Gardening Guides

23 Great Landscaping Rocks Ideas and Rock Types Explained

Why use landscaping rocks? They come in many shapes and sizes and can add a special touch to your garden. You can use them in creative combinations or just stick to a classic look. Whether you got plenty of space or just a tiny bit of greenery, you can integrate them into your garden design without any hassle.

Explore with us now landscaping rocks ideas and the different types of stones you can use.

People have been using rocks to decorate since the beginning of time.

The cavemen carved pictures into them, ancient Europeans made monuments out of them (just think of Stonehenge), and today, we use landscaping rocks to make our yards look nice.

different types of garden rocks colors
different types of garden rocks colors

Rocks are versatile and provide texture and contrast to a yard without future maintenance or repeated expense.

But there are so many types of rocks that your design options are almost infinite. Trouble is, infinite = super overwhelming.

To help you save time, we want to share with you the trendiest ways to include rocks and stones into your landscaping design. Let's get right on to it!

Choosing the Right Landscaping Rocks

If you want to add a unique touch to your outdoor space, stones can be a great addition to your landscape makeover.

You can use them for a variety of purposes such as decorating a fountain, creating a path, or covering a wall. The possibilities are endless!

Landscaping rocks set the tone for your yard or garden so it's very important to choose the right ones for you.

Before you run out and spend your money on the first pretty stones you come across, ask yourself this question:

What do I want my space to feel like?

Your answer will help you decide which rock shape, color, and texture to go for. It will save you a lot of time, too.

choosing the right rocks for your garden designs
choosing type of rocks gardens
landscaping rocks ideas with water
front yard rock garden backyard
rock landscape types ideas

Here are so other tips to keep in mind:

  • Do you want to add warmth to your garden? Use river rocks or beach pebbles.
  • Want to brighten up the shady portion of your yard? Try using white marbles.
  • Terracotta stones work well in a tropical landscape, but may not blend well with a formal garden.
  • Black lava rocks can complement a modern landscape.

Now let's take a look at the most popular types of landscaping rocks that people with good taste use in their gardens. It's the perfect starting point for your search.

Best Types of Landscaping Rocks

Landscaping can be so relaxing and fun. But here's a word of caution: it can also be a lot of hard work--if you let it.

Knowing your options and having a plan of action saves you a lot of effort and energy. Your hands and your back will be both grateful.

If you’re considering adding rocks into the mix, take a minute to check out these essential types of landscaping rocks so you can start planning.

Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite is granite that has been worn down so much that it only consists of very small and fine pieces.

It’s ideal for DIY pavements and comes in many different colors! It’s on the cheap side as well, you can easily get 20 pounds of decomposed granite for under 30 bucks. It can be a really good starting point for your new rock garden.

decomposed granite rocks for landscaping
decomposed granite rocks for landscaping

Crushed Granite

It's all in the name when it comes to crushed granite. These small, earthy-toned rocks are good in your yard since they’re loose and you won't have to worry about them creating puddles.

Crushed granite looks so natural that people like to use it along the edges of their pathways to create a nice blend between the path and the plants.

Crushed granite is a little more pricey than some of the options here, but it can last a very long time provided you stabilize it properly and ensure good drainage conditions.

crushed granite landscaping rock ideas
crushed granite landscaping rock ideas

Pea Gravel

You guessed it, pea gravel is made of pea-sized pebbles that have been smoothed and worn over time by water constantly rushing over them.

These pebbles are found near streams and bodies of water and they come in many earthy tones.

pea gravel landscaping rock ideas
pea gravel landscaping rock ideas

Pea gravel is the tiny gravel you see in dog parks and playgrounds and is sometimes used underground, too. Pea gravel is pretty inexpensive and also comes in a few different colors. 

River Rocks

River rocks are small rocks that have been smoothed down and had all their sharp edges worn away by water running over them constantly. These rocks are great for any water features you have in your garden.

river rocks garden landscape
river rocks garden landscape

River rocks can also be used instead of mulch. Unlike mulch, these rocks don't break down over time. So that even if they can be a bit pricey, you may not need to replace them anytime soon.

Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are actually volcanic rocks made out of real lava that has crystallized after cooling. Lava rocks are very affordable, lightweight and water will flow well through them. Perfect for your garden in winter and summer!

At the same time, they can also help retain some water at the surface and distribute it to the plants, such as when it's raining. They're awesome barriers against weeds and bugs, too! 

lava rocks for landscaping
lava rocks for landscaping

Brick Chips 

Brick chips are small pieces of broken up brick. They have a distinctive color that draws more attention than other types of landscaping rocks.

