I have been researching mulch alternatives for some time. Why you may ask? I have a love-hate relationship with mulch. I mean sure it covers the ground and prevents some weeds. But I hate buying it year after year. I feel like my money is just being thrown on the ground along with the mulch. Then I read that mulch can attract termites. YIKES! But oh the story gets better. On my search to find the perfect landscaping element to add curb appeal to our home, I had some hilarious interactions with some of the solutions that I found. Read on to see more! This post is sponsored by Lowe’s however all projects and opinions are my own.
I first moved from mulch to pine straw. It seemed like a great alternative and it did work….for a while. We live in the middle of nowhere. It turns out that every tick within several miles was attracted to the bed of pine needles I had created. It was horrible. Then there was the year that I purchased my pine straw, laid it out and had everything looking great. I was proud! That night we had a torrential downpour. I looked outside the next morning and the pine straw was GONE. Washed away. I should have just taken my money and laid it on the ground outside. That would have been much more efficient.
I covered the ground in landscape fabric a few years ago. However, it says right on the package that you need to cover the fabric with a product like mulch or pine straw in order to protect it from the sun’s rays. I ignored the instructions for a few years and literally we have had just the fabric peeking out. I say we get a thumbs down when it comes to curb appeal…..don’t you?
I thought about covering the entire thing with rock but y’all….they are so heavy. My back was screaming at me not to try it….don’t do it. I held off. And we lived with something that was not at all what I wanted. I did more and more research in the meantime just hoping for a solution that would fit in between all of these options.
Enter Lowe’s. I found the perfect product for my dilemma. Lava rock! It is a lighter weight than regular rock however heavy enough to not wash away in the rain. It is rock so I am hopeful that it will not attract every critter in a two mile radius. So far I am thrilled with the look and for me it was the best solution for my budget. If you are looking for a permanent ground cover that does not require you to purchase year after year, this product just may be the solution for you!
You can shop the image above for the items that I used to complete this project. They included landscape fabric, landscape pins, and Flower Rock. I recommend a high quality landscape fabric. The one I used has a 30 year guarantee. I laid it out over every area that I could cover and held it in place with the pins. I used large rocks to give myself an edge border around the sidewalk then covered the entire thing in Flower Rock.
Remember to cut holes in your landscape fabric for any plants but cut them as small as possible. Any hole is a potential for weed to grow in your beautiful landscaping! But I have a low cost solution for you there as well! There is a Spectracide product tagged in the image as well that will kill weeds easily. It only kills what you spray it on so it is safe for flower beds. It has been my go to product for years. It is perfect in this situation for around the ends of the planting bed.
A few tips and tricks for creating your own outdoor oasis on a budget:
- Go slow! We have lived in this house almost 15 years and I have added a few plants and things every single year. This helps tremendously with the budget.
- Live with it! We did not build this house so there were plants in this area that I did not love. I lived with them until I could afford to dig them up and replace them with ones that I personally love.
- Use the guarantee! Lowe’s has a One-Year Plant Guarantee. If your trees, shrubs or perennials don’t survive a year, they will replace them free of charge. Just bring in the plant and your receipt.
- Look for free options! Often your friends and neighbors will be willing to divide up some of their plants or dig up some unwanted bulbs. These can add beauty to your landscape on a budget.
You can get the curb appeal your home desperately needs just with a little elbow grease and creativity
I added some flowers to an old wagon wheel in a planter. This adds color to this flower bed without a ton of money. Think outside of the box when looking at options for your space.
Years ago my husband made me this flower pot hanger out of old hay rake teeth. I still love it but felt it needed a few pops of color. I added on this trellis and some hanging baskets from Lowe’s. You can shop the picture above to get the same look.
I am thrilled with our new space!
Adding some curb appeal has never been easier! With these mulch alternatives, you will have a landscape that is about as maintenance free as you can get.
I will be enjoy this space for years to come!
These mulch alternatives are even puppy dog approved!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lowe’s.
Since we live in the desert and have low water landscaping, rock is common, every yard has it. We love it, just rake it every once in a while and it looks amazing. I think you will really like yours.
The lava rock looks really nice in your garden. It seems like a viable alternative to other types of mulch.
Your gardens look great. 🙂
love the look… and its so clean.. i used river rock i collected. but because of the pine needles i wish there was an easier way to get them out with out removing the rock every time. any ideas?
I don’t think there is an easier way. Boo. Nothing is without issues!
Looks stunning! I just use leaves and straw but I do like the red look. I’ve also been concerned about the chemical dyes they put on some wood chip mulch. Found your post at Awesome Life Fridays, thanks for sharing.
Hi Angie Thanks for all the tips your garden looks great and the stones/gravel will hold moisture too I get the feeling mulch is not your favourite thing but its great for keeping moisture in.
Your garden looks wonderful! Would you share the name of that spectracide product, please? I don’t see a tag. Thank you!
Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer. Look for a label that says safe in flowerbeds!
The final outcome is just perfect. You really did a great job. Lava rock is such a great alternative. I just loved the flower pot hanger. Nice tips, thanks for sharing.
Thank you! I searched all over for a mulch alternative and finally hit up Pinterest. Your post popped right up and just in time because, girl, I’ve just been through the ringer with termites and I need to find something they don’t love for around the flower beds.
I know right?!?!? AAAARRRGGGGHH! Happy shopping!
The VintageStyleLiving.com just ran across your blog while researching garden stools and we just love what you have done here. Really love the lava rock instead of mulch, it really adds a little extra something. Thanks for sharing!
If you feel like you’re throwing money on the ground for mulch, what do you think about making it yourself? Also, not all types of mulch attract termites. Here is some information that you may find useful – https://blog.fantasticgardenersmelbourne.com.au/mulch-types-guide/. Great post, though! The garden looks great 🙂
Iam just redoing my front yard in lava rock with a large garden bed in the middle. I’m tired of the skunks and raccoons digging up my lawn to scavenge for grubs. The pic you posted of your garden looks great. Hope my yard turns out as well. I’m like you I don’t like using mulch as you have to add to it every year or two. Hope lava rock is a better choice.
So far so good here!
Saw your story at the perfect time. We are just cleaning out all of the weeds from the beds and I have had my fill of poison ivy coming up in that mulch. Was going to try rock but I sure love the color of the lava rock and think it will be perfect for this project. Just hope that it will be readily available at our local Lowes stores.
I see that this article was written quite a while ago. I am looking at using the lava rock around the foundation of our house. How has yours held up over the years?
It has really held up! I love it!