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13 Types of Landscaping Rocks & Decorative Stones

Landscaping rocks and decorative stones can add special touches to your landscaping, yard, and garden. Continue reading to find out more details about the different types of landscaping rocks.

Flower garden with lots of colorful flowers along side a large stepping stone pathway filled with tiny gray pebbles in between

When you want to improve the look of your house, the first place you should consider is by enhancing your landscape. When updating the landscaping, homeowners typically consider adding mulch and landscaping. While this is a great way to improve your landscaping, it is not the only choice you can make. 

Landscaping rocks and decorative stones are a great alternative to grass, plants, and mulch. One of the benefits of rocks and stones is they do not require maintenance and energy, including water. These options are an easy solution to what may seem like a difficult problem.

Rocks and stones are a versatile way to provide texture and contrast to your yard without the need for maintenance or recurring expenses. There are many types of rocks, giving you infinite design possibilities.

Continue reading to find out more details about the different types of landscaping rocks.

What are Landscaping Rocks & Decorative Stones?

Landscaping rocks and decorative stones are rocks and stones that add special touches to your landscaping, yard, and garden. You will find them in various sizes and shapes. There are classic looks, or you can select something that is more creative.

You can use rocks and stones in any area of your yard for functional ground cover. They are durable and resistant to color loss and being moved around by strong winds. In addition, rocks and stones help keep the soil moist and do not attract pests, ants, or termites. 

They can be used for pathways and are great alternatives to concrete or pavement. 

Types of Landscaping Rocks & Decorative Stones 

There are many different types of decorative landscaping rocks and decorative stones that are available to you as options for your landscaping.

Beach Pebbles

Close up of small beach pebbles filled in around green plants

Beach pebbles, including Mexican beach pebbles, form over time as water from the ocean moves over particles of loose rocks. This creates a rounded and smooth appearance. The typical size of beach pebbles ranges from 2 mm to 50 mm. 

Beach pebbles range in color from black to translucent white. In addition, they can appear in shades of green, yellow, red, and brown. These pebbles are ideal for garden beds and walkways. 


Green lawn, tall green trees, large boulder in the middle of yard, gray and white home in background, blue sky, sunny day

Boulders are ideal for landscaping purposes. They are large in size, and most likely, you will need to hire someone to deliver them to your home. However, they can add texture to your yard and create a focal point, especially in a rock garden. 

You can place them in creative places around the yard. They are perfect for placement in difficult areas in your yard, such as a place where grass does not grow. Boulders are ideal for use in retaining walls.

Boulders are expensive. They are expensive to move, so you should put them in a place where you know they are going to stay. If you already have boulders in your yard, you should design around them. 

Brick Chips

Close up of red brick chips

Brick chips are a great landscaping rock. They are made from crushed bricks that have been screened and sized specifically for landscaping. Brick chips can help maintain the temperature of the soil while keeping moisture in the soil.

As a result, brick chips help to promote the growth of healthy plants. They will not rot, deteriorate, or fade. They will not attract insects. 

Brick chips are used for walkways, plant beds, and trails. In addition, their resistance to pests makes them ideal to cover the ground in flower beds. 

Crushed Granite

Close up of crushed granite, reddish brown color with black specs

Crushed granite is earth-toned rocks that are small and good for your yard. These rocks are loose and will not create puddles. This is a more expensive option, but it is durable and lasts a long time. 

Crushed granite must have proper drainage and needs stabilization to last longer. Crushed granite looks nature, and as a result, homeowners use it along the edge of the path. It is ideal for creating a nice blending of the pathway and plants. 

Crushed Stones

Close up of crushed stones, gray and tan in color

While crushed stone may appear similar to gravel, they are actually two different things. Crushed stones are often made by machines in quarries. The machines are used to cut large rocks into smaller ones. 

The byproduct of what is done in the quarry is sold for use in landscaping materials and construction. Crushed stone has sides that are angled because of the way they are created. 

Crushed stone is used for paving blocks and concrete for sidewalks, driveways, patios, and homes.

Decomposed Granite 

Close up of decomposed granite, sandy color

If you are looking for a versatile rock, decomposed granite is the right one for you. Decomposed granite has been worn down, and it only consists of small and fine pieces. In addition, it comes in a wide range of colors so that you can find a match for any garden. 

It is ideal for areas that have difficulty with drainage. Decomposed granite is also ideal as a border along the paths of a garden. It can also separate the walking area from the plants. In addition, this type of granite is relatively inexpensive. 