If you choose to use them, you should first put down landscaping fabric to ensure the pieces don't sink into the dirt and also to control weeds.

brick chips rocks for garden
brick chips rocks for garden

Brick chips are a really good alternative to mulch because they don't break down, they do not attract bugs, and they retain water for the plants near them.


You know those very nice walkways or paths made of stone? Those are generally made out of flagstone.

This type of rock is smooth and usually square or rectangular. You can always lay down a layer of sand and put the flagstone on top of that. But if you really want something permanent, it's best to lay the flagstone in concrete.

Good to know: Flagstone lasts a very long time if you install it properly and avoid damaging it.

flagstone garden rocks landscaping
flagstone garden rocks landscaping

Landscapes with Rock Ideas

They say "diamonds are forever,' but the same is often true of stone landscaping designs. Make sure that you select the one that's not just trendy, but that will stand the test of time.

The following landscaping rocks ideas are both trendy and timeless.

1. Backyard Landscaping Rock Path

If you have lots of shrubs, bushes, or other greenery, a bluestone sidewalk can be an inspired addition to your space.

backyard landscaping rock path
backyard landscaping rock path

The contrast between living and nonliving creates a strong appeal that can't be achieved by rock or plant alone.

Tip: If you're not feeling the bluestone vibe, there are other types of landscaping rocks that you can use for a walkway. Pavers are a good option as are bricks.

2. Contrasting Landscaping Rocks

Again, contrast is key! Why settle for just one type of rock when there are so many to choose from? This landscape design shows how amazing an outdoor space can look when two or more stone types share a space.

landscaping rocks houston
landscaping rocks houston

Tip: Look for differences in color, texture, shape, and even size when choosing complementary rocks to feature in your yard.

3. Water Garden with Landscaping Rocks Ideas

One of the reasons landscaping rocks are popular is because they look very natural. They are easy on the eye.

landscaping rocks ideas
landscaping rocks ideas

But rocks alone can be, well, a bit boring. Introducing water into the mix can shake things up! If you have the willpower (and we think you do!), why don't you try your hand at recreating your own version of the design above?

Creating a small pond or water garden is more affordable than you might imagine, especially if you do most of the work yourself.

4. Leveled Garden Beds

This is one of our favorite ways to decorate any outdoor garden! Adding stones, bricks, rocks, or pebbles brings more colored textures into your landscape while also providing functional value.

landscaping rocks los angeles
landscaping rocks los angeles

There are so many different ways to mix this up. You can do square beds, rectangular beds, or create an Alice in Wonderland-like maze. The possibilities are endless.

5. Landscaping Rock Waterfall Garden Design

Creating a rock waterfall in your backyard is one of the best landscaping rock designs around.

landscaping rocks lowes
landscaping rocks lowes

With a garden waterfall similar to the one in the picture above, you'll rave to all your friends about how tranquil and serene your outdoor space has become. Or you'll just enjoy the tranquility in silence--depends really on your character.

Not sure where to start? Believe it or not, many rock waterfalls are DIY friendly. Start by drawing a basic plan on paper.

6. Budget-Friendly Landscape

For the most part, landscaping rocks aren't cheap. Still, they are a good long-term investment. If you're looking for a budget-friendly landscape idea, make sure to compare rock costs before ordering.

landscaping rocks menards
landscaping rocks menards

For example, Mexican Beach Pebbles are 15 times more expensive than decomposed granite while stone pathways are a lot more expensive than brick.

Tip: If you want to save money, consider using landscaping rocks in a small space for now, such as the main pathway. You can always expand later.

7. Eclectic Landscape Rocks

Spaces that look like a hodge-podge of different types of rocks are some of our favorites. This landscaping approach doesn't look forced and recreates what we find in nature: random collections of things.

landscaping rocks near me
landscaping rocks near me

Tip: If you go for an eclectic landscaping design, choose landscaping rocks that are different in color and texture. For example, the sharp brown rocks above are placed beside smooth white ones.

8. River Landscaping Rock Design Ideas

If you have (or plan to add) water features to your outdoor space, river rocks can be an inspired choice.

landscaping rocks sale
landscaping rocks sale

Although river rocks are neither cheap nor always easy to get, their natural beauty makes them worth all the trouble. This is especially true if you contrast them with water plants.

