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Landscaping River Stone Costs

In many landscaping projects, property owners should look beyond the more traditional elements and consider materials that can work in both a practical fashion and an aesthetic one. For example, landscape river stones are suitable for creating clear drainage paths in terrain, but they can also make a dramatic statement when used suitably. This guide breaks down the various costs of landscape river stones, how to purchase them, what installation typically costs, the pros and cons of the material and some of the key ways to use it on any property.

The Costs

  • Average Minimum Cost of Landscape River Stones: $100 per ton

  • Average Maximum Cost of Landscape River Stones: $800 per ton

Ways to Use Landscape River Stones

By definition, landscape river stones, or landscape river rocks, are larger than 1 inch in diameter. Anything smaller is referred to as gravel, but anything larger than a foot or so in diameter is probably closer to a small boulder. The in-between sizes are classified as river stones, and they have plenty of great uses in many varying landscaping projects. Smaller river stones might replace mulch for a more contemporary look, or they can even serve as a rough border between two properties or areas of outdoor space. Landscape river rocks can also add a natural decorative touch when they are installed along the edges of a patio or a pool deck. River rocks might also be used as a type of edging around a flower bed, or perhaps as a focal point placed sporadically throughout the garden. Finally, river rocks can be used as the bed of a small pond or stream, and they facilitate drainage well in areas that receive a lot of rainfall.

Advantages of Landscape River Stones

There are several great reasons to consider the use of landscape river stones when landscaping a property. The material is very durable and natural, and river rocks can withstand most weather conditions without a single problem. Plus, river rocks are some of the most affordable landscaping materials available to homeowners, which is ideal when trying to stick to a limited budget. River rocks can also be a smart way to drain areas prone to flooding, as they keep soil in place and prevent erosion while still directing water flow in the right direction. River rocks can also be an environmentally-friendly landscaping choice as they require no water, which is a big advantage in desert climates or areas where water is sometimes restricted. Finally, river rocks can be a design feature that simply looks attractive and can greatly enhance the curb appeal of a home.

Disadvantages of Landscape River Stones

Unfortunately, river rocks are not always the best landscaping solution. Even when they are the best option for a piece of property, there are some drawbacks that should be noted before installation. Some of the biggest disadvantages of using landscape river rocks on a piece of property include the following:

  • Very heavy and difficult to move

  • Expensive delivery costs

  • May get covered in moss or mold

  • Some varieties can be expensive

Varieties of Landscape River Stones

One of the reasons that landscape river stones are so widely used in outdoor projects is because the material is incredibly versatile. River stones come in dozens of sizes, shapes and colors, and they may or may not be polished depending on the personal preference and budget of the buyer. The most basic landscape river rocks come in a gray hue, and the size may be slightly irregular. These affordable river rocks might be lightly tumbled, but rarely are they polished. This is often the best choice for larger projects where a big portion of ground needs to be covered. For smaller projects, or where the quality is more important, tumbled and polished river rocks are a stunning option. These landscape river rocks come in several colors as varied as black, blue or even red, and they shine brilliantly when in the sun or even when under clear water.

Determining How Much River Stone is Required

When planning any landscaping project that includes river stones, property owners need to determine how much of the natural material is needed. The final amount will obviously affect the budget, so it is a key factor to take into consideration. The best way to determine how much landscape river rock will be needed is to use an online calculator, but a general rule of thumb is that 1.3 tons of river stone is sufficient when covering a single cubic yard of ground.

Installation Process and Related Costs

One of the key things to keep in mind when budgeting for the purchase or installation of landscape river rocks is that the material is naturally very heavy, and it is entirely possible that a single project could require tons of the rock. Delivery costs for such a heavy material can add up quickly, and it is nearly impossible to bring home river stones alone unless the buyer has a heavy-duty pick-up truck. On average, it takes two hours of professional installation to place one ton of landscape river rocks, but that number can go up or down depending on the size of the rocks and the terrain where it gets used. Overall, however, expect to pay roughly $75 for the installation of a single ton of landscape river rock.

Last updated on May 5, 2014

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