Garden stones are the perfect way to enhance your space, and the right stones will boost your home’s appearance exponentially. In this article, we’ll show you the five most important types of garden stones, and what type of project each is best used for.
How to Select the Right Garden Stones for Your Outdoor Space
Landscaping stones are a great way to personalize your garden. Furthermore, they’re a low-maintenance, fireproof way to alter your space in no time, and your garden will adore the help against weeds.
Before purchasing garden stones, consider what your ultimate goals are. Where will you place the stones and for what purpose? What function do you want the stones to serve?
Hard stones work better for driveways, for example. Pebbles make a great fire-proof walkway around a firepit because they’re easy to walk on barefoot, while boulders are awesome decorative features than help flower beds retain moisture. River rocks are fitting around water features such as a man-made pond or fountain.
If you want your garden stones to look in place in your yard, you’ll need to stick with your home’s aesthetic as well. Styling choices, especially using natural stones and rocks, should enhance your homes current appearance rather than distract from it.
Consider Your Home’s Style:
- Modern and contemporary homes tend to stick with flagstone or chipped rock, which offers a clean appearance.
- Spanish homes often offer a cobblestone driveway.
- Colonial homes add boulders to the yard for an edge to an old frame.
- Boho-style homes look great with multicolored stones that show off their fun style.
You’ll also want to consider which stones are most cost-effective, depending on where you live. Local or regional stones don’t cost as much river rocks if you live in the desert, for example. Matching the stones that you select to your local environment will also accent your landscape. However, you can play with the colors to contrast or match your plants, or the exterior of your house.
Think about the area you live in and consider the stones that fit in with your area. Also determine how you can use them to your benefit. Many people add stones into their yard as a way to create a lower-maintenance lawn they no longer need to mow, fertilize, and water constantly.
Finally, some stones work better depending on the type of plants you’re growing. Rocks will help mulch your plants to protect them, but they’ll also reflect and absorb the heat. Some plants may dry out faster as a result and actually require more watering.
5 Types of Garden Stones Perfect for Enhancing Your Space
The following five types of garden stones are the most popular options for gardeners everywhere. They have great features, no matter what kind of landscaping project you have in mind.
1. Decorative Landscape Rock (Small and Large)
Landscape rocks are commonly used to cover garden beds, borders, and planting beds. They make great decorative accents and are relatively maintenance free. These stones come in varying shapes and sizes, and there are a variety of hues you can choose from. The rocks are often between ¾ inch to 3 inches in diameter, and they cover the ground in layers no less than 3 inches thick.
Using landscape rock in a garden can offer various benefits beyond allowing you to create a pleasing aesthetic. This includes aspects such as weed protection and moisture control. Rocks can help retain moisture around shrubs, trees, and other plants, while adding drainage to control natural erosion around your home.
The following common types of landscape rocks people like to use:
- Large or small yellow keystone
- Gray trap
- Small or medium river rock
- Large Bryan red
- Sioux pink quartz
- Purple quartz
- Cloud granite
- Western sunrise
- Fort Dodge white
- Playground gravel
- Crushed granite
Different Rocks for Different Purposes
Some types of decorative garden stones are used for different purposes. Although, the type you select may depend on your use as well as your environment. Finely crushed river rocks are perfect for paths and walkways, for example. Limestone gravel, on the other hand, can alter your soil’s acidity level and negatively affect your plants.
Small landscape rock options include lava rock, pea gravel, river rock, and chipped rock. Each comes in varying colors and textures. Lava rock is great for creating a drought-tolerant garden, while chipped rock makes the perfect mulch for a flowerbed. Compared to gravels used for pathways, lava rock is easier to install because it’s lightweight, and the red or black hues are gorgeous in a desert landscape. In contrast, pea gravel is perfect for a side yard, driveway, walkway, or planting bed due to its smooth texture.
River rocks are best used along a pathway, planting bed, or edging material. They help frame garden paths that appear more fairy-like and wondrous, and you can flex your creative muscle using this material. They come in varying shapes and sizes, allowing you to create new aesthetics with ease.
Finally, crushed granite is a popular choice because it comes in either brown, tan, or gray shades. This rustic material is highly affordable and DIY friendly, even for beginners. Many people use it for driveways, stone gardens, or patios.
2. Landscape Boulders
Boulders are used in landscapes to make walkways or garden border, landscaped water features like fountains, or flagstone paths. These are the heaviest option, so you’ll need to plan out the garden landscape ahead of time to make sure you place them in the right location the first time. Creating a three-foot-tall wall of boulders also requires serious soil reinforcement to keep the stones in place.
When choosing what type of landscape boulder to include in your garden, consider the rock’s features. Chilton limestone, for example, is a common option that’s quite porous. Over time, a porous rock will show more weathering than harder options, like river rocks. For this reason, most of the boulders you find will probably be river rocks. They come in varying sizes and look great as a garden accent.
The most popular landscape boulders include:
- Gray trap rocks boulders
- Moss boulders
- Chilton boulders
- River boulders
River Jack is another popular type of flat boulder that’s awesome in landscaping with a decorative flair. There are also tons of artificial boulders you can buy as alternatives to the more expensive minerals. They’re often made from fiberglass, making them easy to move around the garden alone.
3. Flagstone and Wall Stone
Natural stone has a stunning garden appearance, and you can use flagstones and wall stones to create tons of fun landscaping decorations. Make steps, pavers, pond borders, garden edging, water features, and so much more. These natural stones tend to come in varying textures and colors, so there are endless options to enhance your garden design.
Personally, I love using flagstones to create gorgeous stepping stones or accent pieces to a garden. The natural stone is cut into pieces that are perfect for the task, and they have a non-skid surface that makes them even more ideal for a pathway or trail. Plus, you can use the stones as puzzle pieces to create interesting surfaces on a patio. In addition, it contrasts well with pavement for an artistic touch.
If you want to create a wall using these types of stone, make sure the wall stone is at least 8 inches wide. Rock edging must also be over 4 inches wide, and flagstone isn’t commonly recommended for a driveway.
Common types of flagstone and wall stones include the following types of natural rock:
- Chilton flagstone
- Fond de Lac flagstone
- Snapped Fond du Lac
- Wild horse wall stone
- Rocky Mountain red steppers
- New York bluestone
4. Slate Chips
Large slabs of slate, also called slate chips, are popular accent pieces in a garden. This material is also becoming increasingly popular in gravel form, and the stones come in various colors such as blue, red, gray, and purple. Use them to make a driveway or pathway.
They also make great edging, and the material works as a form of mulch that keeps weeds at bay. Unlike many types of mulches available, using slate chips won’t attract bugs to your garden as well.
5. Glass Gravel
The most uncommon option on this list, glass gravel is made from recycled and broken-down glass. Don’t worry: it’s cleaned and tumbled to get rid of the sharp edges. It’s a great upcycled material you can use to add a pop of color to a garden bed, and it looks great in a false stream or gravel pathway. Plus, the material will last forever and comes in whatever color and size your desire.
A Final Word of Advice
Keep in mind that you’ll also need to line the ground with some type of material before placing the rocks down. While many people use regular plastic sheeting, using a landscape fabric will help the soil breather better and keep rocks from settling into place. You won’t need to refill the rocks near as often as well, which makes your garden easier to maintain over time.