Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (2024)

Uses and Benefits of Landscape Rocks

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (1)

Decorative stone and landscaping rocks can be used in almost any area of your yard as an attractive and functional ground cover. They are extremely durable and resist losing color or being scattered by wind and rain. These rocks can help keep soil moist and in place when used as mulch around trees or shrubs. They generally do not attract pests such as termites or ants.

Rocks and gravel can be used for garden pathways and can be a nice alternative to pavement or concrete for a patio or driveway.

Stone comes in a variety of colors and textures and can add an element of character to your landscape.

Stone Coverage Calculation

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (2)

Bagged landscape rocks are used for smaller jobs, such as a decorative accent at the base of a mailbox or for mulch around a shrub. These bags typically contain about 0.5-cubic feet of stone. As a rule of thumb, a single bag will cover 3-square feet with stone 2-inches deep.

A long walkway, driveway and larger landscaping jobs might require bulk landscape rocks. Large quantities are sold by the pallet or by the cubic yard.

There are several factors used to determine the amount of stone needed for an area. In addition to the square footage of the area to cover, you must also consider how deep the coverage will be.

The suggested depth of coverage varies according to the size of the individual stones.

  • If the stone size is 1/2-inch or less, the suggested depth is 2-inches.
  • Stones that are 3/4-inch to 1-inch should have a depth of about 3-inches.
  • Stones that are 1-inch or larger should have a depth of 4-inches.

The coverage area of a cubic yard (27-cubic feet) of decorative stone or landscaping rocks depends on the depth of the area. Consider this when measuring for and purchasing decorative stone.

Follow this guideline for how much area one cubic yard of stone will cover:

  • 160 sq. ft. at 2-inch depth
  • 108 sq. ft at 3-inch depth
  • 80 sq. ft. at 4-inch depth
  • 54 sq. ft. at 6-inch depth

Tips

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (3)
  • Smaller stones may shift more in heavy rain.
  • Rocks used as mulch tend to retain heat. This can reflect back onto the plants, causing them to dry out.

Types of Decorative Stone

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (4)

Choose from brick chips, crushed gravel, lava rock, river rock and marble to create pathways, mulch for garden beds, driveways and more. These popular types of landscaping rocks are widely available.

The region you live in may determine what types of stone are available and can affect shipping costs.

Brick Chips

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (5)

Brick chips are made from crushed, angular fragments of brick.

  • Terra cotta color with deep reds and browns
  • Sizes range from to 3/4-inch to 1-1/4-inches
  • Used as mulch or as driveway stone

Crushed Gravel

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Crushed gravel is usually gray and composed of sharp, irregularly shaped rock fragments.

  • Rocks easily interlock and provide good packing
  • Size ranges from 1/4- to 3/4-inches
  • Used for roads, driveways, base rock and pathways

Lava Rock

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Lava rock is porous, light and irregularly shaped.

  • Available in red or black hues
  • Generally offers good drainage and packs down well
  • Usually ranges in size from 3/4-inch to 1-1/4-inches
  • Used in driveways, gardens and along paths and walkways

River Rock

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (8)

River rock is round and smooth and is available in shades of gray or brown. Pea gravel is a smaller size of river rock used in decorative concrete and other applications.

  • Provides good drainage and erosion control
  • Sizes range from 3/8-inch to 2-1/2-inches
  • Used in flower and garden beds, and on walkways for erosion control

Marble

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Marble chips are made from fragments of marble.

  • Used in fountains and to cover soil in houseplants and container gardens
  • Stone sizes range from 1/4- to 1/2-inch
  • Should not be used around plants that require high levels of acid, as it will change the pH of the soil

Seasonal Decorative Stone

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (10)

The varying colors of decorative stone make them ideal for creating patterns in your landscape to celebrate holidays and other seasonal events.

Painting rocks is a trend in landscape decor that you can use. Apply acrylic or glow paint to smooth river stones and place them in your gravel beds or use as accent pieces around your garden stones. Small rocks can even be painted to add a flash of color to planters.

Shop online when you’re looking for landscape rocks. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.

