Mulch is important for maintaining a neat garden bed around your house. It prevents weed growth, provides drainage yet keeps in the moisture. Both, stone and bark mulches will provide the same service in that regard. However, each has its own pros and cons that we will go over:
Bark Mulch’s best attribute is that it’s organic and will decompose, providing the soil with nutrients. Some types of aromatic mulches, such as cedar and hemlock have insect repelling qualities and will help to keep ant hills out of your lawn. The downfall of using organic mulches, such as bark mulch, is that they need to be re-applied regularly and occasionally can glow a harmless but unattractive fungus.
Stone Mulches are desirable because they are low maintenance, and don’t need to be re-applied every year. Some of the more vibrant colors can be two or three times as expensive as bark mulch up-front, but in the long run they come out to be more economical. The color of stone mulch does not fade and the stone stays put because of its weight. The cons of using stone mulch are that it can’t provide any nutrients to the soil and can get hot in the summer, harming the plants.
To summarize this, both stone and bark mulches have their positive and negative qualities, and it’s the application that will help determine the kind that’s right for you. We would recommend using organic mulch in a heavily planted area of your garden bed to provide nutrients to the plants, and stone near walkways and around the pool for easy maintenance and a pop of color. Using landscaping fabric under any mulch will help keep the weeds down, but it’s especially important under stone to keep it from mixing with the dirt underneath.