People have been using rocks to decorate since the beginning of time. The cavemen carved pictures into them, ancient Europeans made monuments out of them (Stonehenge), and today, we use landscaping rocks to make our yards look nice.
If you are wanting to add a unique touch to your outdoor space, stones can be a great addition to your landscape makeover. Landscaping rocks can be used for a variety of purposes such as decorating a fountain or creating a path. The possibilities are endless!
Although I love embellishing my yard with different flowers, shrubs, trees, and vegetation, it can get expensive. I find that rocks are very versatile and provide texture and contrast to a yard without future maintenance or repeated expense.
There are many types of rocks that are available, this means that your design options are infinite. To me, infinite = super overwhelming. To help you out, we will present you with some of the trendiest ways to include rocks and stones to your landscaping ideas.
- Choosing the Right Landscaping Rocks
- Types of Landscaping Rocks
- Landscapes With Rock Ideas
- 1. Backyard Landscaping Rock Path
- 2. Contrasting Landscaping Rocks
- 3. Water Garden with Landscaping Rocks Ideas
- 4. Leveled Garden Beds
- 5. Landscaping Rock Waterfall Garden Design
- 6. Budget-Friendly Landscape
- 7. Eclectic Landscape
- 8. River Landscaping Rock Design Ideas
- 9. Beautiful Landscape
- 10. Inspiring Asian Garden Design
- 11. Traditional Landscape
- 12. Patio Landscaping Rock Ideas
- 13. Tropical Garden Design
- Best Landscaping Rocks For Sale
- 1. Mighty 109 Decomposed Granite
- 2. Mighty 109 Grey Pea Gravel
- 3. Rainforest River Rocks
- 4. Rainforest Mexican Beach Pebbles
- 5. Flagstone Stepping Stone
- 6. Mighty 109 San Marcos Beach Cobble
- 7. Southwest Boulder & Stone Decorative Rock
- 8. Easythru Trading River Rocks
- 9. Emsco Landscape Rock
- 10. Exotic Pebbles Polished Gravel
- Landscaping Rock Ideas Commonly Asked Questions
- Rock-Bottom Line
Choosing the Right Landscaping Rocks
It is very important to choose the perfect landscaping rocks for your yard since it will set the tone for the rest of the outdoor space. Before you run out and spend your money on stones, ask yourself this question: What do I want my space to feel like? This will help you when deciding on which specific type of rock you want to rock in your garden.
Do you want to add warmth to your area? Use river rocks or beach pebbles. To brighten up the shady portion of your yard try using white marbles. Terracotta stones work well on a tropical landscape, but may not blend well with a formal garden. Black lava rocks can complement a modern landscape. As you noticed, there are a plethora of options available to you, below the most common types of landscaping rocks that are used in most gardens.
Types of Landscaping Rocks
Landscaping can be so relaxing, a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work. However, if you’re considering adding rocks into the mix, you may want to take a minute to check out the types of landscaping rocks there are so you can start planning! Let’s take a look at the many different options you have.
Decomposed Granite was given this name due to the fact that it is granite that has been worn down so much that it only consists of very small and fine pieces. It’s ideal for being used as pavement and comes in many different colors! It’s on the cheap side as well so and affordable starting point for your new rock garden.
It’s all in the name when it comes to crushed granite. These small earthy-toned rocks are good in your yard since they’re loose and you won’t have to worry about them creating puddles. Crushed granite looks so natural that people like to use it along the edges of their pathways to create a nice blend between that and the other plants and things like that. Crushed granite is a little more pricey than some of the options here but it can last a while depending on the weather in your area and how you maintain it.
You guessed it, pea gravel is pea-sized pebbles that have been smoothed and worn over time by water constantly rushing over them. They’re found near streams and bodies of water and they come in many earthy tones.
Pea gravel is the tiny gravel you see in dog parks, playgrounds, some pathways, and is sometimes used underground. Pea gravel is pretty inexpensive and also comes in a few different colors.
