Rock It Out: Creative Ways to Use Landscaping Rocks on Your Property

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

uses for landscaping rocksAlthough winter is on its way, that doesn’t mean you can’t look ahead to your spring landscaping plans. In fact, there are certain landscaping elements that can make your property look aesthetically pleasing all year round. Rocks and stone features, for example, can add depth, texture, and color to your outdoor space — no matter the season. If you need a bit of inspiration to get started, here are some excellent uses for landscaping rocks in your front lawn or backyard.

Ground Cover

One of the most popular uses for river rocks — which are more akin to gravel than to big boulders — is to utilize them as ground cover. While many gardeners will opt for grasses, mosses, or even low-lying shrubs for this job, you may want to consider using river rock for landscaping in this way instead. It’s a viable alternative to mulch; though rocks won’t moisturize the soil, they’re often more affordable and require far less maintenance. As a bonus, a one-inch layer of small rocks can provide good weed control, meaning you could reduce the amount of time you’ll have to spend pulling out dandelions and other unwanted species. Using river rocks in this way may appeal to homeowners who live in hotter and dryer climates, who want to minimize their yard work, or who want to focus on hardscaping features instead. Business owners may also benefit from using river rocks, pea gravel, or other options in their landscaping plans.

Visual Accents

Rocks can make for a neutral foundation, but they can also act as the star of the show. Accent boulders could be a welcome focal point in your garden or front yard, particularly when it’s of an unusual shape or color. They may even be slightly sculptural in feel, which can make your green space feel more akin to an outdoor gallery. Ideally, you’ll want to plant some flowers or greenery around the base of these larger rocks. As an alternative, you could place gravel or other small rocks underneath to make the boulder appear more natural.

Flowerbed Borders

Another one of the many uses for landscaping rocks is to define your garden in an attractive way. For example, rocks make for a beautiful and natural edging option for your flowerbeds. You can use flagstones, small boulders, or even river rocks to create a border around these areas of your garden. This results in a rather enchanting garden space that invites family and friends to stop and smell the roses (or other favorite blooms). But of course, edging your flower beds also serves a practical purpose: you’ll define the space and can more easily keep weeds out.

Charming Pathways

Keep in mind that the most beautiful landscaping rocks Seattle has to offer can also be used to form natural-looking pathways around your property. Pebbles, gravel, and even larger stones are often used for this purpose as an alternative to concrete or brick. These materials can instantly add a bit of vintage charm to your yard and boost your curb appeal. Plus, these walkways will welcome your guests and keep them safe, particularly if your other terrain is a bit uneven.

Of course, there are countless uses for landscaping rocks on your property. By utilizing natural stone, gravel, and river rocks in the ways outlined above, you’ll likely improve your property value and your overall satisfaction with the look of your home.

Landscaping Projects to Divert Storm Runoff

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

drain rockSpring showers, summer storms, and dreary fall and winter rainfall can all wreak havoc on a yard. Too much moisture can accumulate in your grass or garden, creating a spongy mess. In some cases, poor lawn drainage can even damage your home’s structure through flooding. 

Luckily, smart landscape design using drain rock can redirect storm runoff to minimize property damage. Try any combination of the following projects for better control of rainwater and better protection of your property:


  1. Swales

    Swales are essentially man-made riverbeds that channel runoff in more desirable directions. Often resembling a dry creek, swales can be used at the base of slopes and hills or around a house to divert water towards a drainage area. Thick-rooted plants are often used to slow water’s progress to a drain to prevent overflows. Though swales can be simple grassy ditches, drain rocks or washed gravel is often used to prevent the swale from eroding. 

  2. Rain Gardens

    Another attractive way to control runoff and floodwater is to build and plant a rain garden. Rain gardens provide a place for water to pool during downpours, and incorporate plants that love a good soak. Beneath the flowerbed, a catch basin is used to trap water temporarily and slow its flow into the surrounding soil. The soil in the garden itself is fast-draining to encourage rapid absorption. Sometimes, an underdrain of drain rock is needed to ensure water is dispersed back into the surrounding earth. 

  3. Self-Draining Driveways

    Finally, self-draining driveways that utilize drainage gravel can help prevent water from pooling during storms. Concrete and asphalt driveways are non-permeable, which means rainwater puddles and are directed to surrounding soils, which are often already saturated. Using gravel in combination with drainage trenches can help redirect the flow of rainwater away from more important areas, like basements or garages. 

Some driveways use layers of crushed gravel to create a drainage basin beneath the driveway’s surface for greater protection. When installing any gravel driveway, experts recommended using three layers of different sizes of rock: baseball-sized rocks at the bottom, golf ball-sized rocks in the middle, and marble-sized rocks for the uppermost layer.

