How To Use Rocks In Your Landscaping

December 22, 2021
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For most people, the #1 attribute they look for in their landscaping is “ease of maintenance.” Few people have the time or inclination to deal with fussy landscape installations. And what could be lower maintenance than rocks? Nothing, that’s what.

Still, people are leery of incorporating rocks into their hardscaping/landscaping for a few, very sensible reasons:

  • Rocks are the backbone of most installations, which means they are easiest to install when the installations are new from scratch. They are much harder to incorporate into existing installations.
  • Rocks are heavy, and often require special equipment to get into place and stabilize.
  • Rocks require some research and forethought to source. You can’t just walk into your local garden center and buy a bag of rocks.

However, using rocks in your landscaping will open up broad possibilities for the look and feel of your yard. Here are just a few ideas.

Pea Gravel or Tumbled River Stone Mulch

If you’ve been reading the JK Enterprises blog for a while, you know we don’t usually recommend stone as a mulch. But there are a few applications for which it works very well, if you are meticulous in putting down weed barrier.

A light colored mulch can contrast with dark-foliaged plants, brighten up a shadowy corner, or provide a heat sink for tropicals or other heat-loving plants. Rock mulch can also be used to good effect in an eye-catching centerpiece installation.

Rock Gardens

Rock Gardens are a very accessible project for most homeowners, since they are very low maintenance, drought-resistance, and can be put into inaccessible or marginal areas of your yard. You can use virtually any kind of stone for it as well; construction sites often leave piles of stone after excavations. However, if you want stone delivered, you’ll probably have to talk to a landscaping / hardscaping company like us.

Pile the stone into a pleasing shape, packing a little soil in here and there to give the plants something to grow on. Then, simply tuck small, low-growing varieties into gaps in the rocks, water thoroughly, then let it be. You may never have to touch it again!

Rock Paths

Rock gardens can be a beautiful and easy alternative to a more traditional garden. However, if you already have a garden that you are more or less happy with, there is still use for landscaping rocks! One perfect use of rocks in landscaping is bulding rock paths. A stone or rock path can be a beautiful addition to an existing garden, in part because it breaks up the space a little bit and draws the eye towards the clearly-defined plants, and because it allows people to enjoy the garden up close by wandering along your rock path without worrying about crushing plants or roots beneath their feet. Alternatively, even if you don’t have a garden, a rock path can be a great addition to a slightly wooded yard or a mulch walkway. You can even lay down your rock path first and then slowly plant the perfect garden around it!

Although much of this article focuses on smaller rocks that are used in landscaping, JK Enterprise also offers larger rocks and stones that would be perfect for building a garden path. One of our best products for this purpose is our Colonial Wall Stone, which has an attractive light gray color. These stones will stand out well against dirt or mulch beneath them, while also being neutral enough to not take away any attention from the real star of your yard – the plants! Our Colonial Wall Stone looks authentic and natural, with each slab of stone coming in a slightly different shape and size. But you can be confident that our stones will be cohesive enough to easily make a lovely pathway, and you can choose whether you want the larger 3-6 inch stone slabs or the smaller 1-3 inch pieces. 

As for building the path itself, you can let your creative colors show and create a path of any size and shape that you wish. There are a couple of helpful pointers, though, that you should be sure to follow. For one, you will want to make sure that you dig into the ground a bit where you want to place your stones, for the sake of their ability to stay in place over time. Just about 8 inches of digging should be enough to accomplish this purpose. If you would like, you can partially fill these holes with gravel or sand before placing in the stones so that your stepping stones are surrounded by a bed of gravel – which JK Enterprise can also supply at excellent value. 

Finally, be careful! You should remember that when building a rock path, you are dealing with larger slabs of rock and stone than you are when doing other landscaping projects. Remember to lift with your legs instead of your back, and to only pick up as much as you can comfortably carry. If you don’t feel totally confident in your ability to build the path safely, don’t hesitate to enlist the support of professional landscapers. They may even have some brilliant ideas about how to shape your path!

Create A Centerpiece

Although this is the most expensive and time-consuming project of the bunch, there’s a lot to be said for the impact of a large, attractive boulder as the centerpiece to your garden. Striking and eye-catching, everyone will compliment you on it. Think of it as an investment in curb appeal.

We can help you research and source the perfect stone for your landscaping projects. Come on down and we’ll show you around!