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7 Landscaping Rocks To Consider

For as long as landscape design has existed, people have been using the beauty of the natural world to embellish and finish their outdoor spaces. Rock is one of the most relied upon materials in the landscaping world, and for good reason. Landscaping rocks are multipurpose additions to your space. From enhancing your garden's beauty to creating pathways and retaining walls, they can do it all.

Durable, natural, and low-maintenance, these rocks come in various types.  But how do you know what rock is the best fit for your outdoor living space? Here are eight unique choices that may be the perfect fit for your outdoor redesign.

1. Flagstone

flagstone patio

Flagstone is one of the most commonly used landscaping rocks on the market. Sold in flat slabs, is great for formal walkways and patios. Its irregular shapes add visual interest while fitting together like a slightly imprecise jigsaw puzzle. This patterned visual interest makes flagstone an appealing alternative to concrete pavers. Flagstone is available in various types, colors, and finishes to fit your style and not only provides durability but also complements the natural elements of your outdoor space.

2. River Rocks

As their name implies, river rocks are stones pulled from river beds. If you're looking to install a more organic looking water feature like a pond or fountain in your backyard, these rounded stones are perfect for creating natural-looking dry creek beds. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, river rocks serve a practical function in managing excess water runoff which is important in backyards prone to flooding.

3. Lava Rocks

If you're looking for a less traditional material for your backyard design, then lava rocks may be a great candidate for the job. Affordable lava rocks, available in red or black, are perfect for adding a pop of color to your rock garden. These volcanic rocks, not only aesthetically pleasing, but also heat-resistant, making them ideal for areas with ample sunlight. Match them to the rest of your hardscaping or planting plan for a cohesive and stylish look.

4. Cobblestone

Cobblestones bring traditional charm to hardscaping in your outdoor space. These quarry-cut stones, available in basalt, limestone, or granite, present a sturdy and timeless option for adding character to your driveway or patio.

5. Crushed Stone

Crushed stone, sometimes referred to as pea gravel, may not be the fanciest of the materials listed here, but it's certainly a workhorse. Sourced from quarries, crushed stone could be described as an inorganic mulch that's perfect for dog-friendly areas. It's low-maintenance, relatively inexpensive, and fully permeable unlike other materials on this list. This means that runoff can soak into the ground instead of into sewers and local waterways.

6. Black Polished Pebbles

If you've got a fountain or pond waiting for a finishing touch, and you're not interested in looking at river stones, then polished pebbles could be great for you. Ornamental pebbles are fully polished and thus add a statement-making shine to your garden or fountain. Polished pebble can be bought at most big box landscaping stores and are easy to lay or install yourself.

7. Boulders

If you're really looking to make a statement, you might want to incorporate a boulder into your design. Due to their massive scale, boulders act almost as organic statues in a landscape. They create a focal point that draws the eye and can even be functional if used to terrace a slope or provide safety in a front yard on high traffic streets. Massive boulders make a statement in landscaping. They're ideal for terracing slopes and creating focal points. However, due to their huge size and weight, boulders are difficult to buy and move yourself, so professional help is usually needed for install.

Things to Consider When Choosing Rock

When picking landscaping rocks, size, color, cost, and practicality are important to help you make the right decision for your space. Smaller rocks offer better permeability and drainage, not to mention easy install, while larger rocks offer stability and prominence but are difficult to move.

At the end of the day, landscaping rocks offer endless possibilities to transform your garden. Choose wisely, and you'll have a beautiful, low-maintenance outdoor space to enjoy!

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