Using these smart drainage techniques, you can protect your home from floods and unwanted moisture during storms and rainy seasons. 

For more information regarding drain rock, topsoil, rockery rocks or gravel delivery in King and Snohomish Counties, contact Builders Sand and Gravel today! 

Go Big or Go Home: Using Large Rocks in Landscape Design

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

A beautiful landscape design involves many elements. Gardens, trees, pathways, and buildings require clever and artistic arrangement to create a cohesive and attractive outdoor space.

Using a variety of rock elements in a design can help marry both beauty and function in any landscape. In particular, large rockery rocks can serve multiple functions in a yard or other outdoor area.

Here are just a few rockery rock design ideas for landscapers looking to incorporate large stone in their next project:

    1. Stone Walls

      Building a wall is one beautiful and functional use of large boulders and rocks in a landscape. Crafting a stone wall near a driveway or around the borders of a property can deter unwanted guests, and can give the lawn greater curb appeal. After all, a good landscape can increase a home’s resale value by 14%.

      Stone retaining walls are also particularly useful for protecting steep slopes from erosion and sliding over time. A rockery rock retaining wall can even create the perfect opportunity for planting a hanging garden.


    1. Natural Seating

      Large rocks near gardens and pools not only provide visual interest by contrasting smaller rocks and plants, but they can also provide clever seating opportunities. Smooth and semi-flat rocks can be arranged to form a natural stone bench or stool. You can even arrange medium and large rocks in a ring around a stone fire pit to create an outdoor entertaining area that blends with the natural environment.


    1. Rock Garden Centerpieces

      One of the simplest uses for landscaping rocks and boulders is visual appeal. Rockery rocks have their own natural beauty, with colors, textures, and shapes unique to the region they originated. Use a large boulder or rockery rock as a centerpiece in your rock garden. Let it stand out by placing it in direct sight in a well-lit part of the yard. For a more natural look, ensure that part of the rock is buried underneath the soil, since in nature few boulders sit above the grass and the dirt.


  1. Get Creative

    Though a boulder might seem like just a big, heavy rock, the possibilities are endless. Consider painting a boulder for a unique artistic addition to your yard. A collection of boulders and sand for sand boxes can create a climbing-and-digging play area for children. Boulders and smaller rocks can even be arranged to create a natural-looking waterfall fountain. The only limit to rockery rock design ideas is your own imagination!

What Kind of Gravel is Best for My Driveway?

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

pea gravelUnless you are a landscaping expert (or maybe if you work in a quarry), you probably did not realize there were so many different varieties of gravel until it came time to update or install a gravel driveway. Gravel driveways are relatively inexpensive and easy to install as a do it yourself project, and a carefully maintained gravel driveway that was properly installed can last up to ten years. People choosing which kind of gravel to install in their driveways will make their selection based on availability, cost, appearances, and drainage. Some popular choices for gravel include river rock and pea gravel, which we will discuss among others below. 

River rock: a natural look. River rock is composed of gently rounded and semi-glossy stones that have been dredged up from the beds of rivers. Because of this, it gives the driveway a natural and almost rustic look. However, if your driveway contains steep slopes, inclines, curves, or other features that may be difficult to maneuver, take extreme caution in choosing river rock just for its attractiveness: the smoothed stones shift significantly under vehicles. 

Quarry stone: practical, not pretty. Also known as crusher run, quarry stone is a popular, practical option for driveways. The gravel stones are typically smaller and mixed with a great deal of gravel dust, which allows the gravel to compact and form a semisolid surface. However, due to these properties of the crushed gravel or quarry stone, it does not serve as a good drainage gravel for driveways in wet climates. 

Pea gravel: Like river rock, pea gravel stones are also naturally weathered. They are typically small, round, and smooth, hence their name. Pea gravel is usually multicolored in appearance and has the same attractive, natural look as river rock, without as much of the vehicle instability that river rock yields. However, since the pea gravels stones are round and not angular, they don’t interlock like crushed stone tends to, and can spread out off the surface of the driveway over time unless it is properly edged to keep the stones in place. Pea gravel tends to be a better drain rock option than quarry stone since it allows water to flow through between the round rocks. 

As long as you have gravel delivery arranged (since gravel tends to be quite heavy and difficult to manage by nonprofessionals in a non-commercial vehicle) installing and maintaining your driveway is simple and easy. Just make sure you choose the stone type right for you, to avoid corrective expensive or even vehicular damage and accidents in the long run. 

4 Reasons Landscaping with River Rocks is Eco-Friendly

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

river rock for landscapingRiver 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.


    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

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.


