One of the most common trends in landscape design, especially in the Southwest, is not to use organic mulches in garden beds. The most common mulching material in the Southwest is stone, and this popularity is growing nationally. Stones come in many colors and provide a more permanent option beyond regular shredded hardwood mulches. Stones do not require re-coverage every year because of breakdown and decomposition, so they last longer and save the homeowner money over time.
Prepare the bed. First, remove any weeds or undesirable plants from the bed. Heavy weeds and plants can be removed with the flat shovel. Round-up, or another non-selective herbicide, kills weeds and grass in the area of the bed.
Lay the weed control fabric. Weed control fabric allows water through while controlling the growth of weeds below the fabric. Use the razor knife to cut the fabric around plants staying in the bed. Cover the entire bed with the fabric. Overlap the edges of the fabric 2 inches to ensure full weed control.
Spike the fabric. Use the fabric spikes and hammer to spike the fabric to the ground. The spikes will ensure the fabric does not shift during the stone-spreading process. Spikes should be used in every corner, on the end of each overlap and every 18 inches along the edges. They are not necessary in the middle of the fabric, but can be used if desired.
Cover the fabric with the desired depth of stone. Use the hard rake to spread the stones out evenly over the weed control fabric. Use caution with the rake around plants left in the bed.