Decorative Stones: Types of Landscaping Rocks (2024)

FAQs

What is the cheapest rock to use for landscaping? ›

Pea gravel is one of the cheapest landscaping rocks available. The average landscape rock prices of pea gravel are between $30 to $55 per ton or $3 to $8 per bag, $2 to $5 per cubic foot, or $35 to $120 per cubic yard.

How do you pick a landscape rock color? ›

Choose your color based on your design needs. Lava rocks can work well in rock gardens as accents. If possible, look for a color match with your house or another landscape feature. Your color selection may even be influenced by the plant material in your rock garden.

How deep should decorative rock be? ›

The suggested depth of coverage varies according to the size of the individual stones. If the stone size is 1/2-inch or less, the suggested depth is 2-inches. Stones that are 3/4-inch to 1-inch should have a depth of about 3-inches. Stones that are 1-inch or larger should have a depth of 4-inches.

What is the best stone to walk on landscape? ›

Pea gravel works excellent for projects with high foot traffic like walkways, patios or playgrounds. Expert Tip: Due to its size, small gravel needs edging; otherwise, it will move around and scatter into your lawn or garden.

What's the strongest stone? ›

Diamond

What size rock is best for landscape? ›

For most purposes, 2 inches (or 50mm) of landscaping rock is adequate. If you use a material that is larger than this, then the depth will be the same size as the rocks themselves. That is, you will want one layer of 3 to 8 inches (75 to 200mm) of rocks.

How much does 1 ton of rock cover? ›

Coverage Guidelines

One Ton of Rock Covers: 240 square feet – 1″ deep. 120 square feet – 2″ deep. 80 square feet – 3″ deep.

What size rock is best for yard? ›

One- to two-inch rocks are considered to be the perfect size for many different purposes. At this size, they can easily be piled into areas to create rock gardens and to use as an alternative to grassy ground cover.

What do you put under decorative stones? ›

Choose decorative stone chippings that suits the style of your garden and don't forget to fit a landscaping membrane underneath. It is important as it creates a barrier that stops weeds seeding and growing up through the chippings. Cut holes around the plants in your bed that give plenty of room for growth.

How do you prepare ground for decorative rocks? ›

You may decide to dig the soil around three inches down so the rocks will be level with surrounding area, be it a paved space or other landscape. If you like, the dirt can be sprayed with an herbicide so that grass and weeds will not return, but make sure you use a method that will remove grass and weeds permanently.

How do you keep decorative rocks from sinking into the ground? ›

Larger garden rocks can start sinking into the ground over time. To prevent this and fix it, apply gravel underneath them, as well as a base gravel layer that will allow water to drain out. Water in your garden should never sit and puddle, so take this into consideration when working on your rock garden systems.

What is the best stone for bare feet? ›

Pea Gravel

These tiny stones are smooth and small, just like peas. They're often used on children's playgrounds because they don't have any sharp edges. If you're installing a path that you'll probably walk through with bare feet, or if you've got kids running around the yard, pea gravel is a great choice.

What is the best material to use for landscaping? ›

5 Landscaping Materials That Can Improve Your Property…
  • Landscaping Sand and Soil. If you are planning your landscaping project, there are certain materials that are indispensable for creating successful outdoor areas. ...
  • Crushed Concrete. ...
  • Stones. ...
  • Landscape Mulch. ...
  • Decorative Rocks. ...
  • About Bray Topsoil & Gravel.

What stones can be used outside? ›

6 Types of Landscaping Stone to Use Outside Your Home
  • Flint. Good for a wide variety of landscaping projects, flintstones are often used in stone walls or as filler in walkways, paths, and patios. ...
  • Granite. ...
  • Marble. ...
  • Sandstone. ...
  • Travertine.
Sep 3, 2021

What is the best material for landscape under rocks? ›

The two landscape fabrics that are best suited for rocks are spun landscape fabric and non-woven landscape fabric. In some cases, you might prefer using a thick woven fabric. The four main types of landscape fabrics are: woven, non-woven, spun, and perforated.

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