Landscape Improvements: 3 Drainage Gravel Projects You Can Do

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

drainage gravelCertain landscaping projects can actually increase a home’s resale value by as much as 14%. 

Many homeowners think that they don’t have the skills, knowledge, time, or resources to perform some of these landscape improvement projects. There are plenty of do-it-yourself projects that you can do, however, that don’t require too much money or physical effort. 

By simply placing drainage gravel around your property in strategic locations, you can easily improve your landscape’s look and even boost its overall resale value. According to the 2017 Houzz Landscape Trends study, 38% of homeowners upgrading their pathways, driveways, patios, and terraces are using crushed gravel or crushed rockery rocks. 

Here are a few drainage gravel projects you can easily perform this summer to significantly boost your home’s value and give yourself that nice looking landscape you’ve always dreamed of: 


    • Crushed gravel pathway — You can simply place down a few layers of crushed gravel on your lawn and create a great-looking hardscape pathway. If you’re constantly walking back and forth to one part of your property, after a while you’re going to damage your lawn. A gravel pathway can help preserve your lawn and can look fantastic. Lay down gravel in whatever pattern you want from your front door to your mailbox, your back patio to the pool, or anywhere else on your lawn.


    • Outline for fencing — Installing a fence on your property can provide plenty of great benefits, but laying some nice crushed gravel at its base can look amazing. You can certainly outline the inside of your fence, but if you have a few feet left over on the other side of the fence (without intruding on your neighbor’s property), you can place another layer on the outside, which will look wonderful.


    • Gravel garden border — A garden can help your landscape look terrific, as well, but a nice gravel border can significantly improve its look. You can get creative with your gravel bordering, as well; utilize different colors, place the material down in various patterns, and place as many layers as you want.


Don’t let your landscape remain the same for years — it’s time to start upgrading the look and feel of your property. If you’re in need drainage gravel delivery or concrete removal services or would to learn more about how to use rockery rocks in order to boost your landscape’s appearance, give Builders Sand and Gravel Inc. a call right away. 

Building a Sand Box: 7 Helpful Steps

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

sand for sand boxesLandscaping projects, if done correctly, can actually increase your property’s resale value by as much as 14%. There are all kinds of cool ways you can improve your property; plant a garden, install a pool, add a new room or patio, etc. But only a few landscaping projects are actually kid-friendly.

If you have a newborn baby or a few little children crawling around, you’re going to want them to have a fun place to play outside. Sand boxes are great for babies to mess around in and you can easily install the perfect one right in your own backyard.

Here are some steps to consider that will help you build a great backyard sand box for your kids to enjoy:

    1. Measure where the sand box will go — You’re going to have to make sure of the exact measurements when it comes to your new sand box. If you don’t have a large enough backyard, you might have to adjust accordingly.

    2. Acquire all the necessary materials — First, you need to make sure you have plenty of sand for sand boxes, a large bag of decking screws, landscaping fabric, and 12 lengths of four by fours that combine to create a three-course-high border.

    3. Lay out the boards — Once you have identified where you want the sand box to go and have purchased all the necessary items, it’s time to lay out the perimeter of the sand box the flat surface.

    4. Start digging — Once your boards are setup, it’s time to dig out the interior of the box. Go about six inches deep and be sure to include the dirt under your wooden boards.

    5. Add in utility sand on the outside — Next, it’s time to start adding some quality sand for sand boxes along the edges. It’s best to use a one-inch deep and four-inch wide layer of sand around the perimeter of the box.

    6. Secure the other wooden boards — With decking screws, now you should swear up all the new and old wooden boards. Secure the second layer of wood with decking screws about once every three feet.

    7. Add the landscaping fabric and final wooden layer — Cover the entire hole so it overlaps the second layer of wood and then add on the third (and final) layer on top. Then, simply fill the entire area up with sand and watch your kids have all the fun in the world.

If you want to work with a professional construction sand, crushed gravel, and topsoil delivery service and find high-quality sand for sand boxes, give Builders Sand and Gravel Inc. a call right away.

Understanding How to Utilize Landscaping Rocks For Property Improvements

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

landscaping rocks

Landscaping rocks are seldom found across U.S. neighborhoods, but these items can completely transform a property and provide all sorts of monetary benefits. 

Certain landscaping projects, when done correctly, can offer a very high return on investment (ROI) and even increase property resale value by as much as 15%. Landscaping rocks are fantastic items for improving the look and feel of a property, as well as deliver some slight increases to a home’s resale value. 

According to a 2017 Houzz Landscape Trends study, approximately 38% of homeowners planning to upgrade their landscape’s driveways, pathways, patios, and terraces are using crushed gravel or other types of rockery rocks. 

