smooth rocks

5 Best Types of Landscaping Rocks for Your Outdoor Spaces

Is the outside of your house looking a bit bare-bones? That garden of yours seems a bit too basic for your, and others, tastes? Here’s a secret: your garden needs rocks. And not just the pretty rocks, but all kinds—gravel rocks, lava rock, river rock, decomposed granite, even brick chips.

Here’s what they can do for your garden!

A Background on Hardscaping

The use of rocks in art goes back to the rock paintings from the Stone Age, through the geoglyphs such as the Nazca in Peru or the Uffington White Horse. There are also countless sculptures and carvings from the medieval ages.

Rock gardens have continued to increase in popularity, primarily due to how ideal they are for both residential and commercial gardens. They are easier to maintain and drain while managing to look naturally great. One of the most popular types is a Japanese rock garden, which you might know better by the name of a zen garden.

Now, before you start gathering all the rocks in your yard or even buying rocks by the sack load, five particular rock types will be useful in this endeavor.

Gravel Rocks

First off are gravel rocks, the most common of which are either pea gravel or crushed granite gravel.

Relatively easy to install, pea gravel usually comes in ¼-inch to ⅛-inch sizes, hence the name. It comes in a range of colors, such as gray, white, yellow, tan and brown. It may be used in paths, patios, driveways and even as space fillers between stone pavers. While often overlooked as mulch material, it actually can suppress weed growth and retain moisture. It doesn’t even decompose like organic mulch!

The other type of gravel you’ll see is crushed granite gravel rocks. Utah homeowners use these as a transition between their garden’s plants and pathways.

Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are vibrant and beautiful additions to your garden. Though pricey, they are lightweight and as such are easy to move and spread around. How they absorb heat during the day and release it during the night makes them ideal for hot and dry climates.

River Rocks

Though larger than pea gravel, river rocks are clear winners when it comes to the variety of sizes, costs, and colors. Smoother in texture and higher in density, these round rocks are often used to mimic a dry creek running through your garden. They are also effective as drainage.

Decomposed Granite

In comparison to crushed granite gravel, decomposed granite gives your garden a soft and rustic look with its reddish-tan color and sandy texture. It’s an affordable option that can be bought anywhere. You can use it around trees and garden trails as well as ground cover if you don’t want to use large amounts of water for irrigation.

They are best used on a firm surface but note that they’re not that effective in removing weeds.

Brick Chips

Landscaped ground with brick chips

Brick chips aren’t technically a rock, but they’re still a relatively popular choice. Brick chips are made of the crushed fragments of bricks. They unsurprisingly come in reddish and brown hues. This type of “rock” is great for driveways and landscaping paths.

Rocks may sound boring at first, but with a little imagination and some effort put in, you’ll be able to make an excellent looking garden at less of a cost than you would have with other ideas. If worse comes to worst, you can always hire a landscape architect if you want.

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