Decorative Rock
22Sep 23

Choosing the Right Decorative Rock: A Comprehensive Guide

Landscaping is an art form that allows landscapers to express their creativity and enhance the beauty of any outdoor space. One of the key elements in any landscaping project is the choice of decorative rock.  Decorative rocks can transform a plain garden into a stunning oasis, add texture and color to outdoor spaces, and serve functional purposes like erosion control and weed suppression. However, with a wide variety of rocks available in different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, selecting the right decorative rock for the landscape project can take time and effort.  This article will guide you through the important things to think about and give you helpful information to help you make a smart choice.

Understanding the Purpose of Decorative Rocks

Before diving into the world of decorative rocks, it’s crucial to understand the primary purposes they can serve in your landscaping project:

1. Aesthetics

Decorative rocks can enhance the visual appeal of any landscape by providing contrast, texture, and color. They can create focal point pathways or add character to the garden.

2. Functionality

Besides their decorative aspect, rocks can serve functional purposes such as retaining soil, preventing erosion, and controlling weeds. These rocks are often called “functional rocks” and serve a dual role in landscaping.

3. Water Management

Some rocks are excellent for drainage and water control, making them valuable additions to gardens prone to flooding or erosion.

4. Low Maintenance

Decorative rocks require less maintenance than traditional grass or garden beds. This can save you time and money in the long run.

Types of Decorative Rocks

Now that you understand the various purposes decorative rocks can serve, let’s explore the different types of rocks available for your landscaping project:

1. River Rock

River rocks are smooth, rounded stones typically found in riverbeds. They come in various sizes and colours, making them versatile for aesthetics and functionality.

2. Pea Gravel

These small, smooth stones are perfect for creating pathways or ground cover. They come in various colours, with beige, grey, and white common options.

3. Crushed Gravel

It is a popular choice for driveways and walkways. It consists of crushed stone and can vary in size and colour, offering aesthetic and functional benefits.

4. Flagstone

Flagstone is a flat, sedimentary rock perfect for creating stepping stones, patios, and pathways. It comes in various colours and is known for its natural, rustic appearance.

5. Lava Rock

Lava rock is lightweight and porous, making it an excellent choice for garden mulch. It comes in shades of red and black and is often used to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

6. Boulders

Large decorative boulders can boldly describe your landscape design. They can be strategically placed as focal points or used for retaining walls.

7. Granite

Granite is a durable and versatile option available in various colors. It can be used for pathways, edging, or as a focal point in the garden.

Choosing the Right Size and Color

The size and color of decorative rocks are crucial factors that can significantly impact the overall aesthetics of your landscaping project:

1. Size

Consider the scale of your project when selecting the size of your rocks. Larger rocks can create a bold and dramatic effect, while smaller rocks are better suited for ground cover or subtle accents. Mixing different sizes can add depth and texture to your design.

2. Colour

The color of decorative rocks can dramatically influence the mood and style of the outdoor space. Earthy tones like browns and greys create a natural, serene atmosphere, while vibrant colours like red or blue can add a touch of excitement.

3. Contrast

Using contrasting colors can create visual interest in your design. For example, pairing dark rocks with light-colored paving stones can make pathways stand out.

4. Consistency

If you prefer a cohesive and polished look, stick to one or two dominant colors throughout your landscaping project. On the other hand, a mix of colours can create a more eclectic and natural feel.

Considerations for Functional Rocks

If you’re using decorative rocks for functional purposes such as erosion control or weed suppression, here are some additional factors to consider:

1. Permeability

Depending on the client’s needs, you may want rocks that allow water to pass through (porous) or inhibit water flow (non-permeable). Porous rocks are excellent for drainage, while non-permeable rocks can help control erosion.

2. Placement

Proper placement of functional rocks is crucial. For erosion control, rocks should be strategically positioned along slopes or water runoff paths. To suppress weeds, a layer of landscape fabric should be laid beneath the rocks to prevent weed growth.

3. Size and Shape

The size and shape of functional rocks should align with their intended purpose. For example, angular rocks are better for retaining walls, while rounded river rocks are ideal for preventing erosion.

Installation and Maintenance

Once you’ve chosen the right decorative rocks for your project, proper installation and maintenance are essential for long-lasting beauty and functionality:

1. Preparation

Clear the area of debris, weeds, and any existing landscaping materials. Create a level base for your rocks, ensuring proper drainage if needed.

2. Edging

Consider using edging materials like bricks or metal to contain the rocks and prevent them from spilling into unwanted areas.

3. Weed Control

As mentioned, using landscape fabric beneath the rocks can help prevent weed growth. However, periodic maintenance may still be required to remove any weeds that manage to penetrate.

4. Cleaning

Decorative rocks can accumulate dirt and debris over time. Regularly clean them with a leaf blower or a garden hose to maintain their appearance.

5. Replenishing

Depending on the type of rock and the foot traffic in your landscape, you may need to replenish rocks occasionally. Keep some extra rocks on hand for this purpose.

Budget Considerations

Your budget significantly influences selecting the right decorative rocks for your landscape project. Consider the following factors:

1. Cost of Rocks

Different types of rocks come at varying price points. Some, like river rocks, can be relatively affordable, while others, like rare or exotic stones, can be expensive.

2. Project Size

The size of your landscaping project will dictate how much decorative rock you need. Measure the area accurately to estimate the quantity required.

3. Long-Term Savings

While some initial investments in decorative rocks may be higher, consider the long-term savings in maintenance and water usage that come with using rocks instead of traditional landscaping materials.


Choosing the right decorative rock is crucial in any landscaping project. By considering the purpose, type, size, colour, functionality, budget, local climate, and environmental factors, you can make an informed choice that enhances the beauty of the outdoor space and ensures its longevity and functionality. Whether aiming for a serene Zen garden or a vibrant desert oasis, the right decorative rocks can turn your landscaping dreams into reality. Wholesale Stone Solutions offers expert guidance for choosing the perfect decorative rocks. They provide valuable information and a wide range of options to ensure you make the best choice for your landscaping project. Trust their expertise to enhance the outdoor space with the right decorative stones.