Pick Your Stone: Here’s How to Choose the Right Garden Stones for Your Garden

Natural stone steps and retaining wall, planter and garden border framing home entrance. Beautiful hardscape, colorful landscape design

With so many different styles to pick, deciding on the best landscaping stones for your garden can be overwhelming.

When picking garden stones, you need to consider the size and style of the rock as well as the composition. Each stone type is best suited for a particular purpose. Yet with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to find the right information.

Where do you start?

We’ve put together the most common stones used in gardening and the best uses for each type. We’ll also share tips and advice on how to create a beautiful and unique garden.

The Most Common Decorative Garden Stones

When decorating a garden, there many factors to consider before picking the right stone for the area.

For example, how big is the space? What colors do you like? And what types of textures and styles work with your yard?

Some types of garden stones are common because they are versatile and work in any area. If you’re unsure where to start, you might like these popular types.

  • River rock or pebbles
  • Boulders
  • Cobblestones
  • Paddle stones
  • Gravel or pea gravel
  • Personalized or engraved stones
  • Lava rock
  • Flagstone

These are only a few of many options for your garden. In areas by the beach, many people use crushed shells in their landscaping. It comes down to your preferences and the area you live in.

Each type of rock is suited for a different purpose, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

Large or Small? How to Pick the Size of Your Garden Stones

Depending on how large or small your gardening area is, certain stones will fit better in the space. For example, you wouldn’t want to put an oversized boulder in a tiny vegetable garden.

Using the wrong type of stone for landscaping is one of the garden mistakes you want to avoid. So keep size in mind when planning.

Small Rocks and Pebbles

If you have a small garden bed or an area where large rocks don’t look right, use pebbles. Pea gravel or tiny river pebbles are tiny rocks that become smooth in the wind and water.

Because of the small size of the rocks, pea gravel can get washed away by rain. When putting this type of garden stone down make sure to place a border to keep it in place.

River Rock and Rainbow Rock

These stones are larger than gravel but not as big as other types. Like pea gravel, river rock is worn down by wind and water making it smooth and shiny. River rock can come in a variety of colors and sizes, making it very versatile.

River rock works well in dry river beds, a walking pathway, or spread around flower beds.

Rainbow rock is similar to river rock and shares many of the same properties. It comes in different sizes and colors but is another mid-size gardening stone.

Like river rock, rainbow rock looks great as ground covering or around flower beds.

Lava Rock

When picking the right stone for gardens, you should also consider the color of the rock. Lava rock has a unique reddish color but it can also be completely black.

As the name suggests, this type of stone comes from lava domes and is a popular choice in desert landscaping. Because it’s lightweight and cheap to transport, you can cover large areas with lava rock without spending too much.

Keep in mind, because lava rock absorbs heat and raises the soil temperature. It may not be a good fit around certain plants.

Cobblestone, Paddle Stone, and Flagstone

These large, flat rocks are ideal for paving walkways or creating walls in your garden. Using cobblestone, paddle stone, or flagstone can add visual interest to your space.

Are you growing vegetables in your garden? Use flat rocks to create a wall or barrier around your vegetables and herbs. Not only does this look appealing, but it also protects your plants.

Boulders and Large Stones

Because of their large size, boulders are focal points in your garden. They can fill up an empty space in a large garden or make your yard look more natural. If you have a water feature, a boulder can add dramatic appeal.

Due to their size and weight, these stones can be expensive to ship. Keep this in mind when creating a budget for your garden.

Picking a Theme for Your Garden

Many people decide to go with a theme for their garden. This can be anything from landscaping elements in an area to a color scheme that you want to carry through.

For example, desert gardens often use lava rock and may have cacti or succulents. Beach gardens can have coastal elements like crushed shells or nautical decorations.

You can also borrow ideas from other countries and locales. Recreate a traditional English garden or a peaceful Japanese rock garden. Use pictures and combine different stones with plants found in that area.

If you’re creating a themed garden keep in mind the area that you live in and the cost of the project and materials.

Decorative Garden Stone for Walkways and Paths

If your garden has a path, combine different stones for more visual appeal.

Flat rocks such as flagstone look even better when combined with river rocks or boulders. Landscaping rocks are more stable so use them between pavers instead of small stones like pea gravel.

There are almost no limits to what you can do with a garden path. And installing the stone is easy with the right materials.

Southwest Stone Supply makes stone installation simple with Instant Lock Adhesive. Not only does the product work on stone, but it also works on glass, ceramic tile, metal, and more.

Create a Functional and Stylish Garden

Choosing the right stones for gardening can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Consider the location you live and any themes that you want to recreate in your garden.

When picking garden stones, mix and match sizes to create more visual appeal. This works especially well when making a stone pathway.

Landscaping a garden is a lot of fun and you can add value to your home. Combine functionality and style to create the perfect space for you and your family.

For more tips about making your house a home, check out our other Home and Garden articles.

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