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River Rocks Landscaping

river rocks landscaping 1
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River Rocks Landscaping

Choosing the Right Rocks for Your Landscape The rocks you choose will help set the tone for the rest of your garden. Tawny beach pebbles or river rocks add warmth, while white marble chips help brighten up shady areas. Flat terracotta stones complement a tropical landscape, but can seem out of place in a more formal garden. For a minimalist modern landscape or Polynesian-themed garden, try black lava rocks. Check out photos of rockscapes online to see what appeals to you. Because stones last indefinitely, it’s important to choose a look you’ll be happy with for many years. Replace Mulch Rocks may be more expensive than mulch, but they have several advantages as a groundcover. The first is durability. Mulch must be replaced every season, while rocks can last the lifetime of your garden. Another advantage is that pale-colored stones provide striking contrast against deep-colored foliage and help brighten up shady corners of your landscape. “Call attention to a favorite shrub or specimen tree by surrounding it with medium-sized river stones. This creates the effect of a ‘living sculpture’,” says landscape architect Maureen Smith. Rocks will also discourage weed growth around your prized plant, but for the best results, install a weed barrier before putting the stones in place. Plant a Rock Garden For a more exotic look, add a rock garden to your landscape. Choose an area that gets plenty of sun and install two or three small boulders. Surround the boulders with closely spaced low-lying flowers, such as portulaca (left), ground orchids or decorative cactus. Carefully fill in the gaps with smaller stones that complement the color of your boulders. Create a Centerpiece A large, unusually-shaped boulder can serve as an eye-catching focal point. Use as a tidy, low-maintenance centerpiece in a small garden, where an ornamental shrub might become too large or unruly. In larger gardens, a rock centerpiece can add visual interest to monotonous border areas, such as hedges. Build a Pond Border Large rocks are the key to giving your backyard pond that fairytale look. The right type of stone will help camouflage unsightly black pond liners and provide contrast to the dark pond water. Avoid using even rectangular pavers. For the most natural effect, choose rocks that are similar in size but irregular in shape and color. Create a Low-Maintenance Container Garden Instead of setting up a container garden on your deck or patio, where the pots need regular watering, place them in a rockscape that’s within reach of your sprinkler system. Line the area with a weed barrier and set the containers on top. Cut holes in the barrier, so the bottoms of the pots can fit through and settle into the soil. Make sure the pots have adequate holes for drainage. Surround the pots with small stones in a complementary color. The result is a striking container garden that gets watered whenever your sprinklers come on. Make a Stepping Stone Path A stepping stone path is a picturesque option for those shady areas alongside your house, where there is too little sun for most plants to thrive. It’s also a practical way to keep shoes clean when walking up to a side door or back door. For a tidy look, surround large stepping stones with small pebbles in a contrasting color.
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River Rocks Landscaping

Rocks that are dug from the earth are usually chunky and rough, with jagged points, edges and ridges. This is a good look for certain types of landscaping projects, like accent boulders. But sometimes you want to use stones with a more rounded and smooth finish, and that’s where river rocks come in. Water currents wear down these rocks over a long period of time. This gives them a refined appearance, almost as if they were shaped and polished by hand. You can see this in the pictures above and below.

River Rocks Landscaping

The rocks you choose will help set the tone for the rest of your garden. Tawny beach pebbles or river rocks add warmth, while white marble chips help brighten up shady areas. Flat terracotta stones complement a tropical landscape, but can seem out of place in a more formal garden. For a minimalist modern landscape or Polynesian-themed garden, try black lava rocks. Check out photos of rockscapes online to see what appeals to you. Because stones last indefinitely, it’s important to choose a look you’ll be happy with for many years.
river rocks landscaping 3

River Rocks Landscaping

Rocks may be more expensive than mulch, but they have several advantages as a groundcover. The first is durability. Mulch must be replaced every season, while rocks can last the lifetime of your garden. Another advantage is that pale-colored stones provide striking contrast against deep-colored foliage and help brighten up shady corners of your landscape. “Call attention to a favorite shrub or specimen tree by surrounding it with medium-sized river stones. This creates the effect of a ‘living sculpture’,” says landscape architect Maureen Smith. Rocks will also discourage weed growth around your prized plant, but for the best results, install a weed barrier before putting the stones in place.
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River Rocks Landscaping

Use large pavers and river rocks to create a sleek, durable walkway you won’t have to spend time maintaining. Here’s how to do it: First, establish and mark your walkway’s perimeter. Do your best to make the boundary lines straight and exact. Lay your large pavers, aiming to create evenly-spaced columns and rows. Finally, fill the remaining space inside your outer perimeter with river rocks.
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River Rocks Landscaping

Trivia: Some of the landscaping river rocks you see in landscape yards and home supply stores actually come from the ocean. This is especially true in coastal cities, where these stones wash right up on the beach at high tide. We live in San Diego, and my daughter and I collect them to put into decorative vases. Any type of rock that has been shaped by water can be labeled and sold as river rock — even if it’s from the sea! So if you live near the ocean, you may have a free source of this material.
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River Rocks Landscaping

The water-aging process also gives them interesting shapes, colors and striations. Some river rocks even look like gems or precious stones. This is why they are so popular in landscaping and landscape design projects. They add a unique and colorful element to your yard. They look even more beautiful when wet, which is why they are often used in designs that incorporate water in some way (fountains, waterfalls, etc.). 

River Rocks Landscaping

If you’re planning to make a serious investment in your yard (i.e., a lot of time, money and effort), you should buy a landscape design book that is full of pictures and ideas. Most of these books have an entire chapter dedicated to using rocks and stone, including the many different ways you can utilize river rock. At the very least, visit some more landscaping websites that have pictures of this product in ‘action.’
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Just so we’re on the same page, let’s start with a definition of river rock as it applies to landscaping projects. These stones often look dramatically different from one another. Some are as big as a softball, while others are pebble sized. River rock can be blue, green, red, pink, orange, coral, slate gray, or any combination of these colors. It can have stripes, spots and striations, or it can be solid colored.
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You also need to choose a type of river rock that’s on the smaller end of the scale, so it’s easy to walk on. Pea gravel will do the job. You might want to use some pavers or flagstone steps too, interspersing the river rock between each of the stepping stones. This would make it even easier to walk on. But it can be done without this added feature. We have a path in our backyard that consists of pea-sized gravel only (no stepping stones), and it is fairly easy to walk on. So it’s really a matter of personal preference. What type of look are you going for?
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If you need professional help with your project, use the link provide above. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, check out the river rock landscaping ideas below.

Let’s talk about the different ways you can incorporate this material into your next landscape project. Take a look at the pictures below, and you’ll see why river rock is so popular as a landscaping material. It is incredibly versatile, and it puts a nice finishing touch on any design. It can be used as the focal point of a landscape design project, or it can play more of a ‘supporting role’ as a substrate or background material. There is no limit to how you can use this type of stone.
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This is one of the most common uses for river rock, from a landscaping perspective. It adds an interesting visual element to any yard, regardless of what ‘obstacles’ are in the way. In fact, you can incorporate things like trees and boulders into the flow of the creek bed. So there’s almost always a way to build this idea into your overall landscape design.

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12 Photos of the "River Rocks Landscaping"

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