A Landscaping Rocks Guide

When creating a new landscape, or sprucing up an old one, we usually think of the grass, soil, and other organics that usually define a landscape. But we also shouldn’t ignore the use of stone and other hardscape materials to increase the beauty of our landscape! One of the best materials to use for this purpose is the landscape rock. Landscaping rocks come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and they can be used for a host of projects and design ideas. This article will give you a brief run-down of many of the landscaping rocks and stones that are out there.

Landscaping with rocks is more of an art than a science; there are pretty much an infinite number of ideas that you could fruitfully apply to your own home project! Hopefully it helps to stimulate your creativity and your own ideas!

Types of Landscaping Rocks

There are as many types of landscaping rocks as there are rocks and stone in the world. Thus, we’ll give you a quick rundown of some of the more popular stones out there so that you can get a general idea before you start your research. One great advantage of these stones is that they are nearly maintenance free. At most, you may have to remove weeds from the stone beds or rake the stones to keep them in order.

One popular kind of stone is river rock. They are smooth and round stones, and they are generally used to fill in areas where grass might normally be; they can also be used to surround beds and create borders between patios and fences. Really, this is the default stone you’d use if you’d want to lay down and kind of rock in your landscape, so if you just wnat something basic, start here. This stone is also great for drainage of water, so you can use it around pools, hot tubs, and in any area where you need water to drain quickly and with little hassle.

If you’re looking for larger, single pieces, consider boulders or decorative rock. You can either get real, natural stone, or fake, artificial stone. The latter is lighter, cheaper, and easier to work with, but may look ‘unnatural’ even in the best of conditions. However, this stone may be just right for your project and budget, so don’t discount it. These can be used as a decorative centerpiece to help break up an area, or they can serve a more functional purpose by covering up and blocking certain unsightly areas of your landscape.

If you want a kind of stone that is larger than river rock but still easier to work with, consider volcanic rock. This ‘lava rock’ is made from the expulsions of volcanos. It is porous and very light, and can thus be shaped into whatever forms you need. It is also a very cheap kind of stone, so many newbie landscape-homeowners may want to start out using this material at first to get their feet wet.

Don’t forget, as well, that you can use concrete pavers – in the form of landscape pavers and garden pavers – to add walkways, driveways, patios, stepping stones, borders, and other hardscape installations to your landscape to complement your landscaping rock choices.

While size and shape is important, don’t forget to consider color, as well. You’ll want to pick a stone that goes best (complements) your home’s color theme already, as well as the colors in your landscape and garden. The entire spectrum is covered by different stones, so you won’t be short on options.

Where Can Landscaping Stones Be Used?

The obvious places are quite clear to most homeowners – flowerbeds, gardens, and other borders cry out for these rocks. However, don’t forget the pool, hot tub, walkway, patio, driveway, and other aspects of your hardscape that can be brought in harmony with your new landscape. This site has tons of ideas in this area, so feel free to browse!

Ways to Use Decorative Landscaping Rocks

Obviously, how and where you can use this material is only limited by your imagination and budget. Here are just a few ways you can use this material to increase the beauty and function of your landscape:

One thing to do is to use these rocks for a border around your flowerbed, garden, or other landscape areas. They can separate these landscape installations from your lawn, patio, walkway, and so on.

Another use for small stones and gravel is as a place to walk. It’s a great way to lay down a ‘hardscape’ without having to get involved in installation of concrete pavers or other materials. You can either have large stepping stones in the center of your rock path, or just settle for the small rocks by themselves. Realize, however, that this will require some maintenance, as the stones will often get kicked up and spread out of their original location (into your lawn, flowerbed, etc.).

Don’t forget using large stones or boulders as well. You can lay down a single large boulder in a central area of your landscape, or you can use more than one to create a mound or other attractive installatio. This is where your artistry and creativity can come through; a boulder installation can be a great eye-catcher and would be the centerpiece of your lawn.

You can also just skip soil altogether and use the stones for the base of your flowerbeds and garden. You’ll obviously need good topsoil underneath to provide a nice foundation for your plants, flowers, and shrubs, but you can then lay small stones or gravel on top of the bed to highlight colors or simply give the installation a unique look. This may also be a great idea if you are having problems with water drainage or mud in that particular area.

If you really want to go all out, you can also jsut use rocks throughout your entire yard. Instead of having a lawn, use rocks; instead of a driveway, use rocks; instead of a flowerbed with top soil, use rocks. In some areas this looks very nice, particulary where the land is very dry, but it can also be a pain to maintain at times. It will require regular maintenance to keep it looking clean and in order.

The Cost of Landscaping Rocks

The prices of landscaping rocks depend on a large number of factors. The primary factor is the kind of rock you’ll get, of course.

If you buy smaller stones, like river rock, you’ll pay per ‘yard,’ or by the square foot, depending on the stone you select. For instance, river rock can go from $20 to $30 per ton or higher, though the size of the rock matters here. Don’t forget transportation and delivery costs, too! Exact costs will depend on the kind and color of your rock as well, in addition to the costs associated with your location.

If you go for larger stones, like boulders, the price will depend on the size and kind of stone you select. Artificial or decorative boulders can go from $30 to $100 and up per boulder.

In addition, any special features of your stones, such as if they are artificially colored, may inflate the costs.

Tips on Finding Landscaping Rocks for Sale

Your first bet is to go to a landscape supply yard, mason supply yard, or home improvement store, and price out the options available. Obviously, some places will be less expensive than others, so to find cheap stone, you’re going to have to do a bit of shopping. Luckily, most of these projects can be done ‘DIY,’ so you won’t have to pay a contractor to come in and do the work. However, large scale projects may require the services of a landscaper, and he or she will often include the costs of the material in the total price, so be sure to check the estimate before committing to any bid.

If you want a deal, consider getting ‘used’ material. It’s even possible to get free stones by checking sites like Craigslist, where fellow homeowners may be getting rid of material that they no longer need due to the demolition of an old project around their home.

Don’t rule out scrounging around yourself, either! Stones are natural objects, so you may find them by simply walking around in local parks, forests, and other natural locations. Of course, this options works best with larger stones and boulders, but you should always keep your eyes peeled for exciting and interesting pieces that you can add to your home! This is the best way to bring a little bit of nature back to your landscape.