Landscaping - rock vs. wood chips?


I removed some old, dirty river rock from the landscaping trenches around my house, and would like to replace it with something else. There are some bushes every few feet. I'm undecided between some type of wood chips, or an some type of rock. My house color is tan.
My main concern is that rock gets so dirty and unsightly over time. I figure with woodchips, I can add new chips in the spring to renew the look.
Any advice on what to consider? What is easy to clean out (twigs, leaves, etc)? What is the least maintenance? Other alternatives?
Thanks!
Kurt
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Least maintenance? Concrete with holes for the bushes to grow through. Asphalt if you prefer black.
steve

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You are on the right track.
Stone looks nice as long as you keep it cleaned. You'll have to regularly remove leaves, then every few years remove the rock to replace the landscape fabric underneath. You do have the landscape fabric, don't you?
Use mulch instead of woodchips. The chips tend to wash away. Heck, even a strong wind will scatter them. I like the finely chopped mulch, myself. It looks nice and breaks down more evenly.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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On Wed, 23 Jul 2008 03:36:17 +0000 (UTC), "SteveB"

If you want to go one better with the mulch idea, use cypress. It's very fibrous and stringy, so it becomes a woven mat that really keeps out weeds, is bug resistant, and lasts a long time. It's a little more expensive than cedar or other chips, but covers better and lasts longer. It also stays where you put it.
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on 7/22/2008 11:29 PM snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com said the following:

There's a third alternative. The processed rubber chips that are made from old tires. About twice the price of the wood mulch, but less likely to blow away or wash away like the wood chips. They stay cleaner than stones. If you don't have a lot of area to cover, it is sold in bags in the garden section of the big box stores, or some other garden centers.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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On Tue 22 Jul 2008 08:57:47p, willshak told us...

Lots of good ideas, but I still don't get the problem with riverbed rock. Although we also used cedar mulch in some of our landscaping, we used riverbed rock extensively in other beds. We used landscape fabric under the rock. Once or twice a season we would spray the rock with an algaecide and used a low pressure power washer to rinse the next day. It always looked like new. We bordered all of our beds (rock or mulch) with various sized small boulders 4-8", which made a nice edging. Careful periodic spraying the boulder edging with a general herbicide kept weeds and grass from growing up through the border.
Having said all that...yes, there was some maintenance, but it was a great look and there were other options that had more upkeep.
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Wayne Boatwright
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You have to post a photo or we are all guessing
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On Tue 22 Jul 2008 09:28:43p, ransley told us...

likel
than
in
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Well, actually, I can't. That was two houses ago back in Ohio. We now live in Arizona and have desert/xeroscaping. I wish I could, really, because it was a beautiful yard.
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Wayne Boatwright
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

I don't think anyone will argue with you that river rock looks nice. The OP just asked for up- and down-sides of stone and mulch. The downside of stone is it requires maintenance. That's OK as long as you don't mind the work. Lots of my clients insist they don't have time to do yard work, and they're looking for zero-maintenance yards that also look full and lush. I have to diplomatically explain that they're suffering from recto-cranial inversion.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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On Tue 22 Jul 2008 09:28:59p, SteveB told us...

Yep, never have seen a decent yard yet that was maintenance free unless it was totally paved over.
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Wayne Boatwright
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On 07/23/08 12:50 am Wayne Boatwright wrote:

About 40 years ago I saw small residential properties in Adelaide, South Australia with no grass: just concrete painted green! "If it grows, cut it down; if it moves, shoot it."
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

There was this family on my street who put in gray rock in their front yard a number of years ago after unsuccessfully trying to grow grass. (This family had a few members with a few screws loose). A few months later, I guess they thought it was too barren-looking and needed a little bit of green, because they dug a hole and planted an ARTIFICIAL Christmas tree into the rock.
It lasted a few months before they took it down, but we never ceased to laugh every time we saw it, and I still laugh when I think about it today.
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Great responses everyone (I am the OP)!
I am not averse to doing some work to keeping things up, but I got really frustrated with dirty rock in the past. Wayne's idea with herbicide spraying is intriguing. I've also been frustrated with wood chips for the same reason (and they blow around). And yes, I do use fabric underneath. In fact, I got some high-quality fabric to put down under my new stuff from a local landscape supplier.
Thanks for the great ideas.
Kurt
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On Tue, 22 Jul 2008 20:29:52 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

For a trench, rock will drain better than chips. Wood chips are better than rock for plants because the wood adds humus as it decomposes. Around my parts, rocks will become home for copperheads. With either material you will still need to remove twigs, leaves, litter and other debris. Another alternative is to get the perforated corrugated tubing and lay that in the trench, cover with landscaping fabric and top with rock.
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Last year we landscaped with wood chips. Found out neighbors dogs and cats using it as a public bathroom. There are bare spots here and here as the cats and dogs like to move the chips around before they do their business. Also the chips tend to blow away, but not all that much. We have rocks too with less of this kind of problems. Regardless of rocks or chips, it needed to be redone about every five years to maintain good looks. Rocks are heavy to move around if over a few yards but you could clean it and reuse it while the chips become trash, even the more expensive colored ones, after a few years in the hot sun. Having moved and clean a few yards of rocks, its clear to me, unless you have a lot of time, its easier just to dump the old rocks and get a fresh batch.
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On Jul 22, 10:29pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Much feeds the dirt which is good. Rock can be powerwashed every few years to keep it looking good
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on 7/23/2008 12:05 PM ransley said the following:

Yeah, I tried that once on a section of small round stone ground cover around my inground pool. I'll try it again after I cement all the stone down so it doesn't go flying all over the place. Even a garden hose set at Full will make them fly.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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-snip-
That's why I use about 3/4 power.<g> A rake, and a bit of grade helps, too.
I've got wood in places where I put plants as it holds moisture better and adds nutrients. I've got rock in places that are more permanent.
Jim
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