Types Of Landscaping Rocks

Landscaping rocks can be used to great effect in many different types and styles of gardens. They are cost effective, attractive, and relatively simple to care for, which makes them a fantastic addition to many different landscaping designs.

There are also a lot of different varieties of landscaping rock, each with a unique appearance and set of strengths. This makes landscaping rocks a very versatile decorative or functional feature, as different types of rocks can be utilized to create many separate looks with disparate utilitarian features.

Because they have so many benefits, fledgling landscaping designers are often quick to include many different types of landscaping rocks in their plans and sketches. But although the majority of landscaping rocks are quite sturdy and can be used in most sets of circumstances, each type of landscaping rock does have its own unique care requirements.

This is because landscaping rocks are in fact created from stones that have widely differing physical properties and mineral compositions. It is this that makes some types of landscaping rock particularly well suited to certain types of usage, and other less than ideal.

To create a good landscaping design that balances attractiveness with longevity, it is necessary to take these types of rock qualities into account. For those who are using rocks in their next project, here is what you should know about landscaping rock types and their different uses.

Pea Gravel

This attractive blend of rocks often brings to mind the bed of a crystal clear stream. It consists of many different types of rock, all of which are tumbled into smooth forms by the constant motion of a river or stream. Some sources of pea gravel also use a machine tumbling process to simulate the type of erosion caused by the movement of water. Their unique creation process gives these landscaping rocks a beautiful shine and luster, which many people find very attractive. They can also be composed of many different colors or a single hue, which makes them appropriate for many aesthetic themes.

Because the stones that constitute pea gravel are often quite small, it is best utilized as a covering for areas of ground. It makes a good bordering rock, but needs to be help in by some kind of trimming, as the smoothness of the small pebbles makes them susceptible to being washed out of place by rain or other sources of water. Pea gravel can be a little pricey, so it is often used as a small decorative touch. The individual stones are light, so pea gravel is also suitable for planting some types of plants in.

Lava Rock

These porous igneous stones come in many different sizes, which makes them quite versatile. Lava rocks are often used in water efficient gardens as a ground covering, as their many pores hold in water well whenever it is used. They are extremely lightweight, and some types of lava rock are even capable of floating. This makes it an appropriate medium for a variety of different plant types.

Most lava rocks are a light red or dusty pink color. This is a great hue for southern themed landscaping, as it evokes the feeling of a desert. Its highly textured surface helps keep it in place, so lava rock can be used to cover large areas of ground. It is also fairly inexpensive, which further adds to its appropriateness as a rock that is used for covering whole yards or driveways. It can be an attractive and ecologically friendly replacement for a grass covered lawn.


Flagstones are made from types of rock that naturally cleave into large, flat plates, making them perfect for paving. Flagstones are created from many different rocks with widely differing mineral compositions, although they all share the trait of being quite resilient.

These landscaping rocks are the best for creating a path of lane, as their broad and even surfaces are very conducive toward walking. Because most flagstones are flat on both sides, they often require some sort of textural anchoring in order to keep them from shifting over time.

Most landscaper recommend putting down some coarse gravel within a bordered area, as the rough surface produced by the gravel helps stop flagstones from moving. Flagstones tend to have rather irregularly edged shapes, which is widely considered to add to their rustic charm. Most paths made of flagstones will not piece together in a completely regular way.


Finally, the largest rocks used in landscaping are boulders. These rocks can vary widely in size, with some the approximate size of an apple and others the size of a small car. They can be made of many different minerals, and often have differing physical properties. Boulders are generally called boulders because of their size, instead of their composition.

Boulders are rather attention drawing accents, so they are best used as a centerpiece or focal point. A large boulder placed on top of a gravel bed can be a natural way to divide up a large piece of otherwise awkward looking empty space. Boulders can even be put into use as a functional feature. A few boulders around a pool can naturally suggest a sitting area.

Learning about landscaping rock types is essential for creating effective landscaping types. Once you can accurately answer most all queries about landscaping rock types, you will be able to more confidently create rock features that are attractive and long lasting.