Choosing cover: Find the right material to fill in your landscaping
MOSES LAKE – There are a variety of options to choose from when deciding on land cover in landscaping around the home. The decision often depends on personal preference or price range, but each material offers homeowners a unique option, be it stone, bark, or composted soil.
Dave Jones owns the Basin Bark landscaping contractor in Moses Lake and has been in the industry for over 25 years. Jones said the most popular choice he’s seen lately is broken basalt rock.
With a lower price per square cubic meter, the basalt rock is a popular choice for homeowners and home builders, according to Jones. Builders like Hayden Homes have been using the basalt rock almost entirely around new homes lately, he said.
“Rock holds down the weeds too,” said Jones. “Almost any ground cover over fabric or plastic will prevent the weeds from getting through.”
The cloth ground cover liner that is laid under the stone or bark in and around houses is something Jones said he always recommends, especially given the soft, sandy soil in the area.
“Rock usually weighs 2,800 pounds per yard, so when it’s on our ground it tends to sink pretty easily,” said Jones. “When it gets really wet, maybe from melting snow, everything wants to sink and disappear.”
Jones said that some dust will build up in these liners over time, but it’s usually a gradual build-up. He said that the forage with a thick layer of stone on top can also help keep weeds at bay.
When it comes to bark, Jones says there are a variety of different sizes with three main price points for buyers to choose from. He said that bark can help absorb and hold moisture in the soil, in addition to preventing the sun from hitting the bare ground.
He said the larger pieces of bark are more popular because of the high winds that can be common in the Columbia Basin, especially for homes with a more open or spacious garden.
“A lot of the smaller sizes can have a tendency to blow away,” Jones said. “If you have fenced yards, the smaller bark works well. But outdoors in larger courtyards, the bark tends to blow away in smaller sizes. “
Carved bark is particularly popular with the court community, for in and around rows of trees. Jones said the shredded bark gives a more natural look when mixed with the pine needles or leaves of trees while still providing soil protection.
In residential buildings, the choice of bark is more of a mixture based on personal preferences. Here, too, he said that the thicker “nugget bark” was popular in the city. Soil or compost mix is the first choice for anyone who has raised beds or plans to add flowers to the landscape of their garden.
Jones said Basin Bark offers both a clean compost and a 50/50 mix of compost and soil.
In terms of maintenance, Jones said rocks are quite permanent, except maybe clearing away pine needles or other materials that build up in the area. Bark, on the other hand, needs to be refreshed every few years.
Jones said it was more of a personal preference what materials a homeowner chooses in different areas of the garden. But for him personally, he recommends not putting too much bark right next to the house.
“If it were me, I’d keep the bark off the house just in case there was a fire,” Jones said. “Rocks are less likely to burn and you get better drainage.”