8 Landscape Rock and Gravel Types for a Stunning Landscape

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When looking to improve your landscape, the first thing you might be inclined to add is plants or mulch. Both of these are excellent choices that we applaud profusely. 

But – stay with us now – WHAT IF rock and gravel could add just as, if not more, appeal to your landscaping AND save you money on water and maintenance? Friends, we’re here to reveal some of the best suggestions for landscaping rock and gravel as well as the most frequently asked questions that come along with the installation decision. 

Let’s dive into some rock and gravel options for color, texture and functionality.

Top Picks for Landscaping Rock & Gravel 

1. Decomposed Granite

Photo courtesy of Lowe’s

Decomposed granite is usually reddish-tan and sandy and provides landscapes with a soft, rustic look. This affordable option is often used around trees, garden trails and as a xeriscape ground cover.

2. Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is – you guessed it – the size of a pea, usually 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch in size. Colors range from white to tan to brown. Pea gravel is very versatile, often used to cover driveways and fill spaces between stone pavers. It also serves as a good weed barrier and won’t decompose like mulch.

3. Crushed Granite Gravel

This gravel has larger particles than decomposed granite and provides a nice, natural look for your yard. It makes a good transition between garden plants and pathways.

4. Lava Rock

Composed of actual lava from volcanoes, this rock boasts explosively bold colors, providing a pretty accent to any landscape design. It is ideal for drier climates, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it throughout the night. Lava rock is very lightweight that makes it easy to transport and spread.

5. River Rock

You don’t have to live by a river for your landscape to rock. River rocks are smoother in texture and larger than pea gravel. Pull together their different hues to create pretty garden borders or dry creek beds. While looking pretty, they can also be used to direct drainage through a property.

6. Flagstone

We’re bringing out the big guns for this one. Along with smaller pebbles, larger rocks like flagstone are great for stepping stones, garden paths and walkways between different elements of your landscaping.

7. Brick Chips

We’re changing things up and going against the grain. This next one isn’t technically a rock, but it’s still a popular choice for hardscapes. Brick chips are made from crushed fragments of bricks (shocking, we know) and come in reddish and brown hues. These chunks are great for driveways and landscaping paths.

8. Marble Chips

Tell countertops to step aside…marble isn’t just for the kitchen anymore! Marble chips are sleek and classy options to cover soil around container gardens and landscaping design elements. Helpful hint – avoid using them around plants that need high levels of acid since marble changes the pH level of soil.

FAQs for Landscaping Rock & Gravel

How much landscaping rock do I need? 

The exact amount will depend on two things: 

  1. The size of the area 
  2. The depth of coverage 

First, you’ll need to determine the exact square footage of the area. For square or rectangular shapes, this is fairly simple: multiply the length and the width of the area. 

Length X Width = area in square footage

Next, you’ll want to determine the depth you’d like your rocks to lay. This will differ depending on the size of your materials. For rocks that are 3 inches or bigger, you may only need one heaping layer to achieve a 3 – 3.5 inch depth, whereas smaller rocks or gravel may require a couple more layers to achieve the same. 

This rock coverage calculator is a great tool to get you started, however, it can be difficult to calculate to predict the precise amount of rocks or gravel needed. We recommend partnering with a team of professional landscapers to do the work (and the install) for you. 

Does rock landscaping attract bugs?

We know what you’re thinking – any time you’ve lifted a rock, there have been critters underneath. Sure, bugs may hang out in the rocks and gravel, but because there is no food source, they won’t stick around. 

Landscaping rock and gravel don’t attract insects, unlike mulch which decomposes over time and attracts all kinds of pests.

Which is better for landscaping – rocks or mulch

Landscaping isn’t one-size-fits-all, so the decision between rocks and mulch will depend on where you live and your landscaping needs. 

For garden areas, mulch may be a better fit. It doesn’t retain as much heat as stones and gravel and because of that, it doesn’t dry the soil/plants out as much. However, mulch will decompose and need to be replaced annually. Not to mention, the decomposition may attract unwanted pests and insects – including termites. If you’re not interested in replacing your mulch on a regular basis, rock and gravel may be a better fit. 

While they are the more expensive option, landscaping rocks and gravel will last much longer in the end. 

Still not sure? Our team would be happy to advise your decision and bring it to life!

Can I install the rocks on my own? 

If you have the tools, materials, and experience, you can certainly try! 

This task may take you longer – especially if you are purchasing the materials and laying them yourself. However, we do not recommend DIY installations. Wheelbarrows of rock are extremely heavy and the process can be labor-intensive and tedious. 

To keep your yard (and your back) in great condition, call the professionals next time you’re wanting a landscaping rock and gravel transformation.

How long should my landscaping rocks and gravel last? 

Typically, your landscaping rock and gravel should last you 8-10 years, so once it’s installed, the maintenance is really low touch. 

From charming rustic pathways to artistic courtyards, rock and gravel will contribute to a versatile landscape. Let us help you choose the best rock for your design and lifestyle. Chat with us today to get started!

Other posts you might like:

6 Benefits of a Unique Hardscape

Why Pavers Are Great for Northern Colorado Landscaping

9 of the Most Popular Colorado Landscape Additions

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