Landscape Rock Types: Choosing the Right Rock for Your Yard

Published on: April 29, 2024

Your landscape is an extension of your living space, and the right rocks can truly elevate it. But with so many varieties available, choosing the perfect landscape rock can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This comprehensive guide will explore the most popular landscape rock types, their uses, and their benefits to help you make an informed decision.

Popular Landscape Rock Types and Their Uses

Discover the perfect rock types to transform your yard into a stunning oasis. With this guide, you’ll find the ideal materials to create standout features and boost your outdoor aesthetic. From pathways to patios, there’s a perfect rock for every project.


Boulders add drama and dimension to any landscape. These impressive rocks are perfect for creating retaining walls, seating areas, statement pieces, or accenting water features. Boulders are also commonly used to add a touch of privacy and define boundaries within your landscape. Consider choosing a variety of sizes and shapes for a more natural appearance.

To learn more about boulders, read “Boulder Landscaping: Elevate Your Outdoor Space to New Heights.”

Choosing Right Boulder


This type of landscape rock is known for its timeless beauty and durability, flagstone is a versatile choice for a wide range of landscaping projects. These flat, quarried stones come in a delightful array of shapes, sizes, and colors, perfect for crafting stunning walkways, patios, terraces, and even pool surrounds. Flagstone’s natural elegance complements various architectural styles, while its incredible strength ensures a surface that will stand the test of time.

If you want to learn more about flagstone projects, read “How to Build a Flagstone Patio: A Step-By-Step Guide.”

Flagstone Landscape Rock Types

Decomposed Granite (DG)

Decomposed Granite (DG) is a popular landscape rock type for creating beautiful and functional pathways, driveways, and ground cover. This finely crushed granite offers a natural aesthetic and comes in a range of colors, from warm reddish-tan to classic gray, allowing you to complement your landscape design. DG is budget-friendly and provides excellent drainage to reduce water.

For more DG product uses, read “Landscaping with Decomposed Granite.”

Decomposed Granite Landscape Rock Types

Crushed Rock & Gravel

Crushed rock and gravel offer incredible versatility for landscaping projects, ranging from practical walkways and drainage solutions to eye-catching decorative accents. Available in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures, they easily adapt to diverse landscape styles. Crushed rock and gravel are incredibly affordable and low-maintenance, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking both beauty and practicality in their outdoor spaces.

To learn more about this landscape rock, read “Landscaping with Crushed Rock & Gravel.”

Crushed Rock Types

River Rock & Pebble

River rocks and pebbles, with their smooth surfaces and diverse colors, bring a touch of natural serenity to any landscape. Their versatile sizes make them ideal for walkways, borders, dry creek beds, and accents around water features. River rock and pebbles provide excellent drainage, minimizing erosion and adding a sophisticated touch to your yard.

For more river rock and pebble project ideas, read “How to Build a Dry Creek Bed.”

River Rock & Pebble Landscape Rock Types

Natural Boulder Fountains

Transform your landscape with the captivating sight and sound of a natural boulder fountain. These stunning water features add a dramatic focal point by combining the timeless beauty of stone with the tranquility of flowing water. Choose from a wide variety of sizes and rock types to create a customized fountain that perfectly reflects your style and complements your outdoor space.

Learn more about Southwest Boulder & Stone’s custom stone fabrication here!

Natural Boulder Fountains

Other Landscaping Materials: Bark, Mulch, Topsoil

While not technically rock, these landscaping materials often get grouped with rocks. These organic additions provide essential benefits for your plants and soil health.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Wood Bark & Mulch

Enhance your landscape and protect your plants with wood bark or mulch. Made from shredded wood or bark, mulch delivers numerous benefits to your garden. It helps retain soil moisture, reducing watering needs, suppresses weeds for a tidier appearance, and regulates soil temperature, protecting roots from extremes. Plus, as it breaks down, mulch adds valuable organic matter, enriching your soil. It’s a fantastic choice for flower beds, around trees, and in shrub borders.



Topsoil is the lifeblood of a thriving landscape. This nutrient-rich layer of soil provides essential nourishment for plants to flourish. It’s ideal for establishing new planting beds, vegetable gardens, or revitalizing any area where soil quality needs a boost. By investing in quality topsoil, you’re laying the groundwork for a vibrant and healthy outdoor space.

Bark, Mulch, & Topsoil Material

Landscape Rock Types for Every Project

With so many options, it can be tough to know where to start.  Let’s break down the key things to think about when selecting the best landscape rock type for your project. Here are some factors to consider when choosing landscape rock:


Consider the primary purpose of the rock when making your selection. For walkways and patios, choose durable and slip-resistant materials like flagstone or crushed rock.  To enhance visual appeal in flower beds or as accents, opt for decorative options like river rocks and pebble.



Assess your landscape’s drainage needs. If your area experiences heavy rainfall or has poor drainage, opt for porous rocks like crushed rock and gravel, or DG to promote water flow and prevent pooling. These types of landscape rock allow water to percolate through, minimizing runoff and potential erosion issues.

Landscape Rock Types for Drainage

Landscape Rock Types for Aesthetics


Consider the level of upkeep you’re willing to commit to. Some landscape rocks require minimal maintenance, like decomposed granite and river rock, which naturally resist weed growth. Others, including certain types of gravel or flagstone with wide gaps, might need occasional weeding or replenishment. Factor in your available time and resources when deciding on the best rock type for your needs.



Consider the overall style of your landscape when choosing landscape rocks to complement your home’s architecture and create a cohesive design. Select rocks based on their color, texture, and shape to achieve the desired visual impact and evoke the ambiance you want for your outdoor space. For example, river rock offers a natural, serene feel, while crushed rock adds a contemporary touch.

Choose the Perfect Landscape Rock Type with Southwest Boulder & Stone

By understanding the different types of landscape rock and their uses, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that complements your home and enhances your enjoyment of your property. Remember to consider factors like function, project size, aesthetics, maintenance, and of course, your budget!

With the perfect landscape rock as your foundation, you’re ready to transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and functional extension of your home.

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