Well, I got scared and decided to forego the rubber mulch. We put down pine nuggets instead. They look pretty cool, are about the color and texture I was shooting for, but a bit here and there still sticks to Doggy Mo Heat's paws. This may improve with time and settling of the little pieces below the big ones. I saved quite a bit of money over the projected rubber mulch price. Hopefully it will keep the weeds down well enough. If I ever get a digital camera, or barrow the b-n-l's again, I'll post a pic. Thanks for the feedback. Now it's on to the stone planters (currently tie-wall planters). We've selected the stone style (from Home Despot) and have bought about 12 blocks just to get a feel for how they look. So far we like them. Due to the extreme variation in color of these blocks, I may skip some of the drainage infrastructure. I don't think there is much danger of water stains making them look bad and its a somewhat rain sheltered area (under the eve, atop a hill, and next to the foundation) with a healthy grade away from the foundation. The current planters don't have any special drainage accommodation and they are fine so I don't think it is absolutely needed since it's worked fine for 18 years as is. Anybody know something I don't?