River rocks have a significant role in garden landscapes. They can be used in numerous ways – as natural mulch, weed growth preventing measures, to shape a creek or a river bed, and to decorate an attractive rock garden. Placed along a raised garden bed, the stones serve as an edge that quickly differentiates it from the rest of the backyard.
This natural material is so unique because it offers a variety of shapes, colors and sizes which increase the possibilities and landscaping designs.
Your time and efforts will be totally worth it if you invest them in one of the best river rock landscaping ideas that follow.
1. Artistic River Rock Garden Edge
If you need a way to differentiate the flower garden from the vegetable garden, use river rocks to create an edge.
Make it personalized by painting the surface of the stones.
The smaller ones can reproduce different images and scenes while the larger ones become the canvas for beautiful and inspiring thoughts.
Surrounded by mulch on both sides, this colorful river rock edge looks like an outdoor art piece.
via Tales From The Traveling Art Teacher
2. Authentic Black and Brown Stenciled Walkway With Stones
Make the walkway to the house entrance appealing and inviting with river rocks.
The combination of black and brown pebbles creates stenciled motifs that are so stunning.
The unique shapes twist as you go down the walkway, enjoying the thick greenery on either side of it.
3. Beauty Of Stone Flowers
Want to change the boring empty land sections?
Do it with artistic stone arrangements. Gather colorful ones that will distinguish the formed shapes.
In addition to the colorful accent, the stones will also prevent the growth of weed.
4. Define The Backyard Zones With Stones
You don’t need a professional landscape designer to find a way to differentiate the backyard zones in an appealing way.
Use stones to create borders that will not only visually separate the areas but will also create a point of interest.
Pea gravel, river rocks, flagstones and even large boulders can be used separately or together for this affordable outdoor design.
5. Dragonfly From Different Stones
If you have gathered and saved different types and sizes of stones, you can make amazing ground embellishments.
For example, the combination of pieces from flagstones and river stones shapes a whimsical dragonfly over organic mulch.
6. Dry Creek Bed Shaped By Various Stones
Imitate a creek flow with stones and pebbles.
Lay the pebbles vertically in a wave pattern to mimic the flow direction.
The large stones can be incorporated in flower arrangements next to the wave. Fill the gaps with randomly positioned rocks that will create the look of still waters.
7. Dry River Bed With River Stones
Combine seamlessly rocks with plants!
They are not only a point of interest for this garden bed but also a means to drain the soil to let the plant kinds grow flawlessly.
8. Exotic Rock Garden
In areas where the climate doesn’t allow having a rich and vibrant flower garden, you can use the unique shapes and colors of stones to create an alternative that will be just as attractive.
Use the smooth and curved lines of the river stones to shape a half-covered with stones garden and the rest fill with soil and drought-resistant plants.
The landscaping ideas for the section with stones are many – a Yin and Yang pattern, flowers, stacked shapes, etc.
9. Family-Inspired River Rock Footprints
These cute footprints can be made with river stones.
You can picture a paw, the footprints of a whole family stacked on top of each other. This creative idea could embellish the mulch or can become a focal point of a flower garden edging.
10. From Random Stones To One-Of-A-Kind Walkway To Home
This is another example of a lane across the lawn that leads to the front door.
The unique texture and shapes create not only a focal point but also emphasize the unique style and welcoming vibe of the place.
Alternate pebbles, crushed stones and flagstones to make a patchwork pattern inspired by nature.
11. Garden Bed Edging With Rocks
The rock stones arrangements can make a garden bed pop out.
Their natural texture and interesting arrangement will attract attention and at the same time add a neutral background for the garden arrangement.
12. Large Flowers on Colorful Rock Bed
Want to stop the weed grow between the garden bed and the walkway?
Use gravel and river stones to create an artistic transition between these two outdoor elements with a functional duty.
Create an interesting ground picture by alternating sections with gravel of different colors. Here and there, arrange river stones in the shape of a flower.
