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When it comes to landscaping your Florida lawn, the mulch that you use can have just as much of an impact on the aesthetic appearance of your home as the plants and trees you choose for decorating. Furthermore, when it comes to adding mulch to your yard, you have numerous options – cypress, pine, melaleuca, or eucalyptus, for example. These types of mulch are what is considered organic mulch, and grass clippings, straw, hay, bark, wood chips, saw dust, and animal manure can also be included in this category, which is also sometimes referred to as compost.

In addition to natural and traditional methods of mulching, there is also available what is instead considered inorganic mulch. Inorganic mulch generally refers to manmade materials, such as rubber or plastic mulch, but can also include various types of rock or gravel. One such form of inorganic mulch that is widely available commercially and incredibly popular in landscaping is lava rock, which is produced as the result of volcanic activity and is available in either red or black lava rock forms.

Before you decide whether or not lava rock is the right mulching choice for your home, consider the following pros and cons:


  • Lava rock, along with other inorganic mulches, lasts much longer than organic mulches.
  • Red lava rock in particular can instantly add color and texture to an otherwise bland lawn or garden.
  • The material is lightweight and easy to work with, making it easy to transport and spread – perfect for those who love a good DIY project.
  • Lava rock is especially great in hot climates like South Florida as the material absorbs heat during the daytime and releases it at night, preventing water from evaporating out of the soil too quickly.
  • Serves as an effective weed suppressant when used alongside a weed barrier.


  • Because of the permanence of using lava rock as mulch, it can be difficult and costly to remove if you ever decide to change it.
  • Installing red lava rock can potentially hurt your home’s curb appeal for future selling, as the mulch’s bold coloring is not appealing to all tastes.
  • Because lava rock is lightweight, it can wash or blow away in extreme weather – fragments can then damage lawn mower blades and even stain other surfaces, such as your driveway or sidewalks, if enough pressure is applied.
  • The edges of lava rock can be sharp and must be handled carefully.
  • Lava rock does not always provide a hospitable environment for plants, especially those that are still growing, as it can inhibit watering.

When choosing whether or not to use lava rock in your lawn or garden, it’s truly a matter of personal preference, as there are both advantages and disadvantages to its use. But while lava rock works well in a variety of environments, it is particularly effective in warm sunny climates, like the one you find in much of Florida. If you have any questions about lava rock or other forms of mulch, feel free to call the Miami Lawn & Garden Center located within Shell Lumber & Hardware at (305) 856-6401, and our experienced staff members will be happy to assist you and steer you in the right direction.


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