River rocks are small rocks that have been smoothed down and had all their sharp edges worn away by water running over them constantly. As suspected these rocks are great for any water features you have on your landscape.
Less commonly river rocks have been known to be used instead of mulch but they are quite a bit more expensive to purchase initially. Unlike mulch, these rocks don’t break down over time and you could potentially never need more to replace what you bought so it sounds like it may be a good investment.
Lava rocks are actually volcanic rocks that are made out of real lava that has crystallized due to it cooling quickly. They’re lightweight, water will flow well through them but is also somewhat retained and distributed to the plants, and they happen to be awesome barriers between weeds and bugs!
Brick chips are small pieces of brick that have been broken up to use for landscaping. If you intend on using them you should first make sure and put down landscaping fabric to ensure the pieces don’t sink down into the dirt, also to control the weeds that grow.
Brick chips are a really good alternative to mulch because they don’t break down, they do not attract bugs, and they retain water for the plants they’re near. They wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.
You know those very nice walkways or paths you see made of stone? Those are generally made out of flagstone. It’s known for being smooth and is usually square or rectangular. You can always lay down a layer of sand and put the flagstone on top of that but if you really want something permanent it’s best to lay it in concrete. Flagstone does tend to be a little on the pricey side, but it lasts a very long time if you take proper care of it.
Landscapes With Rock Ideas
To make things easier for you, we added 13 landscaping ideas including photos, so you only have to choose the one that appeals to you. They say ‘diamonds are forever,’ but the same is true of stone landscaping designs, so make sure that you select the one that speaks to you on an instinctual level.
1. Backyard Landscaping Rock Path
If you have lots of shrubs, bushes, or other greenery, a bluestone sidewalk can be a great addition to your space. The contrast between living and nonliving creates a strong appeal that can’t be achieved by rock or plant alone. There are other types of landscaping rocks that you can use for a walkway if you’re not feeling the bluestone vibe. Pavers are a good option as are bricks.
2. Contrasting Landscaping Rocks
Again, contrast is key! Why settle for just one type of rock when there are so many to choose from? This landscape design shows how amazing an outdoor space can look when two or more stone types share a space. Look for differences in color, texture, shape, and even size when choosing complementary rocks to feature in your yard.
3. Water Garden with Landscaping Rocks Ideas
Landscaping rocks are very popular because they are cost-effective and looks very natural. Also, they are very pleasing to the eye. But rocks alone can be, well, a bit boring. Introducing water into the mix can shake things up! If you have the means, create something like what we’ve featured here. Creating a small pond or water garden is a lot more affordable than you might imagine, especially if you do the work yourself.
4. Leveled Garden Beds
This is one of my favorite ways to decorate any outdoor garden! Adding stones, bricks, rocks or pebbles brings more colored textures into your landscape while also serving in a functional way. There are so many different ways to mix this up. You can do square beds, rectangular beds, or create an Alice in Wonderland-like maze. The possibilities are endless.
5. Landscaping Rock Waterfall Garden Design
Creating a rock waterfall in the backyard is one of the most captivating landscaping rocks ideas. I have a friend who has one similar to the picture above and she raves about how tranquil and serene her space is since she made the update. I’ve meditated next to her waterfall a couple of times and it took my relaxation to a new level! Not sure where to start? Believe it or not, many rock waterfalls are DIY friendly.
6. Budget-Friendly Landscape
Landscaping rocks aren’t cheap, I’ll admit that. Still, they are an awesome investment. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly landscape idea, make sure to compare rock costs before ordering.
Mexican Beach Pebbles are 15 times more expensive than decomposed granite. Stone pathways are a lot more expensive than brick. If you want to save money, do your homework and consider using landscaping rocks in a small space for now. You can always expand later.
