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Landscaping Stones Cost

Landscaping Stones Cost

National average
$600
(20 sq.ft. dry river bed made of pea gravel and mixed river stones)
Low: $120

(25 sq.ft. patio seating area of pea gravel 3-inches deep)

High: $4,000

(200 sq.ft. patio seating area of Mexican river stone 3-inches deep)

Cost to install landscaping stones varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from lawn care and gardening professionals in your city.

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Landscaping Stones Cost

National average
$600
(20 sq.ft. dry river bed made of pea gravel and mixed river stones)
Low: $120

(25 sq.ft. patio seating area of pea gravel 3-inches deep)

High: $4,000

(200 sq.ft. patio seating area of Mexican river stone 3-inches deep)

Cost to install landscaping stones varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from lawn care and gardening professionals in your city.

The average cost of landscaping stones is $600.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Landscape Stones?

Landscaping rocks add color, interest, and utility to your yard. You can use them as long-lasting mulch around garden beds, to create paths and walkways, to make a dry creek river bed for drainage, and more. They come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and textures, so you can mix and match to get the ideal appearance for your project.

Having these options means there will be a range of associated costs. The average cost range for installing landscaping rocks is between $250 and $2,500, with most people spending around $600 on making a 20-foot long dry river bed.

Cost to Install Landscaping Stones

Landscaping Stones Costs
National average cost$600
Average range$250-$2,500
Minimum cost$120
Maximum cost$4,000


Landscape Stone Pricing by Type

Landscaping stones have a wide range of associated costs, and for a specific rock type, you may find cost variations by color and size:


Landscape stone pricing by type

Landscape stone pricing by type


Landscaping StoneCost
Decomposed granite$25 - $50/ton
Pea gravel$30 - $60/ton
River rocks$45 - $280/ton
Riprap$60 - $85/ton
Crushed granite gravel$75 - $100/ton
Bull rock$75 - $100/ton
Boulders$100 - $200/ton
Lava rock$120 - $200/ton
Mexican beach pebbles$800 - $900/ton


Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite is a fine stone that is used for driveways, walkways, and patios. It comes in a wide range of colors and can be sifted or unsifted, with the sifted varieties often costing more. It costs between $25 and $50 a ton.

Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is a little harder with larger pieces than decomposed granite. It is fairly uniform in color and used in drainage beds below the more decorative stones to help build up the height. It can be found in several colors and costs between $30 and $60 a ton.

River Rocks

River rocks are smooth stones that come in many sizes and colors. They cost between $45 and $280 a ton. We will discuss them in detail in a dedicated section below.

Riprap

Riprap is the rocky, rough stone that comes in several sizes used to line slopes and large areas. It is less decorative than other stones and more uniform in color. It has a very natural appearance that works well in many landscapes. It costs between $60 and $85 a ton.

Crushed Granite Gravel

Crushed granite is slightly larger in size than decomposed granite and has more color and variation than pea gravel. It can be used as a liner for drainage areas or on walkways, driveways, and patios. It costs between $75 and $100 a ton.

Bull Rock

Bull rock is large, rough pieces of rock, more rounded in appearance than riprap. It creates a rugged and natural-looking bed and landscape and is used as filler and in conjunction with other rocks. It costs between $75 and $100 a ton.

Boulders

Boulders make nice accents, usually placed in dry beds or in the middle of rocky landscaping. They can be used to accent ponds and water features as well. They start at sizes of roughly 16 inches and cost between $100 and $200 a ton.

Lava Rock

Lava rock is an igneous rock formed from cooled volcanic lava. It is a type of foamed obsidian and has a mixture of textures from glassy to rough. It is porous and durable, making it good for drainage and mulching. It costs between $120 and $200 a ton.

Mexican Beach Pebbles

Mexican beach pebbles are small, rounded stones that may be uniform in color or have variation between them. They are hand-picked from beaches and sorted for uniformity. They cost between $800 and $900 a ton.

Cost of River Rocks

River rocks are stones taken from the bottom of rivers and creek beds or old, dried beds. They are round and smooth in appearance and range in size from 1 inch up to several inches. They can be matte or glossy and come in a variety of colors. They have a wide range of costs, depending on the location they were taken from, color, size, and uniformity. The average range is $45 to $200 a ton.