9. Beautiful Landscape with Slope

Part of the American dream is to have a home with a comfortable garden and backyard. If you have plenty of space, consider adding a slope to your green space: it will make your walks all the more pleasant.

landscaping rocks seattle
landscaping rocks seattle

But don't just take the landscape design above for granted. What do you love about it? What would you change? What would you improve?

Get creative! When you're having fun designing your garden, the result will be beautiful, too!

10. Inspiring Asian Garden Design

How to feng shui your garden is a whole other post, but it's something you should consider looking into. This is especially true if you'd like a zen garden or feel drawn to some other Asian design.

landscaping rocks utah
landscaping rocks utah

Gardens are calming by design, but Asian gardens can take that calmness to a whole new level. They can be the perfect solution for stress relief.

Tip: More than features like Japanese steps, opt for Asian plants and maybe even an Asian-style gazebo.

11.  Traditional Landscape

This is a great design for someone looking for a more classic feel. If you have luscious green grass and want to showcase it, light-colored bricks placed close together can create contrast--and the perfect walkway.

large landscaping rocks
large landscaping rocks

Tip: Quiet designs can be very beautiful, so don't be afraid of simplicity. Sometimes, you can make your garden design more beautiful not by adding but by removing things from it.

12. Patio Landscaping Rock Ideas

Don't forget that you can integrate landscaping rocks into your garden lounge in elements such as a fireplace or fire pit or the pillars of the canopy (like in the image above).

lowes landscaping rocks
lowes landscaping rocks

The landscaping ideas you choose to pursue should depend entirely on your own personal taste. For example, if you don't like the furniture above, replace it with something more your style. Always make the design your own!

13. Tropical Garden Design

Constructing a water feature in your garden can create a calming effect. So can tropical plants!

types of landscaping rocks
types of landscaping rocks

Of course, you need the right type of climate for this type of design to work, so check your hardiness zone before buying a ton of exotic trees and plants to showcase with your landscaping rocks.

Hint: A contemporary pond can be a perfect match for lush tropical plants.

Best Landscaping Rocks For Sale

Now that you have a better idea of the types of landscaping rock designs you can accomplish using rock and stone, let's look up some landscaping rocks you can use to complete your vision. Here are some of the best.

1. Gold Path Decomposed Granite

[amazon fields="B00P9ETRO2" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Gold Path Decomposed Granite" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B00P9ETRO2" value="button"]

Decomposed granite usually has a reddish-tan color and will turn into a lighter tan as it fades over time. It's best for pathways and patios.


  • It's relatively cheap and you can find it almost anywhere
  • It's an excellent element for many different landscape designs


  • As you walk the pathway, decomposed granites may stick to the bottom of your shoes
  • Removing weeds grown between it can be tricky

2. Grey Pea Gravel

[amazon fields="B00VGOR8ZY" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Grey Pea Gravel" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B00VGOR8ZY" value="button"]

Pea gravel is not actually the size of peas. In reality, these landscaping rocks come in a variety of sizes including 1/4", 1/2", and 5/8". They can be brown, white, tan, and other colors.

Pea gravel is best for patios and pathways. However, you can also use it as a filler between flat rocks such as flagstones.


  • It has beautiful earth tone colors which are great for planters and pots.
  • It's great for drainage
  • Pea gravel is relatively inexpensive


  • Pushing a lawnmower on a graveled path can be challenging. If you have a ton of grass to mow around where you plan to place your landscaping elements, this might not be the right choice

3. Rainforest River Rocks

[amazon fields="B07F15LPCC" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Rainforest River Rocks" image_align="center"]

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River rocks are bigger than pea gravel. They come in different sizes and colors. They are effective for drainage as well as for dry creek beds.


  • They have an earthly feel to them
  • Lots of combinations and options to choose from


  • Removing the weeds can be difficult around these stones
  • Weeds may find their way between them

4. Rainforest Mexican Beach Pebbles

[amazon fields="B0752ZFYL1" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Rainforest Mexican Beach Pebbles" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B0752ZFYL1" value="button"]

Mexican beach pebbles are a favorite of many homeowners because they look elegant. These are actually small round rocks that are very smooth.

They typically have a grayish-black color. Mexican beach pebbles are perfect for a garden and you can also use them for edging patios or for decorating the surroundings of boulders.


  • It can make your outdoor space look sophisticated


  • It is costly and hard to find especially if you don't live in an urban area

5. Flagstone Stepping Stones

[amazon fields="B07PFY8FMR" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Flagstone Stepping Stones" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B07PFY8FMR" value="button"]

Flagstones are great for creating patio floors and pathways. You can likewise create a landscape accent with a bunch of flagstones. A great way to create a dramatic look is to use flagstone for retaining walls.


