How to Use River Rock in Your Outdoor Spaces

March 22, 2021
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River rock is one of the simplest, most practical, and most multi-use materials that add an utterly charming touch to any outdoor space. Years and years of cascading water have provided us with naturally occurring river stones with smooth edges that appear in a variety of colors.  

You can use river rock to fully makeover a drab plot, or simply to add a delightful accent to your garden or yard space. 

Luckily, placing river rock gravel is amongst the easiest materials landscaping options, as it requires hardly any preparation. Using it can save you both money and time. Plus, if it is well-maintained, it will last longer than a standard driveway or an asphalt path. This is no challenge because river stone is also extremely easy to maintain. In order to keep your gravel path level, all you need to do is add a small new layer of rock every couple of years. Specific spots may become uneven, but they can be fixed by pouring in a bit more gravel, which will become compact on its own.  

Thinking you are ready to add river rock to your outdoor space but you’re not sure just how to do it? We’re here to help! We will go through a number of different ways that you can use river stones to beautify your landscape. 

River Rocks Mimicking Water

River stones can be used to mimic water and turn your outdoor landscape into a serene space. You can add water into a dent in river rock gravel to make a small pond, but you can also simply place your river rocks in the shape of a small body of water, such as a creek or a pond, without using any water. This will create the look of the presence of water without actually having it. River rock placed to simulate water looks spectacular around flowers or under a small, decorative bridge. If you want to add height to parts of your rock creek, you can layer rocks on top of each other either using larger rocks or more small river stones.   

River Rocks Tiling  

River rocks come in a variety of colors, from greys to tans to reds. Stones in this assortment of colors and sizes look spectacular layered on top of one another to create tiles. 

River Rocks Amongst Flowers

The neutral tones of river rocks can look beautiful placed around flowers. Stones can also keep your flowers warm on cooler days, as well as prevent erosion. They also look absolutely alluring for a variety of types of plants. For those who live in dry environments, river rocks can make perfect cactus beds. Alternatively, setting up a rock garden that plants can naturally grow onto can look great.

River Rocks Paving the Driveway 

River rock driveways work well because unlike asphalt or concrete, they will not split or dent overtime. They also provide superior drainage, allowing water to soak into the ground, instead of running off. Also unlike an asphalt or concrete driveway, you can install river rock gravel yourself. That way, you don’t have to cover the expensive cost of materials and professionals to take care of installation. Finally, a river rock driveway is not only practical, but it also just looks good!

River Rock Drainage

Leaks in your home can cause severe damage that is costly to repair. Improper drainage systems can lead to indoor or outdoor flooding. Fortunately, you can also use river rocks to improve drainage in your home and avoid unnecessary repair costs. River stone can be used to redirect water to to prevent it from pooling in unwanted spots. 

A French drain–or a permeable pipe or trench filled gravel–is a great way to have proper drainage while keeping up an aesthetically pleasing appearance in your outdoor space. The pipe or trench serves to carry water away from an area where it collects. When you cover a pipe with river rocks, water will permeate through the gravel and into the pipe. This is one of the best ways to install draining that also looks nice. 

Overflow From Gutters

It is common for water to overflow from gutters and deposit into the yard or garden. River rocks can be used to fix this problem and redirect water. You can construct a channel with river rocks that begins in the end of the gutter and lets out the water in a spot where it won’t pool or ruin plants. This is a simple and aesthetic solution to your gutter overflow problem! 

Soil Erosion Stopper

The time and money you spend on your outdoor space can be quickly wasted away by erosion. Without anything protecting your topsoil, it can be eroded by rain, windy weather, or footsteps. This can also prevent it from properly absorbing water, which in turn harms your precious plants, and even worse, apply pressure on your house’s foundation. For these very reasons, it is important to take preventative measures against erosion. 

This brings us to yet another use for river rocks. River rocks can help soil absorb water as well by preventing runoff. It can also ensure that soil on a sloped area remains packed in. Moreover, river rocks look beautiful placed around flowers and plants in your garden while they prevent topsoil erosion. 

Outdoor Paths of River Rocks

River rocks make for a great material in your outdoor walkways as well as your driveway. Again, river stone is cost-efficient and simple to install and maintain. At the same time, the gravel will help you avoid erosion and mud and encourage good drainage. A river stone pathway looks great within a garden or yard. 

Practical Beautification 

We hope the list we have provided above gives you a good sense of the infinite uses of river rocks in your outdoor spaces. River stones are a blessing from nature so they look gorgeous no matter what you do with them. You can even use them to build a border around your driveway, walkway, or pool. River rocks are truly one of the best ways to add a practical yet attractive decoration to your home. Now, go out there and get creative!