River Rock Landscaping Ideas

landscaping stone retaining wall around flower bed

landscaping stone retaining wall around flower bedThe rocks you choose for your landscaping will help set the tone for the rest of your garden. Rocks provide a sense of rustic dimension to your landscape, as well as an eye-catching color contrast. They can help deter weeds, and they reduce the overall area of lawn that needs mowing.

Thoughts on How and Why to Use Rocks in Your Landscape

Attractive Rocks and Stones to Consider

Tawny beach pebbles or river rocks add warmth, while white marble chips help brighten up shady areas. Flat terracotta stones complement a tropical landscape, but can seem out of place in a more formal garden.

For a minimalist modern landscape or Polynesian-themed garden, try black lava rocks. Check out photos of rockscapes online to see what appeals to you. Because stones last indefinitely, it’s important to choose a look you’ll be happy with for many years.

Benefits of Using Rocks vs. Mulch

Rocks may be more expensive than mulch, but they have several advantages as a ground cover. The first is durability. Mulch must be replaced every season, while rocks can last the lifetime of your garden. Another advantage is that pale-colored stones provide striking contrast against deep-colored foliage and help brighten up shady corners of your landscape. Here is a bit more info on the pros and cons of using rocks versus organic mulch. 

Aesthetic Benefits

You can call attention to a favorite shrub or specimen tree by surrounding it with medium-sized river stones. This creates the effect of a ‘living sculpture’, says landscape architect Maureen Smith. Rocks will also discourage weed growth around your prized plant. But for the best results, install a weed barrier before putting the stones in place.

For those who are interested in using stones in a more functional manner, How to Use Paving Stones to Enhance Your Yard’s Beauty and Utility has some fantastic DIY ideas on creating attractive pathways in your yard.

Rock Gardens

For a more exotic look, adding a rock garden to your landscape is a great choice. Choose an area that gets plenty of sun and install two or three small boulders. Surround the boulders with closely spaced low-lying flowers, such as portulaca (left), ground orchids or decorative cactus. Carefully fill in the gaps with smaller stones that complement the color of your boulders.

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  • There are many pebbles, stones, and boulders to choose from to enhance your landscape. Do some research and pick the colors and shapes that will complement your style and your foliage.
  • A bed of rocks can help deter weeds, and will last much longer than mulch.
  • You can easily highlight your flower garden or favorite shrub with an attractive rock border.
  • Rock gardens are a beautiful addition to any landscape, creating a natural collage of stones, flowers, and foliage.

As always, JC’s Landscaping LLC is eager to help out with your landscaping projects. Click here for a free quote!


Picture of D Boone

D Boone

Love the outdoors. Unlucky in real estate but lawn and gardening I can excel at.

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