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Lava Rocks Landscaping

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Lava Rocks Landscaping

When looking to transform your landscape you have many different options available to you. At times the options can seem overwhelming, however taking the time to learn about which products are truly best for your needs will allow you to love the end result. We’ve found that many homeowners and contractors in Bergen County are unsure of the differences between mulch and lava rocks and which is best for their landscapes. We’ve decided to delve into each option and provide our thoughts on each product for use in your flowerbeds, walkways and around plant life. Overall they’re both great options that can add unmatched beauty, however they both provide unique benefits that you may find meets certain needs best. Benefits of Mulch in Your Landscape There’s a reason why mulch has been so popular with gardeners throughout the years – it’s effective. A layer of wood chips can work very well as a barrier against the sun, preventing moisture in the soil from evaporating. At the same time, mulch is able to absorb and retain water, slowly releasing it into the earth and surrounding plants. This stops water from flooding the vegetation, while still guaranteeing that plants receive ample moisture. As an organic compound, mulch also breaks down and decomposes over time. This process replenishes the soil with nutrients and promotes healthy vegetation. Keep in mind that in areas subject to high winds or foot traffic, it’s smart to use an edging material around the mulch to prevent it from blowing away. Benefits of Lava Rocks in Your Landscape Gardeners who are looking for a more permanent solution for their mulching needs are realizing the advantages of lava rocks. These unique stones are rough and porous, which enables them to quickly absorb and retain both moisture and heat. This is good for two reasons. First, the lava rocks are acting in much the same way as mulch – blocking moist soil from the sun and retaining additional water. Secondly, the stones can hold warmth from the sun during the day and then redistribute it into the soil during the cooler evenings. This helps to maintain consistent soil and plant temperatures. One of the benefits that lava rocks provide over mulch is that they don’t decompose, which means that they don’t need to be replaced every year. They also tend to be heavy enough that they won’t blow away during storms or when using a leaf blower. We do recommend placing the stones either 1 inch below the ground’s surface or using an edging material to avoid displacement in areas with heavy foot traffic. Lava Rocks vs Mulch: Which is Right For You? Once you can see the benefits of both types of materials, you begin to realize that the debate of lava rocks vs mulch isn’t quite so cut-and-dry. Both can be used effectively to promote plant health, but there are a few factors that may impact your decision. Above all else, you need to consider the needs of the plants and vegetation you plan to have. If your plants are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations then lava rocks may be the better option. It’s also important to consider the look and feel that you want to portray. Some people prefer the more natural look and feel of mulch when compared with lava rocks. We recommend visiting your local landscape supplier to see both products if you’re unsure of which you think you’ll like best. Once you’re there you can speak to local experts about which they recommend and why. This should help you find the perfect match. Braen Supply is one of the largest landscape suppliers in northern NJ, including Bergen County. We’ve been assisting customers with their lava rock and mulch questions for more than a decade and would love to speak with you about your upcoming project. We have lava rocks and mulch available at wholesale prices and for bulk delivery and pickup across all of NJ, NY, PA & CT.
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Lava Rocks Landscaping

Choosing the Right Rocks for Your Landscape The rocks you choose will help set the tone for the rest of your garden. Tawny beach pebbles or river rocks add warmth, while white marble chips help brighten up shady areas. Flat terracotta stones complement a tropical landscape, but can seem out of place in a more formal garden. For a minimalist modern landscape or Polynesian-themed garden, try black lava rocks. Check out photos of rockscapes online to see what appeals to you. Because stones last indefinitely, it’s important to choose a look you’ll be happy with for many years. Replace Mulch Rocks may be more expensive than mulch, but they have several advantages as a groundcover. The first is durability. Mulch must be replaced every season, while rocks can last the lifetime of your garden. Another advantage is that pale-colored stones provide striking contrast against deep-colored foliage and help brighten up shady corners of your landscape. “Call attention to a favorite shrub or specimen tree by surrounding it with medium-sized river stones. This creates the effect of a ‘living sculpture’,” says landscape architect Maureen Smith. Rocks will also discourage weed growth around your prized plant, but for the best results, install a weed barrier before putting the stones in place. Plant a Rock Garden For a more exotic look, add a rock garden to your landscape. Choose an area that gets plenty of sun and install two or three small boulders. Surround the boulders with closely spaced low-lying flowers, such as portulaca (left), ground orchids or decorative cactus. Carefully fill in the gaps with smaller stones that complement the color of your boulders. Create a Centerpiece A large, unusually-shaped boulder can serve as an eye-catching focal point. Use as a tidy, low-maintenance centerpiece in a small garden, where an ornamental shrub might become too large or unruly. In larger gardens, a rock centerpiece can add visual interest to monotonous border areas, such as hedges. Build a Pond Border Large rocks are the key to giving your backyard pond that fairytale look. The right type of stone will help camouflage unsightly black pond liners and provide contrast to the dark pond water. Avoid using even rectangular pavers. For the most natural effect, choose rocks that are similar in size but irregular in shape and color. Create a Low-Maintenance Container Garden Instead of setting up a container garden on your deck or patio, where the pots need regular watering, place them in a rockscape that’s within reach of your sprinkler system. Line the area with a weed barrier and set the containers on top. Cut holes in the barrier, so the bottoms of the pots can fit through and settle into the soil. Make sure the pots have adequate holes for drainage. Surround the pots with small stones in a complementary color. The result is a striking container garden that gets watered whenever your sprinklers come on. Make a Stepping Stone Path A stepping stone path is a picturesque option for those shady areas alongside your house, where there is too little sun for most plants to thrive. It’s also a practical way to keep shoes clean when walking up to a side door or back door. For a tidy look, surround large stepping stones with small pebbles in a contrasting color.
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Lava Rocks Landscaping

Rock mulches don’t break down as quickly as organic mulches, but lava rock can wash or blow away if you use it in exposed locations. New Mexico State University Extension specialists recommend installing lava rock at least an inch below sidewalk level to reduce its movement out of planting beds. Despite being lightweight, lava rocks can damage mower blades if pieces end up on your lawn. Even if they remain where you place them, lava rocks’ sharp edges make the material difficult to work around, so it is best used in permanent plantings or other locations where maintenance tasks are minimal.
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Lava Rocks Landscaping

Cons for Gardeners Rock mulches don’t break down as quickly as organic mulches, but lava rock can wash or blow away if you use it in exposed locations. New Mexico State University Extension specialists recommend installing lava rock at least an inch below sidewalk level to reduce its movement out of planting beds. Despite being lightweight, lava rocks can damage mower blades if pieces end up on your lawn. Even if they remain where you place them, lava rocks’ sharp edges make the material difficult to work around, so it is best used in permanent plantings or other locations where maintenance tasks are minimal.
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Lava Rocks Landscaping

Lava rocks provide optimum weed suppression as long as the fabric barrier beneath the rocks remains in good repair. Organic mulches do suppress weeds, although some weeds can grow through the mulch or within the mulch, especially as the layer begins to break down. The few weeds that do penetrate lava rocks require prompt removal or they can destroy the fabric underlayment and cause further weed issues later. If soil collects on top of the fabric and beneath the rocks, some weeds may take root in this soil layer.

Lava Rocks Landscaping

Lava Rocks Landscaping
Lava Rocks Landscaping

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