River Rock Cost Per Yard

A cubic yard of river rocks has a wide range of costs, starting at about $130 a cubic yard and going up to around $910 a cubic yard, depending on the color and size of the rock.

River Rock Costs Per Ton

Depending on the size of the rocks, a ton can cover 70% - 75% of a cubic yard. Costs for river rocks per ton have average prices from $100 to $280, depending on the color and size.

Cost of Landscape Rock Per Square Foot

A cubic yard yields anything from 81 to 162 square feet, depending on the size of the material and depth you want it to cover. The cost of rock per square foot ranges from $1.24 to $8.64.

River Rock Prices by Type

River rock prices vary depending on the type and color, with more rare colors usually costing more:


River rock prices by typeRiver rock prices by type


River RockCost
Colorado$80 - $280/ton
Rainbow$100 - $200/ton
White$150- $200/ton
Arizona$150 - $200/ton
Cherokee$150 - $200/ton
Salt and Pepper$175 - $280/ton


How Much Is a Truckload of Rocks?

Ordering a truckload of rocks has a wide range of costs, depending on the rock type, rock size, and the size of the truck. Assuming that a truck delivers roughly 90 cubic feet of rocks, expect to pay between $2,700 to $18,000. If you order rocks in larger quantities, most landscaping suppliers offer a discount for volume.

The average homeowner usually purchases 1 - 6 tons of material, costing between $25 and $1,680, depending on the type of rock you order.

Cost to Install Landscape Rocks

Most landscapers charge by the hour to landscape with rocks, including putting down any weed-blocking fabric and moving and arranging the rocks to the desired area. Landscaping costs per hour are between $50 and $100. Installing rocks can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, depending on the size of the job. For a 20-foot dry river bed installation, expect to pay roughly $150 in labor costs. Larger jobs take longer and cost more than smaller jobs. The more detailed the work, the higher the costs.

How to Landscape with Rocks

Rocks have a variety of uses within landscaping. They can be the main attraction, an accent, a border, or a field for other features. The following ideas might give you a glimpse into what you may be able to create:

Boulder Border and Steps

Use boulders to anchor your beds, traverse small hills, and create a more defined area within your garden or yard.


Beautiful garden with boulder border and steps


Mulch

You can use river rocks as a form of mulch around your beds. Rocks help with drainage and soil erosion while also adding visual interest.


Exterior garden with mulch landscaping rocks


Walkway

Create a walkway with river rocks. You can use the rocks themselves or combine them with larger stepping stones to highlight the walk.


Stone walkway in a rock garden


Water Feature

If you have a water feature in your landscaping, you can include boulders and other rocks to build up the edges and create a more dynamic design.


Beautiful backyard landscape design


Seating Areas

Make a seating area within your garden using gravel and some flat stones. This kind of change from grass to rock helps delineate the space.


A newly landscaped flowerbed with flat rocks


Borders and River Beds

You can make a dry river bed or border of stones to separate areas or act as a drain, directing water flow within your yard.


Paver patio with a fire pit


Patio

You can create a terrace or patio using crushed stone or gravel, rather than using pavers or larger stones. This is a much less expensive way to cover a large area than it would be with pavers.


House and garden with a terrace patio and french doors, gravel hard landscaping


Rock Garden Design Ideas

Many people use rocks specifically to create types of gardens beyond simply using the rocks in their landscaping:

English Rock Garden

English rock gardens usually feature one or more large boulders that become the centerpiece for many smaller plants. The plants may grow over and around the rocks so that they occupy the same space.


English rock surrounded by plants


Alpine Rock Garden

Alpine rock gardens feature patterns of rocks or terraces of rocks mixed with a variety of plants. This steppe garden is a good example of an Alpine rock garden.


Exterior garden with alpine rocks


Zen Garden

Zen rock gardens feature stones set in sand, decomposed rock, or crushed stone. You can change the pattern of the rocks and sand to create different looks.


Garden with zen rocks


Japanese Rock Garden

Japanese rock gardens take on many forms. They usually have a bed of rocks, however, that surround single plants or statues.


Japanese rock garden with plants


Rustic Rock Garden

Rustic gardens use riprap or bull rocks in loose piles to surround singular plants. The plants and the rocks are designed to give a hardy appearance to the area.


Rustic rock garden


What Color Landscape Rock Should I Use?

