River rock is a type of washed gravel known for its smooth, rounded texture and versatility. River rocks come in a range of sizes, but are typically one to two inches in diameter. Creative landscapers choose to use river rock for landscaping because of its wide range of beautiful and practical applications, including:
- Lining a garden
- Building a walkway
- Creating borders around buildings and patios
- An alternative gravel for driveways
- Outdoor shower flooring
- Filling a play area
- Decorating fountains and pools
The many uses of river rock for landscaping are impressive, but what is possibly more impressive is its potential to be environmentally friendly. Here are a few reasons why river rock features are a great choice for any habitat-conscious homeowner, landscaper or gardener.
- They Limit Soil Erosion
By choosing to line your outdoor areas with river rock, you’ll be adding an extra layer of weight between the soil and the air. This can help limit wind erosion that might occur on your property, particularly after building projects or at residential construction sites that remove grass and expose soil. River rock can also help limit gravitational erosion in sloped yards and gardens.
- They’re Permeable
One of the many uses of river rock is to encourage drainage. Because the round stones do not fit as tightly together as other materials, water can flow through cracks between the stones. This means that your landscaping project will let rainwater return to the ground and help prevent the destructive flooding that can come from other, less-porous surfaces. This type of drain rock is also a great tool for xeriscaping, which is a style of gardening that requires very little irrigation. If you live in a drought-prone area, gardening with hardy plants and drainage gravel like river rocks can help limit your water consumption.
- They Deter Weeds Naturally
River rocks can be used to mulch around flower beds, vegetable gardens, trees, pathways, and buildings. The weight of the stones and the way they block sunlight discourages weed growth. Rather than resorting to pesticides to keep the edges of your property’s features looking neat, you’ll be using something far less toxic to the habitat. As a bonus, river rocks are much less susceptible to wind erosion and decomposition than wood mulch, meaning that their weed-suppressing ability lasts much longer.
- They are a Natural Substance
One of the main uses for river rock is simply to make your garden prettier. Luckily, rocks are just rocks! River rocks, in particular, are often colorful, bringing natural beauty to your home or garden, no paint or dye required.
- They Limit Soil Erosion
If you’re looking to make your home more beautiful without damaging the natural environment, use the natural environment! Choosing river rock for landscaping is a great way to make your lawn look amazing for years to come, without hurting the fields or forests beyond your backyard.