Beautiful yeard with tall lush green trees adn lawn, flasgstone walkway lined with bushes of white flowers on either side

Flagstone is a type of sedimentary rock that has been broken up in layers. Flagstones are versatile, flat, and smooth. There are many types of flagstone, most of which comes from quarries. 

The most affordable flagstone options are sandstone and limestone. In addition, you will find varieties like bluestone and quartzite are popular for use in rock landscaping. These are decorative types of flagstone. 

Flagstone is used mainly for landscaping the front yard and along driveways. In addition, flagstone is commonly used as pavers to create a path along a driveway. 

They can be used for retaining walls or stepping stones in a garden. You may even see flagstone in the backyard around a fire pit. You will see sand or smaller rocks filling in the area between the stones, especially when used as stepping stones. 

Gabion Rock Fences and Walls

Concrete steps next to a flower bed of gabion rock  fenced in by wire creating an enclosed area, green plants and bushes inside

Gabion rock fences and walls are in the way to create a design in your landscaping. This concept is when you create a wall or fence by wrapping wire, or cages, around rocks. 

This is a special feature that you can use in your front yard. You can use any type of rock that you like for a Gabion rock fence and wall. You can also put this feature around your driveway, a water feature, edging for a flower bed, or a rock garden. 

In this feature, the rocks are piled on top of one another. This wall is traditionally used to prevent landslides and soil erosion, but it is being used in residences. This type of retaining wall also helps direct airflow, which can be a cooling factor in a hot climate. 

A Gabion wall feature helps to strengthen the area in which it is built over time because vegetation grows through the rocks. 

Lava Rocks

Close up of lava rock, reddish gray color

Lava rock is also referred to as a volcanic rock. These rocks are created when volcanic lava cools and crystallizes. Then gravel is created from lava rock and found in deep and rich colors, like a burnt red. 

Lava rock is typically used as a rock mulch. This type of rock will not decompose and does not need to be replaced the way mulch does. In addition, they are porous, which means they are ideal for areas with drainage. 

Lava rock helps to prevent weeds from growing. Combining lava rock with landscaping fabric under it is an effective way to prevent weeds from growing. In addition, lava rocks are great insulators from cold and heat for soil in the garden.

Marble Rocks

Close up of marble rocks, most are crystal white some with a touch of golden yellow

Marble rocks usually give you a sense of luxury. Typically that is because of its striking white color. Professionals commonly use it. However, it is more expensive than other options. 

Marble rocks will not crack or fade over time. This type of stone has a high pH which makes the soil around it more alkaline over time. This can be incredibly beneficial to certain plants, like hydrangea. They will change colors based on the acid in the soil. 

Marble rock is not great for a flower bed of flowers that require acidic soil. However, if your garden does not get much sun, marble rock is a great way to brighten it. They blend well with red and black lava rocks.

Marble rocks are great for creating walkways and paths in high traffic areas. They are also great as an accent to your garden. 

Pea Gravel

Close up of Pea Gravel, tiny earthtoned pebbles

Pea gravel is landscaping rock that is made up of rocks that are typically the size of a pea. They are appealing because of their smooth finish. They not only look nice, but they feel good to touch. 

Pea gravel is an affordable option making it a popular choice. It is not unusual to find pea gravel around streams and rivers. It is incredibly versatile and is great in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. 

Pea gravel is often used in playgrounds, dog parks, and walkways. It is also used around seating areas and walking paths. In addition, it is a great option to place around a fire pit. Finally, this type of landscaping rock is great in areas where there are drainage needs, even if it is underground. 

Retaining Wall Rocks

Retaining wall made out of large stones and rocks, purple, pink and white flowers in flower beds

Using rocks in a retaining wall is a great way to add a unique look to your landscaping. Many different types of rocks can be used in a retaining wall. Some of the more popular rocks are sandstone, limestone, and granite. Unfortunately, these types of rocks also require the use of mortar. 

Retaining walls are an important part of the landscape. When building one, you need to consider its purpose, your budget, and the final height desired. 

River Rocks

Close up of river rocks, red, brown, yellow, gray and greenish colors, smooth and wet from the water

River rocks are a smooth rocks and a durable alternative to mulch for use in landscaping. In addition, river rocks are naturally attractive and are used to fill in the space between stepping stones. 

River rocks come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Most people prefer their river rocks to be about one inch wide, but they can be found as wide as three inches. 

River rocks are also ideal for areas that require drainage. They are great for use in the backyard, especially around a water feature. They can also be used in the front yard as a decorative item. 

It is important to note that weeds can grow between river rocks and may be difficult to remove. 

How Much Do Landscaping Rocks & Decorative Stones Cost?