Landscape rocks come in a wide range of colors, from single color to mixed palettes. When it comes to choosing a color, there is no right or wrong answer. Many people like to use rocks from nearby areas so that they blend in with the existing natural landscape features, while others choose a rock that will stand out. Most landscapers recommend not becoming too picky about the color because the more exacting you become, the higher the cost goes when attempting to match it.

Cost of River Rock vs Wood Mulch

River rocks and chipped wood are two varieties of mulch, or a material used to conserve water, prevent erosion, and line garden beds. Wood mulch is one of the most common types because it is inexpensive and helps your garden beds retain moisture. However, it needs to be replenished frequently, so it has long-term costs to consider.

Rocks have a higher upfront cost, but last 15 years or more without needing any maintenance or care, making it a one-time investment. Rocks also help with water drainage and conservation but do not enrich the soil in the same way that wood mulch does. So, it is important to consider what you want the mulch to do.

Rock mulch has a starting cost of $2.50 a square foot, with some varieties costing $8.50 a square foot. Wood mulch is less expensive, costing $0.90 to $1.10 a square foot, but you need to add more every 1 - 2 years, making rocks less costly in the long term.

Landscape Rock Removal Cost

If you have a rock you want removed from your property or have a lot of gravel to be moved, expect to pay anywhere from $150 for a single boulder to $450 for a patio of gravel. The bulk of rock removal costs is in the labor. Small rocks can be picked up using a rock vacuum, but larger rocks may need excavators or heavy equipment, which influences the price.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Boulder Retaining Wall

Stacked stone and boulder retaining walls have costs starting at $20 a linear foot, going much higher for large boulders. Expect to pay at least $50 a linear foot for a large boulder retaining wall.

Glow in the Dark Garden Pebbles

If you want to have your garden path show up at night, add glow-in-the-dark garden pebbles, which are a type of glowing resin shaped like rocks. Scatter them on top of your landscaping pebbles to light up the area at night. They cost around $20 to $40 for 100 rocks.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Any type of mulch, including rock mulch and larger rocks, may attract snakes. If you live in an area with venomous snakes, you may want to consider other landscaping options.
  • Rocks are generally cheaper when purchased in bulk directly from suppliers. This can be by the pallet or truckload, depending on your needs.
  • Look for stones mined from your local area to keep costs down and to create a color palette that blends in with your natural landscaping. You can also use native rocks in drought-ridden areas to help reduce water usage while complementing your existing landscaping.
  • If you have high-traffic areas in your landscaping, such as walkways and driveways, rocks hold up better to trampling than other ground covers.
  • Pea gravel, lava rocks, and other similar stones absorb and retain heat. They release this heat when the sun goes down, warming the area. This increases both day and nighttime temperatures around and in your home.

FAQs

  • Should I put landscape fabric under rocks?

Yes, landscape fabric keeps weeds from growing up through your rocks.

  • What is the cheapest rock for landscaping?

This depends on your area, but generally, decomposed granite or pea gravel are the least expensive.

  • How do you keep landscape rocks from sinking?

You may need to backfill the area to keep the rocks from sinking. Using a combination of different rocks, such as pea gravel, under river rocks may help.

  • Does rock landscaping attract bugs?

Rocks do not attract bugs as much as earth, plants, and wood mulch landscaping. Some bugs may burrow beneath the rocks, however.

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Cost to install landscaping stones varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Natural stone landscaping in home garden

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Anderson, IN
-20%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Bremerton, WA
-18%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buckeye, AZ
-2%
Chandler, AZ
-2%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbia, MO
-19%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Durham, NC
-1%
Easton, CT
+63%
Elmhurst, IL
+42%
Fairborn, OH
-15%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Garland, TX
+8%
Gillette, WY
+4%
Glasgow, WV
0%
Glen Ellyn, IL
+42%
Hartford, CT
+23%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Keller, TX
+20%
Lafayette, CO
-6%
Lake Worth, FL
-2%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lincoln, NE
-13%
Livermore, CA
+35%
Lombard, IL
+42%
Lompoc, CA
0%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lynchburg, VA
-23%
Mansfield, GA
-12%
Mansfield, OH
-14%
Maricopa, AZ
-2%
Matthews, NC
-4%
Labor cost in your zip code
Methodology and sources