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Best Options For Flower Beds

Updated on January 26, 2012

For many of us having a well-manicured lawn is something that we certainly aspire to. Every spring we spend countless dollars at our local nurseries so that we may have a one of a kind masterpiece in our front yard. After slaving away placing expensive flowers in their new homes we are left with unattractive dirt. We will discuss four options for accenting your existing or future flower beds.

Pine Straw

Pine Straw is one of the most common choices for flower bed filler. It is relatively cheap and it covers a large area per bale. If you live in an area that receives heavy rains pine straw is a great choice as it won’t wash away. Another reason to use pine straw, especially if your soil isn’t the greatest, is because as it breaks down it provides your plants with nourishment. This is also one of the drawbacks to pine straw because as the needles break down they compact, requiring annual replenishment.

Natural Rock

Rock is a much less common choice for a flower bed. Rock is available in a variety of sizes and tends to be more expensive than pine straw, but does not need to be replaced annually. When considering rock it is important to know the quality of the soil in which your plants have been placed as rock contains no nutritional value to the soil. It is also important that a layer of weed block be placed under the new bed as the rock is susceptible to weed growth. Rock also requires a lot of maintenance as debris such as clippings, twigs, leaves, etc. get into the beds reducing the overall attractiveness.


Mulch is the second most common choice for flower bed filler. Mulch is relatively cheap and available in a multitude of colors, but doesn’t produce near the yield of a bale of pine straw at a similar price point. Mulch is sold by the ½ yard at your local nurseries, so when doing a large area it is much more cost effective to buy from a supplier and have it delivered. Most mulch is produced from recycled woods and upon decomposition provides your soil with nutrients. Colored mulches often times have inorganic dyes that aren’t necessarily good for the soil so be especially careful when planning the use of mulch around a garden or fruit bearing tree. The largest downfalls of mulch are that during heavy rains the mulch is often washed out of your beds and the fact that the mulch decomposes and will need to be replaced on an annual basis.

Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is the newest product on the market for flower bed filler and considerably more expensive than pine straw and mulch. Made from recycled tires and often used on playgrounds rubber mulch is starting to be seen in neighborhood gardens. The rubber mulch is much more durable than pine straw or natural much and tends to hold color longer also. Since rubber mulch is not natural it lacks the benefit of the nutrients provided by pine straw and mulch. Rubber mulch need not be reapplied annually and would be a great addition for any homeowner looking for a low maintenance yet easy one time application.


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