7. Eclectic Landscape
Spaces that look like a hodge-podge of different types of rock are my favorite. It doesn’t look forced and represents what we find in nature, random collections of things. Again, you can contrast in a number of ways. I suggest choosing landscaping rocks that are different in color and texture. For example, the brown (sharp) rocks above are placed beside smooth white ones.
8. River Landscaping Rock Design Ideas
If you have (or plan to add) water in your outdoor space, river rocks are a great addition. Price varies from 100 to 800 USD a ton, so finding a great deal is key. Although this can be pricy, using river rocks in design is on my ‘must-do’ list because of how naturally beautiful it appears. This is especially true if you have plants nearby.
9. Beautiful Landscape
Part of the American dream is to have a home with a comfortable garden and backyard. What is beautiful to you might not appeal to me, so it is key you have a mental image of exactly what you want. Look at the landscape above. What do you love about it? What would you change? These are the questions you have to ask yourself when using landscaping rocks in an outdoor area.
10. Inspiring Asian Garden Design
How to feng shui your garden is a whole other post, but it’s something you should consider looking into. This is especially true if you plan to implement a zen garden or some other Asian design. Believe it or not, this can be the perfect solution for stress relief.
11. Traditional Landscape
This is a great design for someone looking for a more classic feel. If you have luscious green grass and want to showcase it, light-colored bricks can be placed close together to create contrast and the perfect walkway. This way, you get the best of bost worlds without a busy design.
12. Patio Landscaping Rock Ideas
Landscaping ideas will depend on your own personal taste, so if you don’t like the furniture above, replace it with something more your style. The goal is to combine living and nature. This can be done by building a permanent structure like the one pictured here (with stone fireplace) or with something like a canopy.
13. Tropical Garden Design
Constructing a water feature in your garden can create a calming effect. So can tropical plants! Of course, you need the right type of climate for this type of design to work, so check on this before buying a ton of trees and plants to showcase with your landscaping rocks. Hint: a contemporary pond is a perfect match for these lush tropical plants.
Best Landscaping Rocks For Sale
Now that you have an idea of the types of designs you can accomplish using rock and stone, it is time to explore your options for completing your vision. Here are some of the most common/recommended.
1. Mighty 109 Decomposed GraniteSee on Amazon
Decomposed granites are rocks that have been turned into small pieces. Most have a reddish-tan color and will turn into a lighter tan as it fades over time. These are best for pathways and patios.
Pros: It is relatively cheap and can be bought anywhere. It’s an excellent element for your landscape design. Decomposed granites are best used on a firm surface.
Cons: As you walk the pathway, decomposed granites will stick to the bottom of your shoes. Weeds are hard to remove with granite as well.
2. Mighty 109 Grey Pea GravelSee on Amazon
Pea gravel is composed of small round rocks that are not actually the size of peas. In reality, these landscaping rocks come in a variety of sizes including 1/4″, 1/2″, 5/8″ and others. Also, it has different colors such as brown, white, tan and others. Pea gravel is best for patios and pathways. However, it can also be used as a filler between flat rocks such as flagstones.
Pros: Pea gravel is relatively inexpensive. It has beautiful earth tone colors which are great for planters and pots. It is also best for drainage.
Cons: Pushing a lawnmower in a graveled path can be challenging. You need to edge it appropriately so that it will not stray out of place. If you have a ton of grass to mow around where you plan to place your landscaping elements, this might not be the right choice.
3. Rainforest River RocksSee on Amazon
River rocks are actually bigger than pea gravel. They come in different sizes, costs, and colors. They are effective for drainage as well as for dry creek beds.
Pros: There are different types and pricing that you can choose from.
Cons: Removing the weeds can be difficult around these stones. That is why it is important to have constant maintenance to make it look good all the time.
4. Rainforest Mexican Beach PebblesSee on Amazon
Mexican beach pebbles are a favorite of many homeowners because they look elegant. These are actually small round rocks that are very smooth. Typically, I know them to have a grayish-black color. Mexican beach pebbles are perfect for a garden and can also be used for edging patios or for decorating the surroundings of boulders.
