We are getting ready to landscape our backyard, and I would like the stone between the plants to be the 1" river rock pebbles. I was told by a landscape designer that these rocks get too hot and will burn the plants. Is this true?
How your plants do with the pebbles depends a lot of the plants. Desert adapted varieties do fine with the gravel covering, but nondesert plants often have trouble with the gravel because it transmits heat to the soil level and root zone. I learned this the hard way with landscape gravel - those in the gravel died and those having a traditional bed with good mulch thrived. What are you growing??
When I purchased my home, the yards, front and back, had regular landscape rock in all the areas around the two lawns. It was hot, but for the few spits of plants that were there, it seemed to be ok. All was desert landscaping. As I converted to rose gardening, I was still ok with the rock except that every time I wanted to dig in a new plant, I had to rake away the rock and then sift the dirt thoroughly to remove all the rock. It sort of works its way in there. It was awful and I paid a pretty penny to have it all removed. Every last rock they could get up. Of course, I still have to sift a lot of the dirt where the rock is embedded, but its not nearly as bad as it was.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is if you think your landscaping will be pretty fixed in nature, the rock will be ok, but if you are the type to get out there and dig and garden, you may not like it as much as you think you will.
Thanks! We are going with all native plants, or plants that do well in this area. I will be discussing our stone choices with the guys at the nursery, hopefully they will know which plants will do well with the river rock.
Thank you for all the help!