How to Maintain Rock Landscaping

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Last updated: April 19, 2023

Landscaping rock is not cheap, and this is why it can be very frustrating if you see your garden bed and lava rock sink into the landscape bed or look battered and in disarray. According to a recent Statista study, landscape maintenance is the fastest growing service, per revenue, when compared to tree, ornament, or lawn care installation. Landscape improvements are a great choice if you’re looking to beautify your property for comfort and living.

Table of Contents

Rock Landscaping

Learning how to maintain rock landscaping is fairly easy. Landscaping rocks are available in many different sizes and varieties and are a great option for your backyard and should be the first thing to consider when it comes to any home renovations. Big box stores and garden center stores like Home Depot are the perfect starting point to investigate the types of rock you can use to round up your design plans. Landscape rocks also don’t go out of style so you’re never at risk of buying something that is a trend from last year.

I have seen some people do away with the front yard, eliminating grass and lawn maintenance costs, with the clean look of a rock yard that could also include some bark mulch. So instead of planting beds, weed control, and water conservation, you can use power washing as a way to clean up your rocks and organic matter. People often do not realize there is a lot of work required to maintain lawns, foliage, and other greenery.

How to maintain rock landscaping -- Black rocks walking way in tropical garden - black stones garden path on white pebbles and lush green shrub tree

As well, if you’re looking at the lifetime of your garden, it can add up in time and cost. Homeowners never have too much time, and sometimes it’s easy to forget about things, like a growing family or getting old. However, any beautiful place and home in America can also be found in some of the driest states too! You won’t have any difficulty finding landscape architects in places like Las Vegas.

A rock landscape isn’t the only way to make your home look great but it is cheaper than a full kitchen remodel, for example. Year-round, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming are very dry so it’s no wonder many homeowners have opted for a rock landscape garden as a permanent solution; otherwise, they’d be wasting money on 5-gallon buckets of water to keep lawns healthy and green.

Home Depot Landscape Rocks

Let’s look at Home Depot for some ideas additional ideas. This is a great way to build your budget; especially, if you’re hunting for deals because the price range for landscaping rock projects can vary widely. Some projects are small while others could be much larger, depending on how much gravel is used, if there is a lot of dirt if you’re topping up with extra gravel, or using inorganic mulch or some smaller river rocks for a striking contrast. I’ve seen projects cost from as little as $200 USD to as much as $2000 USD.

Home Depot has a broad selection of clean rocks. Below, I’ve included pallet cost ranges for large projects but feel free to look at the links to see what pricing looks like for smaller amounts.

Mexican beach pebbles and river rocks tend to be on the more expensive end of the landscaping rock price scale but if you’re looking to sell your home in a couple of years, this is the easiest way to make dramatic improvements to small sections of your home and property. River rock is also the most popular rock with landscape design companies because of color flexibility. These rocks are great around a home’s wall, yard fences, accent borders, and even surround a garden fountain or boulder featured in front of the home or through foot traffic areas and even around a vegetable garden.

Keep reading as I share some simple tips and important factors for maintaining landscaping rocks in different areas. With proper care, you can enjoy their beauty and purpose for a long time. Good luck and enjoy the read!

how to maintain rock landscaping - rock landscaping on the front lawn garden of home

Clean Them Regularly

New weeds or moss can grow on rock beds and pea gravel, making them less attractive over time. However, weeds may be less likely if you are using landscape fabric. 

The better way to keep your rock garden or rock bed clean is to rinse them off using a nozzle and hose. Pick a setting that will produce adequate pressure for cleaning the decorative rocks without displacing them. If your landscape stone is filthy, you might need to get down on your knees to give both the small rocks and large rocks some good scrubbing using a kitchen brush. Avoid using chemicals or soaps that may cause damage.

If your area is experiencing high humidity levels, you need to gently over the rock bed using a leaf blower to help get rid of excessive moisture. Doing so reduces the risk of encouraging the formation of mildew and mold. 

Pick the Right Hose

Finding the proper garden hose is one of the most critical steps for maintaining your outdoor space. It’s a good idea to only buy durable and high-quality hoses that get the job done. Have a look at some of these products for inspiration.

Simple hosing is an easy way to wash off the rocks. In addition, watering your plants makes them grow healthy and thrive. If your plants are a rich green color, the less likely it is for people to notice the surrounding rocks. 

how to maintain rock landscaping - garden and rock enclave with lamp illumination

Use Foundation Fabrics

Laying a foundation fabric such as polyester or linen before creating a rock landscape is excellent. Foundation fabrics will cover the soil and is a good way to prevent the growth of weeds and other unwanted pests on your landscape. Remember, however, that the fabric might fall apart and reveal some of the rocks below, making it necessary to maintain the material.  

The most significant advantage of using foundation fabrics is that they make it easier for you to clean the rocks themselves.

