How to Use Rocks & Stones for Cheap Landscaping

Colorful rocks can add interest to your landscape.

Use rocks in home landscaping to protect plants, reduce erosion and add interest. Fill in bare areas with small stones. Create focal points with volcanic boulders. Set out rocks in all one color for a unified effect, in contrasting colors -- such as black and red lava rocks -- for variety or use multiple colors to create designs. Landscaping suppliers offer many options. Rocks come cheap, considering they retain their usefulness for generations.

Step 1

Place the boulders in large areas of the yard. They shelter fragile plants from wind and help discourage animals from digging. Placing large and medium rocks throughout planting areas protects flower beds and other garden projects.

Step 2

Place small rocks next to each other along the edges of planting areas. They reduce erosion, weed creep and mulch loss. A size of 7 inches is a guideline; it's fine if the rocks vary in size.

Step 3

Fill in with stones or gravel to provide an ornamental feature and protect the roots of plants from heat and cold. The stone ground cover also reduces weeds. Avoid using solid stones around the base of plants, as they may hold in too much moisture and cause root rot. Rhododendrons like lava gravel, and lava rocks are porous.

Step 4

Create a rock garden, using rocks of all colors and sizes. Spread them out in an unused area of the yard. Add plants such as ferns, Irish moss, babies tears and impatiens for a shady area, and succulents and cactus in the sun. Find pictures online and in magazines for inspiration. Circles, spirals, labyrinths, mounds and rock walls make eye-catching landscape features and have been used as decorations for ages. Depending on your climate, you may be able to grow tropical plants in the rock garden; bird of paradise and banana trees create a jungle effect.


Build a solar fountain with some of the rocks or create a ring of rocks around an existing fountain to integrate it into the landscape design.

Things You'll Need

  • Small stones or gravel

  • Small rocks, 7 inches or smaller

  • 9 boulders, 12 inches and larger

  • Rocks in assorted sized and colors


Use work gloves and a hand truck for moving heavy rocks.