Pros: It can make your outdoor space look sophisticated.
Cons: It is costly and hard to find especially if you don’t live in an urban area.
5. Flagstone Stepping StoneSee on Amazon
You can use flagstones in a variety of ways. This is the common choice for creating patios and pathways. You can likewise create a landscape accent with a bunch of flagstones. This particular flagstone stepping stone looks more natural and is simpler to install. My favorite way to create a dramatic look when using flagstone is for retaining walls.
Pros: It is lightweight and comes in irregular shapes for a more artistic and creative look.
Cons Their unique shape makes it difficult to fit in certain areas.
6. Mighty 109 San Marcos Beach CobbleSee on Amazon
Beach cobbles can be used as a ground cover for traditional or modern gardens. It can add texture and provides contrast against concrete paving. I have found it to be excellent when it comes to absorbency for your plants. If you are looking for an interesting element to supplant your lawns and borders then cobbles are the best choice.
Pros: It has a low cost, no maintenance and can be installed instantly.
7. Southwest Boulder & Stone Decorative RockSee on Amazon
Ground Cover Decorative Rock is much bigger than pea gravel. They are used for covering a large open area. It can also provide a color base for your plants and boulders. It comes in different colors and textures. These glacier pebbles provide supreme polarity since it is a mixture of gray, white and beige. It has a mixture of deep colors, making it the yin and yang of rocks.
Pros: It is excellent for pathways. It looks like natural rock and it won’t fade.
8. Easythru Trading River RocksSee on Amazon
River Rocks are round rocks that can be used to mimic a dry creek running through your front yard. That is why up to this day it has become quite popular. It comes in different sizes to suit your needs. Moreover, it has the highest density.
9. Emsco Landscape RockSee on Amazon
Boulders are very useful in any landscape. You can plant shrubs around them and they can be partially buried to make the setting look more natural. Be sure to choose a color that suits the other elements nearby.
10. Exotic Pebbles Polished GravelSee on Amazon
Landscaping rocks might be more pricey than mulch, but they are very beneficial when used as a groundcover. I love the fact that they are very durable and can last a long time while mulch has to be replaced each season. These pebbles can also add eye-catching contrast to your deep-colored foliage and can brighten up any shady portions of your outdoor space. There are so many pluses to using rocks!
Landscaping Rock Ideas Commonly Asked Questions
Getting in touch with a new skill like using rocks for landscaping is likely to spark some questions. Of course, we do our best to create content that gives you all of the information you need to get started. We know, though, that doesn’t always mean you won’t have questions. Here are some commonly asked ones that we have seen in the past:
This is largely a matter of personal preference. You need to consider what size, texture, and color you think would look best in your setup. Remember – gardening is a work of art, and you should make it your own. Here you can find some amazing rock landscaping design ideas.
If you choose to purchase your landscaping rocks at a lawn and garden store, they can carry a decent price tag. The good news is, though, you might not have to spend much money at all! Go on some nature walks and keep your eyes peeled – you might just find the perfect rocks for your garden.
There are plenty of landscaping rocks DIY solutions at your disposal that make rock landscaping easier than ever. No matter whether you just picked the skill up yesterday or you have been doing this for years, you can create something that you can be proud of. Don’t be afraid to get creative – that’s the whole point!
Landscaping rocks can be a great asset to any outdoor space. There are many budget-friendly gardening designs to recreate if you are willing to be a bit creative. Unlike mulches, rocks will never decompose and it will last a lifetime. Now that you know your options, I’d love to hear about your personal favorites or future projects.
From a simple penchant for yellow flowers as a child to becoming a full-time gardener, nature advocate, and garden designer, I am extremely happy to finally have a platform for me to successfully spread knowledge and expertise in the garden. After graduation, I took many courses related to garden design to feed myself with more knowledge and expertise other than what I learned from my mom growing up while also joining as many garden design competitions locally. For any garden design inquiries, I’m your designer!