Material for garden floor?

Hi all,

What do you put down on the ground in your garden? Gravel, mulch, something else? I’ve been considering putting down gravel but I thought I’d poll the audience to see what the pros and cons are of different options. I have mulch right now but it looks messy and weeds grow easily. Thanks!

I used blue slate chips. It compacts well and is easy pull or push a cart over it.

That sounds nice. Do you have problems with weeds in it?

Put weed fabric down first, then your rock. It will serve 2 purposes. Weeds wont grow up, and rock won’t settle down into the dirt over time. I have a decomposed granite. It packs well too. I also have slate on parts. I used mulch in the past, but over time it decomposes and gets blown away by the leaf blower/mower/etc. I have large landscape trees and lots of fall debris as well. Mulch ends up getting brown bagged or composted with leaves, and I found myself replacing it every other year. I have much preferred the rock.

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I will also say that while gravel is nice and has many uses it is generally rounded. Because of the round edges the stones do not pack well, so in a driveway or pathway application they will continuously move under weight. Course edged stones will offer better “packing” and can be tamped down with a tamper or drum roller and remain more compact.

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Thanks! Have you had issues with weeds growing up through the fabric over time? And do you put down crush and run or anything like that first or just straight rock on top of weed cloth? In the Garden Design video I think Ryan said they put down a layer of crush and run and then the rock.

I use landscape fabric, place medium size river pebbles in random fashion, then surround with decomposed granite. The river stones seem to discourage deer. The granite is red chicken grit I buy at farm supply store. Very important to have wind protection in my climate. The leaf debris is easily blown away with leaf blower or raked off the surface.


photo is my wife’s plants near our four season sunroom.

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This picture is a couple of years old. But was the day i put the slate chips down. I am in the landscape industry for work, I did the same process we use at work. I put down a layer of 15 year weed fabric then a base layer of granite sand and compacted it with a plate compactor. Then was able to use less of the more expensive slate chips. Slate chips are the only that are ADA compliant due to the compaction being able to handle wheelchairs. Therefore it is easy to roll carts on it.

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I use 3/4" open crushed granite. Weed block fabric first is a good idea if you have a weed problem. I didn’t use any in my main area since the only water any of it gets is dripage under the benches. I have a few weeds that try to come up here and there, but they are easily pulled. We don’t get a lot of precipitation here in the summer, so if you are in a rainy area the weed block fabric might be more necessary.

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Here where I am, woodchips are ok, but rock gravel can be considered as “coverage”, which is limited on the property to allow for more rain penetration. So, I use both, within the limits of what I can, and heel in during the winter with hoodies, snow, wooden boxes, etc. In the spring, I’ll be exploring decomposed granite, because it doesn’t affect coverage, and can give some nice aesthetic when coupled with the mulch. We also have water restrictions, and the tree service nearby gives away free forest mulch chips as waste. With this, I’ve covered the entire yard in this chip mulch, using boulders for accents, with some anchor trees, and accent shrubs like dogwood and chokecherry. No turf, so easier to maintain, but the moles still cause issues! In addition to this, the gravel I do have acts as a wildfire break, and a nice drainage field for snow around the house, to protect the foundation.

Cheers!

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How does the decomposed granite look? Is it nice, like an accent, and can you get different shades, or does it end up looking like dirt?

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The granite I use is red and looks like crushed brick. The random smooth stones breaks up the area, but would not be good for persons who are unsteady or need a wheel chair. River rock can be grey or blue or black and add accent as well as discourage unwanted critters.

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Great to know, thanks! I also imagine it’s good for drainage. Glad to know I can get it in colors other than brown. The plan is to use for ground cover, and won’t be a place most people traverse. Thanks for the advice!

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