Prevent the Rocks from Sinking

The large boulders in your gravel garden may soon start sinking into the soil. You can apply more gravel under the larger rocks to fix and prevent this issue. If the primary foundation is grass or soft soil, it is also good to use polyester or linen sheets underneath the gravel to form additional support. 

The suitable foundation fabric provides a similar benefit, and the extra layer can help the gravel withstand the weight of the larger rocks and prevent them from sinking. 

How to maintain rock landscaping - landscape design architecture decoration with pebbles and rocks

Always Use the Right Tools

Another important aspect of rock landscaping maintenance is to ensure that you only use the right tools. For instance, you can use a leaf blower or a rake to prevent debris build-up that might attract unwanted pests. Owning these tools can help you clean your landscape, including your river rock beds and rock mulch, and help you save time and require less work on your part. 

Be careful when using your rake because pushing or pulling too hard may damage or move some smaller lava rocks in the landscape. Be sure to pick and move the debris so that the main feature will remain undisturbed. 

This rule is also applicable when using the leaf blower. Do it steady and slow. The last thing you want is to blow away the smaller rocks that may upset the feature’s aesthetics. 

Remove some of the more minor features, such as the wood chips and organic mulches. Avoid getting too close to these, and don’t forget to put the blower on the low setting. Also, the debris may fly around once it becomes airborne, so I recommend using eye protection. 

Take Extra Care When Using Rakes

When using a rake, be sure to go easy with this tool. Going at it harder than necessary may rip the leaves into smaller pieces that might leave you with more mess. You might even accidentally scratch the hard surfaces of the landscape design, or worse, you might tear up some of your precious plants on your flower beds. After all, your main goal is to make your landscaping design beautiful again, not the other way around.  

Handle Leaf Blowers with Care

If you are using a leaf blower, handle this with tender care. Again, use this only on a low setting to avoid kicking up most gravel and organic material while working. 

But even if you are using a low setting, it is still essential to wear good goggles to protect your eyes. If you live somewhere where leaves fall heavily at certain times of the year, don’t worry about making your landscape look perfect. Just try managing things in the best way you can until there are no longer dropping leaves. 

how to maintain rock landscaping - people_sitting_on_chairs_near_trees-and-gravel-path

Deal with the Weeds

I also recommend that you deal with the weeds in your backyard or garden several times throughout the year. Some weeds tend to grow depending on the weather, so you need to address them right away before they cover your entire landscape. 

Again, avoid using any chemicals around or in your rock garden because these can cause damage or staining on your rock landscape. To prevent this risk, weed the landscape all year round manually. 

Keeping on top of your wedding task will address weed problems and stop them from spreading. Weeding is best handled with your hands in your rock garden since gardening instruments may disrupt the layout in the long run. 

Importance of Maintaining Rock Landscaping

Rock landscaping and gravel gardens face some specific problems, even in areas that require low maintenance. 

If you don’t maintain your landscaping yet, or you are not sure why you should do it, here are two important reasons to do so:

Remove Stray Leaves

Whether you like it or not, stray leaves, especially pine needles, are bound to fall unless your garden is far from neighboring trees or others that shed leaves. 

Prevent Uneven Gravel

It can be a total eyesore to see uneven gravel in your landscape as it can easily ruin the appearance of your fire pit, if you have any, and overall outdoor design. It may reveal the ground underneath or the weed barrier fabric that you put down in time. I know this isn’t very pleasant.

When you walk around your garden, your feet may also kick the small stones out of place. Excited animals and children may also knock the water feature, wood mulch, and any other kind of mulch out of the way. 

Get Rid of Weeds

Weeds are some of the most unwelcome elements to gravel landscaping, especially if they create a visual conflict with the rocks. Dealing with weeds when it is already too late may require hard work. Thus, removing them will always be a good thing before they cover your entire landscape and ruin its aesthetic. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do landscape rocks slide?

Landscape rocks slide because you didn’t place them on a solid or sturdy base. Pebbles, sand, or earth don’t offer adequate support for the stones’ weight, resulting in slippage after some time. 

If the ground becomes too soft because of too much water, the landscaping rocks may sink, leading to stressed plans because of restricted drainage on top of slipping.

Can you put plastic below river rocks?

You should put landscape fabric between your rocks and the ground to ensure that the stones don’t sink into gravel or dirt. Afterward, you can stack as many rocks as needed above the fabric before you place a border around the edges if needed for extra support. 

I know this is a popular choice to prevent the stones from getting damaged and sinking into the ground over time. Please make sure you also use some support to prevent them from falling further or moving around. However, avoid adding several types of solutions at a time. 

What type of landscape fabric can you use?

Several options exist depending on your specific needs and requirements. Two possibilities include plastic fabrics and landscape fabrics with self-sticking backings. 

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