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Mulch, Gravel, Decomposed Granite, or Artificial Grass - Know Your Options

Know when to opt for mulch, gravel, decomposed granite, or artificial grass. Each option has its benefits and weaknesses, so it’s important to understand what your needs are so you can better understand your different options.

Artificial Grass Recycling Petition


The biggest benefit of opting for mulch is that it’s the most affordable option. That being said, can be blown away and moved around easily. Mulch is also very easy to apply. However, it requires replacement every one to two years due to discoloration. If you use mulch in your space, consider a weed barrier installation as well. It’s important that the weed barrier is properly attached or it will be ruined within a few months. 

Mulch Natural Lawn Replacement Ideas


Gravel essentially lasts forever if installed properly. The cost of gravel lies mostly in delivery and application as it requires heavy labor and equipment. There are gravel options that are fairly cheap. Like mulch, gravel may require a replacement if the weed barrier is poorly installed. It can also be difficult to clean leaves and debris off gravel when using a leaf blower or other lawn equipment.

Gravel as Natural Grass Lawn Alternative

Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite is an affordable and functional option that will create a useful space. It is easy to apply and is a natural material. It is very low maintenance and aesthetically versatile. When going this route, make sure that there is something that separates the area of decomposed granite from your house because it’s known to affect flooring. The cons to decomposed granite are that it washes away from weather elements over time. It’s also often abrasive and sticks to the soles of your shoes.

Decomposed Granite Lawn as Ground Cover

Artificial Grass

Feels like heaven under your feet. It’s the most beautiful and practical material. It costs more when installed properly, yet it is the only material that creates a multifunctional space while providing the comfort of a real lawn. Artificial grass is also long-lasting and comfortable. However, make sure when opting for artificial grass you are aware of the significant investment it takes, and that you use trusted contractors to maintain a quality installation. Use our cost calculator to find the cost of your artificial grass project in just a few minutes below! 

Artificial grass as natural grass alternative

Common Questions

What Ground Cover is Best to Replace a Natural Lawn for Dogs?

  • Use artificial grass with a shade. Artificial turf is the best solution for small yards and most homes.
  • Use smooth gravel for relief areas. Train your dog to greatly reduce the cleaning and sanitizing required.
  • Use decomposed granite in large, open sunny areas. It is cooler than artificial turf
  • Use mulch for the areas with difficult access, on hillsides, between planters, and in narrow spaces.

What Ground Cover Has the Lowest Temperature Under Direct Sunlight?

  • Mulch has the lowest density and will have the lowest surface temperature on a hot day.

What Ground Cover Material is Best for Walking On?

  • Decomposed granite is best for busy walkways.
  • Artificial grass is best for venues and backyards.
  • Gravel is difficult to walk on. But it can be good for car parks.
  • Walk-on mulch can be used to cover walking paths. Keep in mind that mulch moves around a bunch.


artificial grass cost calculator