Landscaping with River Rock Ideas
Image by MabelAmber from Pixabay

Landscaping with River Rock Ideas

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.).

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.

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.

Okay, so there is one limit. Availability. You can only use the river rock that’s available in your area, at the local landscape supply yards. This material has to be trucked locally, and the cost can be prohibitive. So the selection will vary depending on where you live.

If you are doing your own landscaping project, you should call and drive around to see what’s available in your area. You may have to visit a few yards to find the product you want. If you’re using a landscape design company, ask them about your options for incorporating this material.

Here are some ideas for using river rock in your next project:

The Dry Creek Bed

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.

The great thing about using river rock for a creek bed is that it looks totally natural. After all, these stones were shaped by water from rivers, streams and ocean currents. So they look right at home within this kind of design concept. It gives the appearance of a creek running through your hard. It can even be used with flowing water, as it naturally channels the flow wherever you want it to go.

You can wind your creek bed around boulders, plants or other landscaping features, to give it even more ‘personality.’ This is where it helps to have a landscape designer lay it all out for you, if you’re not the creative type.

The River Rock Path

This is a variation of the river rock landscaping idea above. Here you would use the same concept, but in a way that makes the creek bed function as a path, as well. This project would require some type of border material to keep the rock in place, especially if the path is going to butt up against a grassy area that gets mowed regularly. You don’t want any stones getting under your mower blades.