5 Landscape Rock Projects to Transform Your Yard

Published on: August 03, 2018

We’ve all heard the saying, “New Year, New You!” But what about your yard? Could it use an upgrade? A facelift? A full transformation? We all want our outdoor spaces to impress, but a full landscaping overhaul can be a daunting prospect. Luckily you don’t need to go all-out to achieve attractive results. Just like making a resolution to lose weight or get in shape, taking small steps is a great way to get started on your backyard makeover. You’d be surprised how much a modest change can improve your yard’s overall look. If you want to add a little curb appeal to your home and start getting those comments and compliments from your friends when they visit, check out these easy DIY landscape rock projects that will make a big impact.

Landscape Rock Project #1: Stepping Stones

You’ll love how easy this landscape rock project is to do! All you need are some decent-sized pavers (at least a couple of feet across) or even better, some pieces of stunning natural flagstone. Simply place the pieces on the ground with about 18 inches of distance between the centers to match the average person’s stride. Rounded pieces will give you a softer look, while angular ones will help modernize a space. Random mixes of shapes and sizes communicate a more relaxed, informal pathway.


Cost: Natural patio flagstone like our best-selling Gold Quartzite flagstone is a cost-effective option. Pavers vary based on size and type but generally cost the same or slightly less than natural stone. But keep in mind: natural stone lasts longer, doesn’t fade, and adds more value to your home.

Decide which areas of your yard you’d like to connect with stepping stones, or use the pathway to draw visitors into different areas of your garden. Choose the stepping stone style you want and get to work! For more inspiration, check out how Kohei Owatari uses flat boulder slabs for stepping stones in his Japanese zen garden designs.

Landscape Rock Project #2: Fountain or Water Feature

Don’t worry – a water feature doesn’t have to be an elaborate, multi-level waterfall. While not the cheapest of landscape rock projects, standalone fountains can be a one-day installation job and provide an additional relaxing ambience with the sound of trickling water. Why not have a garden accent that provides both visual and audible pleasure? You’ll thank yourself for years to come.

Fountains are made of concrete, fiberglass, resin, or other manufactured materials, or cut from real stone for a richer look. When you choose a fountain, pick up a reservoir and pump at the same time (Southwest Boulder & Stone locations and most home improvement stores carry everything you need in one place).

To make adding a water feature even easier and cheaper, go with that bird bath instead of a fountain. The bird bath will still look great as a display item in your yard (in addition to attracting local birds) and doesn’t require any setup other than filling it to the brim occasionally. Fountains and bird baths are both great focal points for an outdoor space; you can’t go wrong!

If you’re interested in custom-made rock water features and fountains, we now offer custom stone fabrication for anything you can dream up!

Landscape Rock Project #3: Boulder Fix

You’ll be amazed at how this simple addition completely changes the dynamics of your yard. Boulders anchor a landscape and provide points of interest around which to plan further development. And the great news is you only need a few boulders to make a big statement; one boulder may even be enough. Now, we also aren’t necessarily talking about 6-foot-high monuments here. Do-it-yourselfers can choose “2-man” boulders that are 1 to 2 feet in diameter. Keep in mind that if you are installing boulders yourself, even small rocks can weigh between 75 to 100 pounds and require a dolly to install (rent or buy one from your local rock yard or home improvement store).

Boulders come in two basic shapes, round and angular, and a variety of colors. We recommend choosing an odd number of boulders for your yard; check out our blog post on how to choose boulders for more detailed instructions on a landscape rock project like this.

Landscape Rock Project #4: Decomposed Granite Pathway

Best in backyards, a decomposed granite pathway is a fantastic DIY landscape rock project to undertake. It also happens to be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the look of your yard. Decomposed granite, also known as DG, is literally that – granite that has broken down into fine particles. It holds together better than dirt, especially when a stabilizing element is mixed in, and provides a great walking surface with a uniform texture and color. Many different colors of decomposed granite are available, so visiting a Southwest Boulder rock yard to compare them in person is a great way to get started.

If you’re ready to try this weekend project, check out our step-by-step guide to installing a DG pathway. We’ll help you avoid common mistakes like installing too close to front doors, where DG can be tracked in and cause damage to hardwood floors.

Landscape Rock Project #5: Fresh Groundcover

Adding mulch or rock groundcover is a fast and inexpensive facelift for your yard, and there are many ways this quick fix can be applied. Use mulch or rock ground cover to freshen up the top layer of planters, add a rounded border around trees, surround ground-based plants, or cover entire areas of your garden or yard. Add a layer of pebbles just around the base of a tree or cover the surface of a planter for an instant improvement to the look of your yard.

Use an economical wood-based mulch or a crushed rock, or upgrade to Mexican Beach pebbles for a refined look. Our go-to wood mulches are Supreme Walk-On Bark and Gorilla Hair Mulch; move up to Montana Bark Nuggets for a longer-lasting solution.


Don’t forget – there are other benefits to adding a layer of ground cover to your yard: moisture retention, weed prevention, and insulation! You’ll end up watering less as the groundcover slows evaporation and helps protects your plants against weeds. For more mulch tips, check out our post on how to choose the right mulch!

Ready to Get Started on Your Next Landscape Rock Project?

Taking the first step is always the hardest part of any transformation! All five of these landscape rock projects are accessible for DIY enthusiasts and can be done in a weekend, so don’t delay – pick your favorite and get started. Feel free to give us a call at 877-792-7625 if you need any help deciding which of these outdoor upgrades would be right for your backyard. Let us know which one is your favorite, and share your project photos with us on social media – we’d love to see your new yard!

Share This Article!