Saves money - because you do not have to replace it yearly
Save time and labor yearly
Protect the environment - no need to use chemical grass and weed sprays
Retains moisture in the ground
Keeping the brick chips contained
The Benefits of Landscaping With Brick Chips
Using brick chips as landscaping mulch will not only save you time and money, it will also add interest to your landscape beds.
I enjoy lawn work, and I enjoy gardening. What I don't enjoy is pulling grass and weeds. I have tried many ways to stop the growth of grass and weeds in my landscape beds. What I have not used, and what I will not broken appliance use, are chemical sprays. When our home was built, the landscaping contractor placed hardwood mulch in all of the beds in the yard, including the foundation beds.
Once the hardwood mulch started to deteriorate, my husband didn't want to replace it with more wood mulch. There were several reasons for his decision. His first reason was that he felt that wood mulch seemed to attract more insects and bugs. Secondly, if the hardwood mulch contained any pine, it would be an invitation for termites. Thirdly, a couple of years ago, we read an article stating that some hardwood mulch was made by mulching old shipping pallets. The article went on to say that these pallets could have had many different items shipped on them, including any or all types of chemicals. After reading about the chemicals, we decided we did not want hardwood mulch in our landscaping beds any more.
Our last custom built house was a contemporary rancher. We used white rocks all around the house, and in a large area landscaped with multi size rocks. Not the usual style house built in Virginia, but we liked it. We called it our middle life crisis house. Anyway, I digress; we found that by having the rock all around the house, it helped to protect the foundation, kept away grass and weeds, and we liked the look.
Our current house, however, is not a contemporary house, so we needed something else. After looking around, we found two possible items to use for mulch. One product was lava rock, and the other product for consideration was red brick chips. We decided on the red brick chips, and we are very pleased with the results.
The areas we decided to use the brick chips in are the beds that surround the house, where we have foundation shrubs planted. Brick chips are not practical for areas where you want to dig, and plant your annual flowers. They are hard to move, and they should be considered as permanent mulch. While they can be moved, it would be quite a job.
Plan Before Installing Brick Chips as Mulch
The only con I listed about brick chips is containing them. Since I didn't want them in the grass, then I needed to devise a method to contain them. My solution was an easy fix for me. On the sides and the back of the house, I simply installed bricks that blended in with the brick chips and our foundation bricks. I dug a shallow trench in which to set the narrow side of the bricks in, and I laid the bricks end-to-end long ways. Setting the bricks this way, made a nice border to keep the brick chips contained. Also, this solid row of bricks makes trimming the grass with the string trimmer easy.
On the front of my house, a sidewalk runs in front of one of the shrub beds. Installing the brick chips there was easy, since the sidewalk acted as the barrier for holding in the brick chips. Sometimes, after a hard rain, a few of the pieces will wash out onto the sidewalk, but they can easily be pushed back. The other side, on the front of the house, presented more of a challenge. This shrub bed is much larger, it is rounded on two sides, and these sides have no barrier to keep the brick chips in place. One side of this shrub bed backs up to the house foundation. And the other side of this shrub bed borders the front stoop, the front steps, and a large concrete pad, which adjoins the sidewalk. Around the grass side of the shrub bed, I have liriope planted. So, just behind the liriope, I installed some of the plastic edging to keep the brick chips contained.
Find a Supply of Brick Chips
When I first started this project, the brick chips were being sold in bags by one of the home improvement stores in my area. This was easy; I could easily borrow my son-in-law's truck, and I could haul what I needed, when I needed it. Just as I was ready to complete the project, the home improvement store stopped selling the bagged brick chips. I called around, and I found that landscapers in the area, who sold wood mulch, also carried the brick chips. But in order to purchase the brick chips from them, I would have to buy them by the ton, and they would have to be delivered. That meant an increase in cost for the brick chips. Plus, I would have to move them from the pile, to the bed, using a wheelbarrow. And if I shoveled the brick chips from the wheelbarrow, that would entail more backbreaking labor. My daughter is one of those people who can find just about anything, so she took over the job, and she found that a local Southern States store carried them in bags. So, I was all set to complete this job.
Before installing brick chips as mulch, be sure to pull or dig up all grass and weeds in the area you are going to mulch.
Next, lay down newspapers, to prevent weeds or grass from growing. Use newspapers about five to six layers thick to cover the area where you will be putting down the brick chips, and be sure to overlap the edges. Another alternative to using the newspaper is kraft paper or cardboard. Be careful when cutting out the paper around the base of the plants, so as not to damage the shrub(s). While laying out the paper, use some bricks to keep it in place, since any small breeze can move it.
To place over the paper layer, purchase a high quality black landscape cloth, one that is guaranteed for the longest number of years. Be sure to overlap the fabric so there is no way for light to get through to encourage a weed seedling. As you lay out the landscaping cloth, move the bricks off the paper, and use them to anchor the landscape fabric, being careful not to tear the fabric. You can also landscaping plans purchase Landscape Anchor Pins (they look like large staples) to hold down the paper and fabric during installation. I prefer using the bricks since they can be used for many different jobs.
How to Install Brick Chips
Finally, add the brick chips. I use two to three inches of brick chips. Once you have covered the area with brick chips you are through. And I mean you are through! Every spring you can sit back, watch your neighbors haul wood mulch, and spread it. You will occasionally have to pull a small sprig of something that is trying to grow on top of the landscape fabric, but this is easy and not too frequent.
I am pleased with my brick chips landscaping beds. I like the way they look. In my opinion, landscaping brick chips are a win-win fix to an age-old problem - getting rid of grass and weeds from landscaping beds.
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Every gardener and handyman best exterior paint or handywoman needs at least one of these multipurpose stools. I liked these carts so much that I have one outside for gardening, and I have another that I use inside the house. Oh, they make great gifts, too!