convert mulched beds to stone

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by banjogum, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. banjogum

    banjogum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Hi - I have a customer who has traditional mulched beds (MANY - like 8 large ones - with shrubs, perennials in them) in his yard. He wants me to remove the mulch and change over to stone (river rock or something like it). I'm in the process of bidding this job and wondered if anyone had any useful suggestions? Should I remove all the mulch or just lay fabric and add the stone? Any advice on bidding this properly would be appreciated too.
  2. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 826

    You'll want to let him know that he's going to have to water the shrubs a lot more often. That river rock doesn't hold moisture as well as normal Organic material mulch does and the soil will dry out much faster.
  3. banjogum

    banjogum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Yeah, I am definitely not a fan at all of the stone either. He seems to think (like many people do) that stone is "cheaper" and less labor intensive in the long run - go figure. I'm still going to try to get him to stick with the mulch but he wants this quote ...
  4. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,160

    Big mistake, I hate when they do that. :nono:
    Best of luck.
  5. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Work smarter not harder. If you can do the job without removing the mulch, then power to you.
  6. banjogum

    banjogum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    That's what I was really hoping to do! Do you think I should lay fabric over the mulch before adding the stone?
  7. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Yes, lay the fabric and overlap it. As the mulch decomposes nitrogen fixing weeds like clover and buttercups can grow.
  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I love me some river rock and DG beds provided there is a nice drip system and the right kind of plants in the bed. .
  9. underESTIMATED

    underESTIMATED LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    I actually just did a job like this, but at an assisted living facility.

    The area is 30x80ish - 12 yards is about the average laid done every year.

    The area itself is a PITA for weeding, it's all open...3 bushes, but is built on a swamp, so shitton of weeds.

    We just put down commercial grade greenhouse fabric (I would use a pond liner the next time) and went overtop the existing mulch (not my decision) and used #1's and #2's on it.

    We brought in 6 wine barrells, filled with $250-$300 of annuals and done!

    Used about 33 tons of rock. Took 3 men, 1 machine, and 2 tandems 8 hours to complete.

    Definitely a job that pays nicely, if they want to pay for it...who cares? Make it worth your wild!
  10. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Remove all the mulch. Whatever price you use to install the mulch charge that price for the removal plus a hauling fee per load.

    Next survey the root system of the plants involved.
    You will not get stone to lay down and smooth out like mulch.
    Areas that have large roots exposed you will need to build the grade gradually to cover them.This could cause you to use more stone than you calculated.

    The stone bed should drop a few inches in grade through out the beds.
    Remove excess soil to achieve this as needed. You will need to have a good edge to hold the stone in the bed.

    Next apply the fabric of choice,be careful not to strangle the plants with it.
    Too much next to plants can repel the water and cause the plants to dry out. I use the U Staples ( the kind you find in the electrical aisle) to hold the fabric tight to the ground,I just pound them in with a hammer.
    The apply the stone evenly throughout.

    This job can be labor intensive, I personally do not like it but if that's what pays the bills.

    Good Luck :)

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