You have decided to once and for all tackle that landscaping project - get rid of the unsightly mulch and install something pretty and permanent. You have done your homework, researched various ground covering options, and you have made your decision. Mexican beach pebbles it is!
Only one question remains - should I choose polished pebbles, or should I stick to natural Mexican pebbles?
Polished Mexican Beach Pebbles: Tumble Process
Landscape pebbles can be polished in various ways. Two main polishing processes are tumble polishing and coating. Tumble polishing produces the "truly polished" landscaping pebbles. During this process, we put pebbles in giant tumblers and let them tumble for a very, very long time. The result is a subtle shine that lasts.
The major downside of tumble-polished beach pebbles is the price: this is a very expensive (and time-consuming process). As a result, tumble polished pebbles are normally used only for interior decorations, as accents around indoor plants, in mosaics, and other smaller projects.
In addition, while the tumble polish lasts, it does not last forever. It is necessary to add polishing compunds in the tumbler, and the resulting shine will slowly fade as the compounds fade. This process will happen faster outdoors, particularly if you install your river rock in a hot, sunny spot.
"Fake" Polished Pebbles - Coated River Rock
A lot less expensive way to produce pebbles that look polished is to simply coat them with wax or sealer. The (almost instant) result is pebble stone that looks extremely shiny and dark. Coated pebbles are also comparatively inexpensive.
Because the large-scale commercial coating process is quite harmful to the environment, coated pebbles are typically produced outside of the United States. Various Asian countries with lax or non-existent environmental regulations are usually the source of "exotic polished pebbles."
The major downside of fake polished pebbles is that their shine and color will not last: it will fade, crack, and peel off quickly. Super quickly if you place your pebbles outdoors in a sunny, warm location.
Coated (sealed) beach pebbles also are not safe for pets and you should not use them in any water features with fish and other marine life. Companies behind sealed pebbles typically do not disclose what chemicals are used for their processes.
Which Landscaping Pebbles Should I Get?
If you are planning to install your river pebbles outdoors, natural Mexican beach pebbles are almost always the best. They will never change their color, peel or crack, you can safely walk on them, and they will perform great even in the hottest climates.
Natural (non-polished) beach pebbles are also your choice for any water features: pools, aquariums, koi ponds, and waterfalls. An added bonus when using beach pebbles in water is that they will naturally look a lot darker and shinier.
Polished Mexican beach pebbles is your solution if you want an elegant, subtly shiny accent inside your home or office. Polished pebbles also show their colors better, so if a particular color is of great importance, you might want to get your Mexican beach pebbles polished. As always, contact us for more information and advice.