​River Rocks For Landscaping

Posted by Tammy Sons on 13th Nov 2015

Rocks are an essential component of a naturally balanced environment. Since nature incorporates both living things and inanimate elements like rocks, a garden or backyard without stones will feel incomplete. But what type of rock should one use for his/her landscaping project? There are a handful of rocks that can be purchased for landscaping purposes, one of which are river rocks. 

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River rocks come in different colors, from gray, brown, red, and white. They have natural rounded corners that were formed from decades of rushing water. River stones add natural beauty and presentation to any residential or commercial environment. While you may not be that ambitious to build a large fireplace made out of river rocks, there are many ways to incorporate these objects for your landscape.

Advantages of Using River Stones for Landscaping

Landscaping with river rocks is not only a fun process, but also a beneficial one. A major advantage to choosing and using river stones for your landscape design is that it offers a variety of options. These stones come in different colors and sizes. From pea size to boulders, you can experiment with your landscaping design without any restrictions. 

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Another advantage is that river stones are an ideal substitute to mulch when incorporated in flowerbeds. Compared to mulch, river stones are able to maintain minimal growth of weeds while protecting plant roots and minimizing water consumption. Apart from water conservation and plant protection, adding river stones to your landscape design can add dimension, texture, and depth to the space.

Landscaping with river stones also offer versatility that other rock types are unable to provide. Large rock stones can be positioned in groups of three or more to create a sense of drama while smaller sized stones can be used to build pathways and water fences. Working with this type of rock has endless possibilities when it comes to the design and functionality of your landscape.

Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping with river rocks definitely offer many advantages. However, those who are new to landscaping projects can find themselves stuck in the initial planning process due to lack of ideas. It is understandably difficult to think of ideas on how you can incorporate these inanimate objects effectively with the end goal of resource conservation, improved natural appearance, and a naturally sophisticated yet balanced design. Here are some possible ways to use river stones for your landscape design. Adding plants that can climb over the rocks is another great idea! 

Paved River Stone Path

Having a path that leads from the backdoor to your garden is a great idea. To do this, walk along the planned path for a few times to determine on the course it should take. How long should the pathway be? Should it feature only a straight long pathway or sport a curved or spaced pattern? Subtle curves are basically more attractive and look more natural as opposed to straight walkways.

During your final walk before actually starting the project, mark the borders with spray paint. The standard size for walkways enable two individuals to work side by side without falling off the edges or bumping into each other. Ideally, the width of the walkway should be at least 4 inches.

After marking the borders of your river stone path, dig a trench with a depth of 7 inches. Use a level to make sure that the end trench does not slope. If a level is unavailable and you are using a different material to make the edges, include the extra inches to the trench.

Apply an inch layer of sand in the trench and position them using a mallet. Then, distribute small-sized river stones among the paved area. Carefully walk over the stones to position them firmly into the sand. After which, you can add the next layer of stones to complete the landscape.

Mosaic Mortared Patio

Another interesting way to use river stones for your landscape is by building a mosaic mortared patio. Design a pattern with river stones for the whole patio or for just one segment of the space, such as the corner. You can lay the stones in concentric circles or lay them down sideways.

Arrange the stones into groups by shape or shade to make the final building phase faster and easier. Apply around 4 inches of gravel within the space and cover it with another layer of concrete. Smooth out the rough surface using a trowel or any piece of wood plank you can find. Lastly, position the river stones in the concrete. Secure it by tapping the stones with a hammer or lumber. Make sure you don't tap it too hard as this may cause the stones to break.