On a Landscaping Budget? River Rocks Are Your Versatile Friend

Posted on: 26 February 2021

Landscaping can be costly, but it doesn't have to be. Even if you're on a budget, you can turn your yard into a calming garden by finding supplies that can serve more than one function. River rocks are among those supplies. These rocks range in size from about 1 to 5 inches, or thereabouts, and they're smooth, shiny rocks that you can use for several purposes in the garden.

Line a Landscape Drain

A rock river is a garden drain that helps channel runoff away from your home and your flowerbeds. The name brings to mind the "river" that the rocks seem to form. River rock is perfect for this as the rocks come in enough sizes to allow the "river" to be fairly well-packed but not tightly packed with rocks. Some water flows through openings between rocks, where it can soak into the soil, while the rest of the water flows over the rocks to other openings or down to a storm drain. The rocky layer helps filter out larger debris and spread the water along a longer path to the drain, rather than letting all this water pool at one point in your yard.

Make Your Garden Glow 

You may have heard of moon gardens, in which plants with white flowers and silvery foliage are planted in a spot where the light reflected from the full moon makes the flowers and foliage seem to glow, lighting up a section of the garden. Not only can you add lighter-colored river rocks to these gardens, but you can place white and light-colored river rock near garden path lights to help give visibility a boost. While the rocks aren't unusually reflective, light hitting a light-colored object does appear a bit brighter in many cases. Give it a try with a couple of lights, and if you like the effect, create more spots with these lights and light-colored rocks.

Create a Small Rock Garden 

Rock gardens are those that hold plants known for growing in rocky environments—the plants that grow in between boulders, for example, or those small flowers you see in pictures of alpine and rocky desert regions. Larger rock gardens benefit from having larger rocks, but with river rocks that are toward the larger end of their size range, about 5 inches, you can create a mini rock garden for a few plants. Ensure good drainage in the soil underneath the rocks, and take care to provide the right amount of sunlight. You can stick these smaller rock gardens in empty corners among other beds.

River rock comes in many shades and shapes, and the smooth surfaces of the rocks are lovely to feel. Take time to look at construction supply catalogs and garden centers (pandemic permitting) to see how river rocks are used in those samples. You can also contact services like A & A Materials for further assistance.