These rockery rocks come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for dozens of property improvement projects. River rock, for example, is an extremely popular type of landscaping rock material. It is quite smooth and typically comes in one to two inches in diameter. Cobble rock, on the other hand, are much larger and can work great as a border to a large flower bed or planting strip. 

Understanding the differences between all these rockery rocks, as well as other landscaping materials can be quite tricky, unfortunately. Thankfully, there are organizations out there that focus on not only providing you with the information you need for your next property improvement project, but can deliver the actual materials as well. 

By working with experienced concrete hauling services, you won’t even have to pickup and handle these heavy bags of rockery rocks yourself. You can have the exact amount of landscaping material delivered right to your front yard. Whether you need bags of crushed gravel for a small garden or larger bench, column, or placement rocks, you won’t have to struggle lifting and getting these materials into your car — simply place your order and await the timely delivery right to your front door. 

If you want to learn more about how to better utilize landscaping rocks to improve the look and feel of your property, or have utility sand, washed gravel, and other outdoor materials delivered to your home, give Builders Sand and Gravel Inc. a call today! 

Construction Sand Could Soon Revolutionize Landscaping and Building

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

construction sand

According to a new survey by Harris Poll for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, approximately 75% of Americans feel that it is important to spend time outside in their yards. Sadly, not every property owner actually takes care of their lawn for themselves and their families to enjoy. 

That’s where quality landscaping jobs come in. From planting a new garden, to simply taking better care of your lawn mowing, you can significantly improve the look and feel of your property, allowing you and your family to actually have some amazing summer days and unforgettable summer nights outside. 

There are all kinds of materials that work great for various outdoor landscaping projects, including topsoil, landscaping rocks, crushed gravel, and bark dust. But one type of material has been gaining some rapid popularity as of late and could soon revolutionize the construction and landscaping industry: construction sand

According to Fast Company, construction sand could soon be used to not only perform amazing-looking landscaping improvements, but for building structures as well. Desert sand can actually reduce the carbon footprint of construction and, if used with a quality binder, it can actually be quite durable. 

Researchers from Imperial College London have developed a new building material called Finite that uses smooth desert sand to make concrete. Additionally, this sand-based material isn’t just useful, it’s non-toxic, which means it isn’t harmful like other products. 

Sand has always been great to outline a garden or outdoor landscaping fixture, but has essentially been useless in terms of actual building construction — until now. 

“[Desert sand] has little use [for construction], as its grains are too smooth and fine to bind together,” said Finite inventors. 

But now, Finite uses wind-swept sand from deserts all over the world and is both an economically better option and can even save millions of water-based ecosystems around the globe. 

If you want to learn more about the various uses of construction sand, types of topsoil, and the various topsoil uses, contact Builders Sand and Gravel Inc. right away. 

Landscaping Assistance: Importance of Driveway Installation And Cleanup

Written by Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. on . Posted in Blog

concrete removal

In order for your home to look its best, you need to make sure that every single aspect of both your exterior and interior are up to your standards. A great looking home can still look tacky if the lawn is not properly cared for or a driveway is covered in dirt. Replacing an old and broken down driveway can give your home a much needed boost in appearance and even increase value. 

A properly installed driveway can last up to 10 years as long as you’re staying on top of regular upkeep and maintenance. Using crushed gravel materials is a great way to achieve a quality, sufficient, and nice-looking driveway. As long as you know how to place the gravel and focus on cleaning up properly, you should have a great new driveway in a fairly short amount of time. 

For instance, when installing a gravel driveway, it’s best to use three sizes of crushed gravel: the bottom layer of gravel should consist of around four inches of rocks (about the size of a baseball); the middle layer should be closer to three inches (or golf ball-size rocks); and the top layer of gravel should also be four inches of much smaller crushed rocks (think marble-size). 

When performing a driveway installation project, though it’s best to consult with experienced professionals throughout the entire process, it’s extremely important to do at the end of your project. During cleanup, there are all kinds of heavy materials that need to be taken care of right away. Not only will these materials look terrible on your property just lying around, they could also cause some health concerns if any toxic chemicals or an excessive amount of dust clouds form around the home. That’s where concrete removal comes in. 

Concrete hauling services are great for thoroughly cleaning a property after a major driveway or hardscape installation project. Simply contact a skilled concrete removal service, give them your address and information, and they’ll arrive at your home with dump trucks and other vehicles to quickly and efficiently clean your property and get your driveway and yard back to looking great. 

If you want to learn more about concrete removal or have other landscaping materials sent to your home like construction sand and topsoil delivery, give Builders Sand and Gravel Inc. a call today.