Image sources: mulch

Michael Hatcher

Written by Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is president of Michael Hatcher & Associates.