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Landscape River Rock Prices

When it comes to landscaping, many homeowners find that they are faced with a decision: grass or some kind of alternative? Of course, they can always split the difference, and many landscapes look fantastic when partially covered with grass and partially covered with another natural material. River rocks are one of the best options on the market, and they are especially useful in certain climates where watering sod could be problematic. Homeowners can read below to discover everything they might need to know about landscaping with river rocks including average costs, professional installation and the variety of river rocks available for each project.

Landscape River Rocks Cost

  • The average cost of river rocks is $0.05 - $0.35 per pound of rock.

The Benefits of Landscape River Rocks

To some homeowners, the obvious benefit of landscaping with river rocks is the aesthetic appeal. The attractive look that river rocks bring to any outdoor terrain should be noted, but that isn't the only way that they enhance a landscape.

  • River rocks work as a type of ground cover, just like mulch is traditionally used, but they are a lot more effective than most mulch materials.
  • River rocks used in landscaping are also environmentally friendly, especially in hot climates where watering grass on a regular basis is irresponsible, time-consuming or simply too expensive. So they're used extensively in places with warm climates like Arizona, Florida and Nevada. 
  • They are more affordable than using large paving stones in a defined space, and they can cost less than pouring concrete in small areas.

For those who want a clean outdoor living space with minimal maintenance, river rocks are the clear option for most landscape needs.

Costs of Landscape River Rocks

One big question that many homeowners have is the actual cost of using landscape river rocks on their property. Ultimately, the total expense of the project will depend on factors including how much space they want to cover, the need for professional installation and the quality of river rocks they opt to use. Keep in mind that if individuals choose smaller river rocks or any special variety, then the cost will increase.

The cost of installing these river rocks will be another expense, and it can vary due to the homeowner's geographic location, the business of the landscaping industry's season and the experience of the installation team, who will generally charge by the ton. If budgeting by the ton seems confusing, a good rule of thumb to remember is that 1.3 tons of river rock generally covers 1 cubic yard of landscape.

Variety of River Rocks

Another important factor to take into consideration is what kind of river rocks look best in landscaping. Generally speaking, river rocks count as anything larger than one inch in diameter. However, it excludes natural stone that is created into sculptures, and anything very large might be considered a feature or a boulder rather than a river rock, even if the material is the same.

Homeowners should think about the aesthetics they want to achieve when it comes to choosing the right kind of river rock for their space. Smaller rocks can look more like gravel, which may be better for driving cars on but not as pleasing or as low-maintenance. Larger rocks can be a challenge to walk on, but they might help to create a more attractive or scenic environment.

In addition to the overall size of river rocks, buyers can choose a grade, which indicates the quality of the materials. Finally, the finish, which determines whether the river rocks look more polished or matte, and the color of the rock give buyers an additional level of customization for their landscaping.

How to Use Landscape River Rocks

Anyone who is sold on the idea of using river rocks for their landscape might still be unsure of how or where the rocks will look best. Landscape river rocks can be used in a typical patio space, especially if the rocks are on the smaller side, and they can also be used to create beautiful pathways from one area of the property to another. River rocks can be featured in place of a grassy garden, or they can be used to define spaces. Finally, river rocks make great beds around potted plants or other shrubs that typically rely on mulch for weed growth prevention.

Installing River Rocks and Hiring Professionals

A common misconception among homeowners is that installing landscaping river rocks is as simple as unloading a truck and then flattening out the surface. In reality, individuals may need to dig out root systems for a flatter terrain, lay down plastic to act as insulation and use large pieces of equipment to create an attractive final product.

With the amount of work that it takes, many homeowners wisely opt to hire professionals for the job.

  • Along with calling multiple companies to get quotes, those who opt for this method of installation should also do some research and preparation before the team arrives.
  • Homeowners should be clear about what type of river rock they want to use as there are a variety of options on the market.
  • They should clearly show or outline the areas where river rocks are to be installed.
  • If homeowners want river rocks to be placed underneath large items like planter pots, it might be easier to remove them ahead of time and place them back on top of the river rocks once installation has been completed.

Adding landscape river rocks can be an incredible way to enhance the look of any outdoor space. Whether for a more traditional English cottage garden full of rosebushes, a Southwestern desert landscape or a contemporary Asian Zen garden, these rocks can fit in perfectly and may cost less than homeowners expect.

Last updated on Jan 26, 2016

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