13. Mosaic Rock Flowers
The fine and amazing shapes of the river stones can be used to create a flower-like arrangement and not only. The simple pattern requires one larger rock for the stamen and smaller rocks to outline the petals.
If you find colorful stones, the landscaping idea gets even more intriguing and appealing. Fill empty garden spaces like clearance between the walkway stones or edges of garden beds.
14. Mosaic Rock Walkway
Are you looking for a DIY outdoor project? This pebble path will add to your backyard an unexpected focal point and a unique stepping stone texture, so comfortable for your feet.
The mosaic paths are easy to create as long as you have stones, time and patience enough. Choose an interesting pattern to follow and start creating your long-lasting walkway with natural materials.
15. A Nature-Inspired Stone Carpet
Inspired by nature, this mulch-and-river-stone garden celebrates spring all year long!
Small, large, grey or black, round or long stones are arranged in perfectly shaped flowers! This inspiring landscaping idea makes garden decoration possible in a cost-free and unique way.
16. Painted Rocks Flower Garden
This is an easy-to-maintain flower garden that will please your eyes all year long. The artificial colorful shapes are made with river stones.
Each stone has been carefully painted in a bright color. The smaller and rounder stones act as stamens while the bigger ones serve as petals.
Placed over dark wood mulch, the river rock landscaping idea stands out and becomes a focal point of the backyard.
Tutorial with video and step by step instructions: Here
17. Paving with Gravel, Lava Stones And River Rocks
Rocks can be used in the place of mulch. Functioning like that, they become long-lasting and natural weed prevention.
Their multifunction continues if combined with plants.
They successfully help the soil drainage and add interest to the garden.
18. River Rock Garden Edge Embellishment
If the garden edge needs an upgrade, do it in a unique and affordable way!
Gather various colored pebbles and then start creating flowers. They can be fixed on the solid concrete surface with grout or an additional cement layer.
19. River Rocks Backyard Paving
In the areas where no plants or grass is grown, you can create a pavement from river rocks.
Gather many and different in color and size river rocks and then place them next to each other, trying different arrangement shapes.
In time, this alternative to the paving stones will sink slightly down in the soil so that it remains fixed and lasting for many years.
20. Small Garden Landcaping Idea With Stones
If you want to bring a natural look to your backyard, try this cute river rock landscaping idea.
The small gardens are perfect for areas where the land looks boring.
Plant succulents, seasonal flowers, etc and then clean the grass.
Put some mulch to limit the weed growth and then start the stone art. Choose similar in size stones for every pattern or application – larger ones for edging and smaller pebbles for embellishments.
21. Small Pebbles Elevated Garden Walkway
Bring identical river rocks to your garden to create unique landscaping.
Place them over a wet concrete base that has a double function- as a divider of zones and as a walkway.
The continuous lane will add an elegant visual interest that won’t be repeated anywhere else.
22. Unique Mosaic Walkway
Pebble mosaics look like a master class achievement but with some inspiration and time you can make your own wonder garden walkway.
This particular inspiring idea requires pebbles, crushed stones and flagstones. Decide what the size of the walkway will be and cover the ground with river rocks.
On the top surface of the flagstones crushed stones and pebbles are placed in a pattern reminding of a rock whirlpool. Fixing happens with concrete or a special cement compound that glues the stones rigidly together.
When the decorated flagstones are ready, just place them over the rock bed.
23. Vibrant Rock Garden
When you are a pedant and prefer regular perfect shapes, you may be more attracted to outdoor garden decorations with decorative rocks.
The identical size of all components and the well-covered paint surfaces let forming of a perfectly measured rock bed.
Use the color variety to create a point of interest with cute arrangements like flowers.
24. Walkway Mandala With Stones
Impress your guests with this patio surface! Decking is great but the stone coverage is even better, especially when it has been made with your own hands.
Mother Nature has awarded us with unique shapes and colors of river stones.
They are durable, resistant to any environmental conditions and are capable of creating unique pebble mosaic surfaces for your backyard.
25. Wildlife and Flora From Flagstones
Have flagstone leftovers from the summer backyard upgrade? Imagination and some free time are needed to make this cute stone landscaping idea.