  • It comes in irregular shapes for a more artistic and creative look
  • Can last a lifetime


  • Unique shapes may make them difficult to fit in certain areas

6. San Marcos Beach Cobble

[amazon fields="B00ZAKKLWM" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="San Marcos Beach Cobble" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B00ZAKKLWM" value="button"]

You can use beach cobbles as a ground cover for traditional or modern gardens. They can add texture and provide contrast against concrete paving.

We think they are excellent when it comes to absorbency for your plants. If you are looking for an interesting element to supplant an old lawn or borders, cobbles can be an inspired choice.


  • Easy maintenance
  • Can be installed pretty much instantly


  • Texture of individual pebbles can vary quite a lot

7. Southwest Boulder & Stone Decorative Rock

[amazon fields="B07D4RR93P" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Southwest Boulder & Stone Decorative Rock" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B07D4RR93P" value="button"]

Ground Cover Decorative Rock is much bigger than pea gravel. It's best for covering a large open area. It can also provide a color base for your plants and boulders.

These glacier pebbles provide supreme polarity since they mix gray, white, and beige. You can think of them as the yin and yang of rocks.


  • Excellent for pathways
  • Looks like natural rock and doesn't won't fade


  • Natural variation can make it less than ideal if you want very uniform coloring

8. River Rocks

[amazon fields="B07RXJN156" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Landscaping Rock River Rocks" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B07RXJN156" value="button"]

River Rocks are round rocks that you can use to mimic a dry creek running through your front yard. They have a high density and are available in many sizes.


  • Small and easy to handle
  • Lots of options to choose from


  • Looks can vary widely depending on each lot

9. Natural Sandstone Landscape Rock

[amazon fields="B00KQFVP08" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="Natural Sandstone Landscape Rock" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B00KQFVP08" value="button"]

Monoliths can become a key feature of your landscape. You can plant shrubs around them and you can partially bury them or cover them in ivy to make the setting look more natural.


  • Striking presence in your garden
  • Lots of creative uses


  • Can be hard to handle

Tip: Be sure to choose a color that suits the other elements nearby.

10. Exotic Pebbles Polished Gravel

[amazon fields="B005UQQF3K" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_alt="xotic Pebbles Polished Gravel" image_align="center"]

[amazon fields="B005UQQF3K" value="button"]

Landscaping rocks might be more pricey than mulch, but they are very beneficial when used as a groundcover. Polished gravel can last a long time while mulch has to be replaced each season.

These pebbles can also create an eye-catching contrast with your deep-colored foliage. They can also brighten up any shady portions of your outdoor space.


  • Deep color catches the eye


  • Size can vary quite a bit within the same pack

Landscaping Rocks Commonly Asked Questions

What are the best landscaping rocks to use in my garden?

This is largely a matter of personal preference. You need to consider what size, texture, and color you think would look best in your setup. Remember: gardening is a work of art, and you should make it your own. Explore some amazing rock landscaping design ideas.

Are landscaping rocks expensive?

If you choose to buy your landscaping rocks at a lawn and garden store, they can carry a hefty price tag. But you can probably find cheaper deals online. Don't be tempted to steal rocks from parks and other public places, though--it's illegal!

Is it difficult to learn how to use landscaping rocks?

There are plenty of landscaping rocks DIY ideas that make rock landscaping easier than ever. Whether you just picked up the skill yesterday or you have been doing this for years, you can create something that you can be proud of. Don't be afraid to get creative--that's the whole point!

What is the cheapest rock for landscaping?

Crushed gravel and pea gravel tend to be the cheapest landscape rocks. But you may come across other varieties at a good price. Explore now the different types of landscaping rocks.

What can you do with landscaping rocks?

You can use landscaping rocks to create pathways, patios, borders, creative features, or incorporate them into your garden walls or covered areas. The possibilities are almost endless.

Rock-Bottom Line

Landscaping rocks can be a fantastic addition to your garden or outdoor space. There are many budget-friendly gardening designs you can recreate if you are willing to get creative.

And there are lots of lavish ones too if you've got the budget for them.

Unlike mulches, rocks don't decompose: when properly installed, landscaping rocks can last a lifetime.

Now that we've explored landscaping rock ideas together, we'd love to hear about your personal favorites and how you plan to incorporate them into your projects.

Reach out to us at any time. You know where to find us!

Foter Magazine is a premier architecture, decoration, interiors and design website. We inspire and guide you to make your home a more attractive place.


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