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How To Landscape With Stones

Embellish your front and back yards with decorative landscaping rocks to add an extra dimension of natural beauty. Find everything you need, from inspiration to price lists and contractors, at ImproveNet.

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Trees, flowers, hedges, and grass make your garden exquisite. But to truly add depth to your hardscaping design, you'll need to mix it up a bit. A pool or water feature is a great way to introduce another layer of natural beauty — but it doesn't come cheap. An affordable way to improve your backyard is to use decorative landscaping rocks. From pea gravel landscaping to bags of stone, we've got some excellent back and front yard landscaping ideas with rocks.

Find help transforming your yard from ImproveNet's network of trusted landscaping contractors.

Pea Gravel Landscaping

While we won't give out any prizes for guessing where the name for pea gravel comes from, we can offer some top-notch advice about how to utilize these smooth little stones. Although they might not look as fancy as slate or river rocks, they're an affordable way to fill gaps between pavers, cover paths or driveways and tidy edging or vegetable plots.

These cute little pebbles crunch satisfyingly underfoot, they look natural, and they can prevent weeds or unsightly mud patches from rearing their heads. Confusingly, far from actually being gravel, pea gravel is more like miniature river rock.

River Rock Landscaping Ideas

One of the hottest trends in 2020 is river rock landscaping. It's one of the most attractive types of landscaping stones, with various colors and shapes coming together in perfect cohesion. They're called river rocks because you find them in riverbeds, where they've been smoothed by years of tumbling. They can last for years, and they're easy to maintain, whether you create a pathway, erosion control system, gutter system, drains, driveway, or flower beds.

You can even create a faux pond or creek using these versatile hardscaping stones — or use them to line the bed of an actual water feature.

Gravel Rock

As our lives get busier and we realize exactly how important well-being and family are, it seems there's less and less energy to dedicate to the lawn. Gravel rock can be an awesome replacement for traditional grass, which relies heavily on you watering it, mowing it, and using chemicals to keep it in top condition. Alternatively, you can be more reserved and use gravel rock for edging, pathing, or finishing.

Gravel rock and crushed stone comes in all shapes and sizes these days, so you can make your yard as rustic or as chic as you desire. Some of the types of gravel rock include:

  • Slate chips
  • Crushed granite
  • Lava rock
  • Glass gravel
  • Base gravel
  • Marble chips
  • Quarry process

Decorative Landscape Rocks

Landscape stones don't have to fulfill a specific purpose — in some cases, their benefits are purely aesthetic. Here are some ideas for landscaping and hardscaping to contrast and complement each other.

  • Pair pea gravel with rope lighting at the edges of your yard for an elegant evening aesthetic.
  • Make a rock path that uses flat flagstones with mini-gravel borders.
  • Combine polished, fabricated stone flower bed edging with matte natural rocks instead of soil.
  • Pile flat, large rocks artfully underneath a downspout to create a dry waterfall.
  • Mingle large, smooth rocks with flowers and use them to outline paths.
  • Use big, chunky pavers to create a meandering stone staircase.
  • Choose various sizes and shapes of stones to add interest, texture, and contrast to your yard.

Front Yard Rock Landscaping Ideas

You can add serious curb appeal to your home — and even raise the value — by manicuring the front yard as well as the back. Even if you have no intention of selling, getting home after a long day to a welcoming front yard makes landscaping it more than worthwhile. Plus, it's a great way to make the neighbors jealous!

Using stones is an affordable and low-maintenance way of improving your property's landscaping. Here are some of our top ideas for the front garden:

  • Mix planters, flowers, rocks, and hedges for variety.
  • Create an edible rock garden in the front yard with raised flower beds for fruits and veggies.
  • Build a retaining wall using boulders.
  • Use stones to create winding pathways or maze-like flower beds.
  • Include a rock waterfall.
  • Create steps using rocks.

In-Style Colors for Rock Gardens

You can't go wrong using the type of stones you'd find in nature for your landscaping needs — and the rustic look will never go out of fashion. That said, there are some hot trends when it comes to decorative landscape rocks. Red, black, and white landscape rocks are all in vogue.

Black Landscape Rocks

Black stones look classy and moody as edging or flower beds. The contrast of black with green is unique and appealing.

White Landscape Rocks

If white is your color of choice, consider transforming your yard with elegant white landscaping rocks.

Red Rocks Landscaping

Keep it natural yet striking with rust-colored river or lava rocks. If you have a pond or pool, the contrast between the water and the dry-red rock looks gorgeous.

Getting Free Landscaping Rocks

It's possible to get cheap landscaping rock from a wholesaler — but you can even get free stones if you look hard enough. Try websites like Craigslist, or ask friendly construction site managers if they need to unload any rocks — to them, it's trash!

If you're on the hunt for "bulk landscaping rock near me," we can guide you through the entire process. From finding the rocks to paying for the labor, ImproveNet has you covered. Click here to start your next landscaping adventure.

Article Topics

  • Landscaping

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