26. Add a Dry River Bed
A river rock bed works as drainage in a bed of mulch and succulents. Larger river rocks curve in and around the plants, acting as both a frame and path for each section.
27. Add a Gravel Pond Through a Bed of River Rocks
Using two different types of rocks is a natural-looking way to break up the space. Smaller white pebbles look like a little pond.
Pea gravel is the smallest type of river rock available. Its size and affordability makes it a versatile workhorse.
28. A Hardscape Garden Combined with a Traditional Garden Bed
The base of the palm tree was a little small with just ground cover. The size of the garden was extended using white river rocks. The combination shows you don’t have to go all in on one type of landscape.
29. Build a Winding Rock Garden
Build up planters made of stone inside a garden edged in bamboo. An area that has trouble growing grass is ideal for this type of garden with shade-loving plants. Drop a couple of layers of garden fabric to keep out the weeds.
Hardscaping, or xeriscaping, is a smart move for landscapes. Even if your home isn’t in a drought ridden area, converting at least part of your landscape to a rock garden is easier on your water bill.
30. Combine Gravel and Ground Cover
Create a white background for low-growing plants. Use thick ground cover as negative space.
31. Create a Dry Riverbed Paver Path
Black river rocks create dramatic contrast with simple cement pavers. It looks like the stepping stones are floating over the black backdrop. The result is a dry riverbed path flanked by meticulous rock gardens. The colors and contrasts in this garden give it a luxurious look.
32. Create a Riverbed Using Color and Form
Quickly create path using plastic garden edging. Black rocks, light brown stones, and a soft beige pea gravel combine to tell a story about a dry river bed.
33. Create a Rock Garden Next to a Walkway
Succulents stand out in white gravel against a black gravel background. The rocks work as a runoff for drainage from the travertine paver walkway.
The squared off section could be mirrored on the other side of the walk. In a few years, the cacti will make perfect organic posts to welcome visitors.
34. Create Patterns with Smooth Black and White River Rocks
Larger multi-colored river rocks make up the majority of the garden bed. The price of river rocks depends on their smoothness and uniformity in color and size.
Patterns created using white marble and polished black river rocks prove you don’t need a lot to make a big statement.
35. Different Sized River Rocks Form a Spiral in Mulch
If building up a Zen rock tower isn’t in your plans, try creating a pattern instead. The light colored river rocks stand out against the brown mulch. It’s a pattern that can be repeated anywhere in the garden.
36. Fill in Empty Garden Spaces with River Rocks
The width of the mulched area works in scale with the plants. White gravel accentuates the Korean Gold Plum Yew, and the space is scaled accordingly.
37. Gray River Rocks Contrast Their Beige Surroundings
This hardscape garden is a study in contrasts. Different sized stones add interest. Curves with cement spheres and edging contrast the straight lines of the walkway. Their gray color breaks up the monotony of a beige walkway and wall.
38. Substitute Rocks For Mulch
Small rocks work as mulch to slow the growth of ground cover. Keeping pebbles from spilling onto the lawn by using a double row of cobblestones. Drop garden fabric underneath to keep weeds in check.
39. Terraced Hardscape with Plants and a Fountain
A beautiful example of how a rock garden can have more than one level. The date palms are in a bed built up with a low retaining wall. Flagstone separates the levels and camouflages electrical conduit.
40. Use River Rocks as Garden Edging
This garden’s dry bed does double duty as a drainage and as a wide barrier between mulched areas and the lawn.
41. Use River Rocks as the Base of a Tree Trunk Sculpture
An old tree trunk is all but hidden, as planters have been attached all around. White river rocks act as a backdrop for the organic sculpture.
42. Use Rocks to Raise the Height of Bonsai
A Maui Braid Ixora bonsai gets top billing when it’s positioned in the center of a bullseye. The setting was created with gravel and colored mulch.
43. Use Rocks to Stabilize Large Planters
Secure larger pots by bracing them at angles in the rock bed. Smaller flower pots are easier to care for.