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The Best Types Of Landscaping Rocks For Your Yard & Garden

Decorative rocks are a versatile addition to a yard or garden. From walls to water features, rocks and stones can be used to create a variety of exciting design elements. Learn how to incorporate different types of landscaping rocks into your exterior design to increase the curb appeal of your home.

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When it comes to beautifying your yard, decorative rocks and stones can provide instant curb appeal. Depending on the type of landscaping rock you choose, you can create a dramatic focal point or define boundaries for gardens and other exterior features — and better yet, most natural stones are maintenance-free.

Whether you’re striving for a traditional look or want to create a clean, modern vibe, there are many fabulous choices available for landscaping with rocks. Connect with a professional today to discuss the possibilities.

Types Of Large Landscaping Rocks

Large landscaping rocks can be placed to strategically draw the eye to a desired feature of your property, or they may be used to create durable, functional surfaces such as patios and walkways. There are several popular types of large stones readily available to buy.

Flagstone

If you want to construct a walkway but don’t like the look of concrete, flagstone is a great alternative. Rather than being a single type of stone, flagstone encompasses a variety of quarried rocks, including:

  • Sandstone
  • Limestone
  • Shale
  • Basalt
  • Granite
  • Quartzite
  • Marble

Most flagstone is smooth and typically comes in 1- to 3-inch-thick rectangular slabs that can be used as pavers. Flagstone can be used to create a patio with a rustic, handmade appeal, or pavers can be laid individually as stepping stones. Larger slabs are ideal for creating edging along water features.

Fieldstone

Another type of large landscaping rock is fieldstone, which is similar to flagstone in its applications. Whereas flagstone is harvested from a quarry, fieldstone is found in fields and other surface areas, which results in different colorations and shapes. This stone typically comes in shades of red, brown, and gray, and no rock is ever uniform in color.

Because of its unique aesthetic appeal, fieldstone is suitable for decorative use. It makes a great building block for retaining walls and other hardscaping.

Boulders

Used alone or in groups, natural stone boulders add a stately charm to any yard. They can simulate the appearance of levels in a landscape design and may be enhanced by tall grasses, flowers, and lighting.

Thanks to their varying mineral compositions, boulders come in a variety of hues, ranging from subtle off-white to vibrant reds and yellows. Moss and lichen on the surface can add even more character.

Types Of Small Landscaping Rocks

Because small landscaping rocks are available in assorted shapes, sizes, and colors, they have a multitude of decorative and functional uses. They can add visual interest to your garden or yard, provide a stable surface for walking, and can even act as a natural weed deterrent.

River Rocks

River rocks are stones that have been worn smooth by the movement of water. Although they’re more costly than organic mulch, they make a great substitute for it in your garden because they don’t need to be replaced.

Because river rocks are naturally associated with water, they're perfect for creating fountains, ponds, and other water features in your yard. They can also be used for drainage or to edge flower beds. By incorporating various colors and shapes of river rocks when landscaping, you can ensure a natural feel for your yard.

Lava Rocks

Lava rocks come in dramatic shades of red, brown, and black. Because they’re colorful and have irregular shapes, these volcanic stones can be used to form attractive decorative borders. They can also be placed in firepits and gardens as an alternative to traditional wood mulch.

Lava rocks are lightweight thanks to their porous nature, so they're easy to work with. Plus, because they store heat and release it slowly, they're a great addition to sitting areas that get chilly in the evening.

Pea Gravel

Thanks to its durability, pea gravel can serve as a surface for high-traffic areas. As its name suggests, these stones are slightly rounded and each is about the size of a pea. This sturdy material comes in a variety of colors and prices and can be used to fill in pathways, dog runs, and playgrounds.

Pea gravel needs to be edged well because it tends to travel and can easily migrate to lawns, where it may be hazardous to lawnmowers.

Rock Landscaping Ideas

By using different types of rocks for landscaping, you can come up with endless possibilities for attractive exterior features. A professional landscape architect or designer can help you incorporate natural materials into your exterior space while avoiding major landscape mistakes, but if you're ready to tackle a DIY project, there are a few simple ways to start.

Rockeries

Similar to rock gardens, rockeries are decorative landscape elements composed of stones and flowers. Stones are typically arranged in piles. The natural look of limestone, sandstone, and shell rocks makes them ideal to form the base of these dramatic features.

Rock Walls

Rock walls can be decorative, functional, or both. They may be used to mark property boundaries or build levels into gardens, and they can help keep soil in place.

Stone Staircases

Large slabs of rock can be used to form natural-appearing staircases for easier access to different levels of a yard.

Waterfalls

Decorative boulders and other large stones can form the basis for eye-catching waterfalls, while gravel and smaller stones are ideal for catch basins. Waterfalls, fountains, and other waterscapes can also help minimize traffic noise if you live on a busy street.

Where To Buy Landscaping Rocks Near Me

If you’re ready to incorporate decorative stone into your yard and garden, many types of landscaping rocks are available at home improvement stores, garden centers, and landscaping supply shops. Larger rocks may also be purchased directly through local quarries.

To explore the prices associated with different types of landscaping rocks, use our cost guide to help you select materials that are suitable for your project.

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