When it comes to landscaping, rocks are often an overlooked resource. They’re affordable and come in an infinite number of colors and sizes.
Use rocks in place of mulch, to keep down weeds, and hide things like extension cords and irrigation systems.
Look at classified ads for bargains. Many homeowners will buy in bulk and sell what they don’t use at a discount just to get it out of their yard.
To spark your imagination, here’s a list of thirty ways other homeowners have used rocks in their own gardens.
1. Add Water Feature to a Rock Garden
Rocks can be used to serve a function and as sculptural elements. Crushed gravel is used here in place of mulch and as part of a two-tier system. Flat stones hide the electrical wiring for the spotlights.
Larger stone slabs are secured vertically as the focal point of a fountain oasis. A simple pump runs water between the two granite slabs.
2. Try a Traditional Japanese Garden
Rocks are an important part of Japanese gardens. They define zones, can be used as stepping stones, and can be used to build up water features.
3. Rock Garden With Waterfall and Koi Pond
Koi ponds are symbols of wealth and prosperity. By finishing the bottom of this pond with rocks, a manmade pond looks like a natural part of the landscape.
Using large rocks to build up the sides of the pond saves time and money.
4. Dragonfly Created With Stepping Stone & River Rocks
Use rocks with different colors and textures to create an affordable garden sculpture. You can buy a set of chiseling tools at the hardware store. These can be used for so many projects, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them.
Chisel stone to create basic shapes like the wings of this dragonfly. Rounded rocks with flat bottoms can be used as tortoise shells.
5. Large Rocks Around Pond and Pea Gravel Path
Create zones in your backyard using rocks of different types and colors. Crushed brown gravel is used on the path. You can use rocks in most outdoor landscape styles.
It works here to keep down the weeds. Large white rocks frame the natural-looking pond.
6. Build a Bench With Stepping Stones
After finishing the path, the owners found a clever way to use leftover flagstones.
You can do this for small seating and side tables, too.
7. Rock Wall Seating Ideas
Two zones were made from locally sourced rocks and boulders. The upper platform is used as a deck for the hot tub. The lower seating section is built into the hill.
Crushed gravel is a safe choice around a large fire pit.
This gathering place will endure for generations.
8. Pond Edged With Large Rocks
Adding large rocks around the perimeter of a pond makes it safer to get a close look at the wonders that call the pond home.
9. Raised Garden Bed With Quarry Stone
Raised garden beds have proven to be an effective way to make the most of your garden space. Don’t build up the beds with railroad ties that deteriorate in a couple of years.
Flat stone slabs will hold back the dirt and last for years.
10. Direct Water With Rock Stream
Rock streams are a beautiful way to direct water in your yard.
Large rocks on the banks prevent erosion while smooth rocks help the water move along.
11. Build a Tall Rock Waterfall Fountain
Build a waterfall using large rocks and a fountain water pump. Smaller rocks at the pool make it easy to cover the plumbing.
Larger rocks and small boulders can be set for a stable foundation. The structure would be susceptible to collapse if smaller rocks were used.
12. Smooth River Rocks Create Dry Creek Bed
Using smooth white and black river rocks helps this dry creek bed stand out from the rest of the garden.
Smooth, larger rocks add to the look and keep the small rocks from tumbling down the hill. Any kind of large vessel like a jug can be used as the mouth of the waterway.
13. A Family Tree From Rocks
A tribute to the family is made permanent by engraving their names on smooth river rocks.
You can do this with an electric engraver or rotary tool and a carbide or diamond tip, depending on the hardness of the rocks you choose.
14. Large Rocks Contrast Soft Flower Bed
Large rocks work to keep weeds at bay and prevent the ground cover from creeping onto the lawn.
15. Smooth Gravel Path Is Great for Drainage
Using medium-size gravel for the foundation of this walkway helps with drainage and prevents mud puddles.
16. Paint Long-Lasting Plant Markers
Rock painting is a fun pastime that you can bring to your garden.
These markers will last for years and are easier to read than popsicle sticks.
17. Fairy Garden Idea Made With Rocks
A fairy garden is a whimsical solution to covering roots around a tree. Define the area with larger rocks and use smaller rocks in the yard.
Moss and a few miniature pieces from the hobby shop transform the space into a delightful surprise.
18. River Rock Garden Edging Idea
Sometimes a weed barrier cloth could use some help. Large rocks ensure nothing unwanted overtakes the garden.
19. Crushed Gravel and Stepping Stone Pathway
Dropping non-slip flagstone on top of crushed gravel gives the walkway a low maintenance, clean look.
20. Weave Ornamental Grasses Into Your Rock Garden
Don’t bother moving large rocks from your garden.
They add to the natural landscape and can work as its centerpiece. Use taller grasses and plants for a natural look.
21. Downspout Drainage Rock Idea
If your downspout creates a muddy mess every time it rains, add river rocks in a trench.
The rocks encourage drainage before the rain reaches the cement path.
22. Succulents and Dry Riverbed Rock Idea
Light-colored rocks are used to add a dry creek through and a garden of cacti and succulents.
Golden barrel cacti seem to float along the path.
23. Rock Idea for Large Planters
You don’t have to build an entire wall of stone to get a natural look. Create planters using large rocks and mortar.
The planters in this garden are separated using crushed gravel.
24. Gabion Wall Becomes Spiral Vertical Garden
Red roses pop against the white rocks in this vertical spiral garden.
Spiral gardens conserve water while adding more color and plants to your yard.
25. Spiral Rock Idea for Tree Edging
Vertical spiral gardens work around trees, too. Use different sizes and colors of rocks to create patterns in a rock garden.