Choosing Coverage: Find the Right Material to Fill Your Landscaping
LAKE MOSES – There are a variety of options to choose from when deciding on ground cover in landscaping around your home. The decision often depends on your personal preference or price range, but each material offers a unique option for homeowners, whether it’s rock, bark, or composted soil.
Dave Jones is the owner of the Basin Bark landscaping supply business in Moses Lake and has been in the industry for over 25 years. Jones said the most popular choice he’s seen recently is fractured basalt rock.
With a lower price per square cubic meter, Jones said basalt rock is a popular choice for homeowners and home builders. Builders like Hayden Homes have recently used basalt rock almost exclusively around new homes, he said.
“Rock also keeps the weeds going,” Jones said. “Almost any ground cover on fabric or plastic will keep these weeds from getting through.”
Fabric landscaping flooring, placed under rock or bark in and around homes, is something Jones said he always recommends, especially with the area’s soft, sandy soil.
“Rock typically weighs 2,800 pounds per yard, so when it sits on our ground, it tends to want to sink quite easily,” Jones said. “When it’s really wet, maybe because of the snowmelt, everything wants to flow and disappear.”
Jones said there would be a build-up of dust over time in these coatings, but it’s usually a gradual build-up. He said the liner with a tight layer of rock on top can also help keep weeds at bay.
Along with the bark, Jones said there are a variety of different sizes with three main prices that buyers can choose from. He said the bark can help absorb and hold moisture in the soil, in addition to preventing the sun from hitting bare soil.
He said large pieces of bark tend to be more popular, especially for homes with more open or more spacious yards, because of the high winds that can frequent the Columbia Basin.
“A lot of small sizes can have a tendency to fly off,” Jones said. “If they have protected yards with fences, the smaller bark works well. But in the open in large yards, the bark tends to fly off in smaller sizes.
The shredded bark is popular, especially with the farming community, for inside and around rows of trees. Jones said the shredded bark gives a more natural look when mixed with pine needles or tree leaves, while providing soil protection.
Around residential homes, he said the bark choices are more of a mix based on personal preferences. Again, he said the thicker “nugget bark” was popular in town. The soil or compost mixture will be the first choice for anyone who has raised garden beds or flower projects in their garden landscape.
Jones said Basin Bark offers both pure compost and a 50/50 mix of compost and soil.
As far as maintenance goes, Jones said the rock is pretty much permanent, other than perhaps to remove pine needles or other material that collects around the area. The bark, on the other hand, tends to need refreshing every few years.
Jones said it was more of a personal preference as to what materials a homeowner chooses to use in different areas of the yard. But for him personally, he said he recommends avoiding putting too much bark directly next to the house.
“If that was me, I would keep the barking away from the house just in case of a potential fire,” Jones said. “The rock will be less likely to burn, and you will get better drainage. “