As you know there are many types of landscaping rocks from which you can choose. When you are considering using landscaping rocks in your yard, price is important, especially if you have a large area to cover. Therefore, it is important to know which are cheap rocks before you begin to plan out your design. 

The cost of landscaping rocks and installation varies based on where you live and who you have doing your installation. These are average prices that you can expect, but the prices will have slight variations based on where you live. 

The chart below contains the average cost of decorative rock options:

 River rocks

  • $45 – $130 per ton
  • $50 – $160 per yard
  • $15 – $35 per bag

  Lava rocks

  • $80 – $240 per ton
  • $50 – $140 per yard
  • $20 – $50 per bag

  Large boulders

  • $100 – $350 per ton

  Crushed stone & gravel

  • $10 – $50 per ton
  • $15 – $75 per yard

  White stones

  • $650 – $1,300 ton
  • $15 – $40 per bag

  Beach pebbles

  • $475 – $800 per ton
  • $25 – $60 per bag

  Crushed or decomposed granite

  • $45 – $95 per ton
  • $70 – $130 per yard

You can expect a landscaping rock project to cost an average price of $250 to $1,500. The cost for a ton of rock is about $45 to $130 or $50 to $160 a cubic yard. This is typical for decorative stones, river rocks, and lava rocks. When looking at large landscaping rocks, you can expect the cost to be about $100 to $350 a ton. 

You can expect one ton of river rock to cover about 55 to 135 square feet at 2 to 4 inches deep. This does depend on the size of the river rock. Since river rock varies from about 1 to 3 inches wide, you may have some slight variances in how much 1 ton covers. 

When looking at a cubic yard of river rock, you can expect it to cover about 75 to 170 square feet. Again, this is a layer of 2 to 4 inches. This amount of river rock weighs somewhere between 2,400 pounds to 2,700 pounds. 

Lava rock can be found in bags at a home improvement store. You can find it in bags ranging from 10 pounds to 50 pounds. You can also have it delivered in a larger quantity. 

Large landscaping rocks are priced per ton. The size of the boulders dictates how many you will get. If the rocks are about 18 inches, you can expect 8 to 10 in a ton. However, one 36 inch boulder is equal to a ton. 

Stepping stones range from $1 to $10 a square foot. If you are looking for a custom shape, the price goes up to about $30 a square foot. 

What Are the Sizes of Landscaping Rocks & Decorative Stones?

There are a variety of sizes for rocks and stones for decorative purposes. However, there are some typical sizes that you will find for each type of rock and stone. 

Depending on the design you want, you will find large rocks for landscaping, or you may need smaller rocks. Using larger rocks, you can create centerpieces for varying landscapes, most commonly retaining walls.

The typical size for large rocks can range from half the size of your body or as large as several people. These rocks can be extremely heavy. These large rocks are ideal for support and decoration.

River rocks are a popular option that is most often found in one inch in diameter. They can be found in 3/4 inch to 2 inches. There are times when you may need a larger diameter rock. 

You may want smaller rocks when using river rocks in flowerbeds. However, when using in a walkway or path, you may want medium to larger size rocks. 

Gravel tends to be smaller as it is usually crushed. As a result, you will find chips and dust in gravel. You can expect that any gravel you purchase is going to be 5/8 inch or less. This helps it to compact much easier, which creates a smoother surface. 

Pea gravel is one of the smallest types of gravel that you will find. As a result, it is more comfortable to walk on. This type of gravel is best around pools or playground. In addition, it is often used in fountains and aquariums. 

What Color Options Do I Have?

Rocks, stone, and gravel come in a wide range of colors. Some stones, like marble, only come in one color. In general, you can find these rocks in a varying range of colors. 

In addition to coming in a variety of colors, rocks also come in a wide variety of textures. Therefore, a great way to create a dramatic and contrasting landscape is to combine two different colors and textures of rocks.

You will find rocks in hot colors such as yellow, red, and orange. This gives your landscape or garden a bright focal point. In addition, this can create a warm feeling in your garden.

You can also find cool colors such as white, green, blue, soft pink, and pale yellow. This creates a more traditional feeling in your garden or landscape. 

Where Can I Buy Landscaping Rocks & Decorative Stones?

Local home improvement or garden centers can offer landscaping rocks and decorative stones. You will be able to find a small amount of them the shelves and in bags that you can grab and go. 

If you need a larger amount, you can have either of these places deliver the rocks to your location. You can also contact a professional landscaper who can deliver rocks or stones to you. 

There are also online retailers where you can purchase stones and rocks and deliver them to your home. There may be limitations on this based on the local delivery area of the company.