landscape with river stone

by Joanie Walker
(Bloomsburg, PA)

We currently have black rubber tire mulch in all of our gardens. I have been the person in charge of keeping the mulch clean and after 8 years, I'm over it! We are going with black river stone in a few weeks if your blog recommends it.

1. Should we just cover the tire mulch with the river stones or should we remove all of it?

2. Some gardens have no landscaping fabric under them; should we rake up the tire mulch & spread fabric, then replace the rubber mulch? (depending on the answer to question #1)

3. What size OR combined sizes of river stone are best for large gardens?

4. Will the black river stone mulch clean easier than the irregular, wire-laden tire mulch that we have? Our property has many old oak and maple trees with many twigs and leaves dropping.

5. Would you recommend any other stone color for a cleaner look?

6. Is there any other kind of mulch that looks cleaner all year?Please reply...Joanie Walker


1. I would remove the tire mulch so that the stones will have good drainage and a clean look.

2. I never use landscape fabric. I prefer a thick layer of mulch, but in your case you can use stones.

3. I would use a medium size, although any size will do.

4. Probably the stones will clean easier as river stone is quite smooth.

5. I would say that a mixed stone color of tans and shades of brown would probably look cleaner longer. The color of the twigs and leaves that drop wall fall in better than black stones.

6. As an alternative, I would recommend using hardwood shredded bark mulch, 3 inches thick. The thickness will keep the weeds out. You can easily replenish it every other year. or so. The leaves and twigs will look natural there and you can just lightly blow them away with a blower.
I would prefer this to stones.


Comments for landscape with river stone

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May 25, 2016
Landscape Fabric
by: Anonymous

The only time you should use landscape fabric is when mulching with stone (as in your situation). Without a barrier to separate the stone, it will mix with the soil below and turn into a muddy mess any time it rains or you water. It will make removing the stone in the future a nightmare as well.

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