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Low maintenance

low maintenance


The common theme and request when designing landscapes with our clients, is for low maintenance. With busy lives, families and careers, homeowners these days find it increasingly difficult to spend their precious free time maintaining their yards.

As a homeowner who wouldn’t enjoy a vibrant and colorful garden just outside their window? But while a landscaped yard can definitely boost curb appeal, the low maintenance aspect becomes more critical.

There’s no such thing as a maintenance-free landscape, however introducing bark mulch or rock mulch to your landscape can be a quick and easy way to help with the maintenance of your yard, but it also provides a lot of other benefits.

Bark mulch in your landscape?

There are countless uses for mulch in any landscape build and design; around a fire pit area, alongside a patio,with swimming pool installs, in and around trees and shrubs and for almost every other area in your yard. Mulch cover is also highly recommended for winter protection in our climate, as it helps protect the roots of plants and shrubs from freezing temperatures and drying winds.

Benefits of bark mulch

Bark mulch essentially forms a weed barrier and conserves moisture, in shading roots so plants are protected- it often means you don’t have to water as often. In some landscapes bark mulch can provide a soft material in an otherwise hard landscape, while also adding organic matter to the soil as it breaks down.

Bark Mulch limitationsBark mulch stepping stone

There are a few reasons why bark mulch might not be right for your landscape. It often has to be replaced every few years because of the mulch decomposing, and the original bold color of bark mulch when first installed will fade in direct sunlight over time, and may not look the same six months later.

Rock Mulch – Benefits

Rock mulch has numerous good reasons for use in your landscape. It’s a material that can’t decompose into soil and therefore does not require regular replacement, so it can be more economical than bark mulch in the long run. The fact that it comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures is clearly its biggest selling point.

Rock Mulch – Drawbacks

Within soRock mulchme landscapes there can be areas created where leaf drop and plant debris are concerns. Rock mulch may not be the best choice as it can accumulate on top of the rock mulch. The initial expense up front for the rock mulch needs to be considered. As does its weight, making it more difficult and expensive to install. A weed barrier underneath to prevent weeds from growing up through the rock is also required. Edging to prevent the rock falling into surrounding grass is also required.

Rock mulch can also absorb sunlight on hot days and heat up the soil underneath. Therefore placing strain on any shrubs and trees planted within the rock mulch.

So which low maintenance method do I chose? Rock vs. Bark Mulch

When making a final choice of landscaping mulch, that choice will often depend on an overall landscape design. Then your budget, and the types of plants and shrubs. Living in Winnipeg we also have to consider snow removal. Mulch installations close to driveways and sidewalks may need to be replenished because of snow plow damage.

Bark mulch is generally better to use in garden beds and to protect plantings and shrubs. While rock mulches are good to use around building foundations and alongside driveways and walkways. Many raised beds or planted berms will often also feature rock mulch.

There is no right or wrong answer, but the undoubted benefits of using either towards a low maintenance landscape is very clear.

For more information or advice please contact us