Can You Put River Rock Over Mulch?

Can You Put River Rock Over Mulch?

Rocks are a versatile, natural addition to any garden. However, if you already have mulch laid down, can you put river rock over top of it, or will it need to be removed first?

You can put river rock over mulch, but make sure to lay a landscaping fabric as a barrier between them. During the installation, it may be necessary to use a wheelbarrow or shovel because river rock can get heavy. Avoid placing the stones too close to plant stems, as they can suffocate the roots. 

Follow along to discover if it’s okay to put river rock over mulch and how to do so. Additionally, we’ll talk about the best type of river rock to lay over mulch and discuss some disadvantages that are involved.

Is It Okay to Put River Rock Over Mulch?

River rock is a type of landscaping material that comes in a variety of sizes and colors. It’s also incredibly porous.

It’s generally okay to put river rock over mulch because it locks in water, allowing it to seep down beneath the soil to reach plant roots. While this is good for plants that need consistent moisture to survive, it can prove dangerous for vegetation whose roots suffer from waterlogging.

If you do choose to put river rock over mulch, be sure to test how well the drainage works in your garden. You can do this by placing a few rocks over a small area of mulch, watering that space, and timing how long it takes for the area to dry out.

If it dries within a day or two, then it should be safe to use river rocks over mulch in your landscaping.

How to Put River Rock Over Mulch

To lay river rock over mulch, you’ll need to use some elbow grease. The rocks are heavy, so make sure there is room in your car or truck to accommodate them before heading out for a purchase.

Follow these steps to lay river rock over mulch:

  1. Prepare the mulch
  2. Test the drainage
  3. Lay landscaping fabric first
  4. Pour the rocks
  5. Rake the layer of rocks to make them level

Step One: Prepare the Mulch

Most gardeners recommend removing a small amount of mulch from around flower beds before putting any new material down. This is so the mulch won’t suffocate the plants.

At this point, you’ll want to clean up any debris and make sure the surface is even.

Step Two: Test the Drainage

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to test the drainage before you put river rocks over mulch.

To do this, place a few rocks over a small patch of mulch, water it, and time how long it takes for the area to dry out.

If it dries within a day or two, then it should be safe to move forward.

Step Three: Lay Landscaping Fabric First

While it’s not necessary to lay landscaping fabric before putting down river rocks, it’s a good idea.

The fabric will help keep the mulch in place and prevent the rocks from sinking into the soil over time.

Step Four: Pour the Rocks

If you’re happy with the results of the drainage test, it’s time to pour in your river rocks. They can be quite heavy, so you may need a wheelbarrow or shovel during this step.

Make sure to spread them out evenly. Scatter them with your hands around plant stems to avoid crushing your flowers.

Step Five: Rake the Layer of Rocks to Make Them Level

It’s important to have a level surface when you’re done.

Rake the rocks until they’re even, and then enjoy your new river rock landscaping!

The Best Type of River Rock to Lay Over Mulch

River rock is the perfect material to lay over mulch because there are no issues with drainage. Additionally, it provides a sturdy surface for walkways and other paths.

However, there are a few different types of river rock to choose from, but which is the best? It really depends on what you’re looking for.

White or pink feldspar are dense and have a smooth surface. They will keep the rocks in place and prevent them from ending up in your yard over time. Additionally, it’s important to choose a color that will compliment your landscape. Clear quartz is a great neutral color that will work in a variety of settings.

Limestone pebbles provide a more porous option. This means your plants will have no problem getting a drink of water when it rains.

You could also opt for a multi-colored mix, which will give your garden a more vibrant look!

Disadvantages to Putting River Rock Over Mulch

While river rock serves many purposes, it’s not always the perfect choice for every situation.

Disadvantages to putting river rock over mulch include:

  • It can be expensive.
  • The rock is difficult to move.
  • Rocks can relocate due to weather conditions and suffocate plants.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of using river rock over the top of mulch before making a decision. If you have any further concerns, it’s best to consult with a landscape professional.

Related Questions

Can you put river rock in an aquarium?

It’s not recommended to put river rock in an aquarium because it might contain harsh chemicals from the outdoor elements.

These unknown substances aren’t suitable for an aquarium and can kill your fish. It’s better to purchase aquatic-specific rocks instead.

Can you put river rocks in a gas fireplace?

River rocks are also not ideal for use in a gas fireplace because they can explode from excessively high temperatures.

Are river rocks good for succulents?

You can use river rocks with succulents but only lay a small layer. The idea is to preserve proper amounts of ventilation and drainage.

In Conclusion

It’s important to consider the pros and cons of putting river rock over mulch before making a decision.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive material that will provide a level surface around plants without obstructing proper draining, then river rock might just be your answer.

Always consult a landscaping professional in order to make sure you have all of your bases covered when it comes time to install this type of landscaping design!

Related Guide

Emily Carr

Emily is a copywriter with over five years of experience in crafting content for the home renovation and remodeling industry. She loves house projects, whether it be painting a room or tweaking small design elements to transform a space. Her favorite aesthetic is french modern because of its clean lines and airy feeling! When not writing, Emily loves to travel and check out architectural details all over the world.

Recently Published