6 Easy Ways to Incorporate Rock into Your Landscape Design

Andres Orellana May 20, 2016

It’s often hard to imagine how an element as simple as rock can transform the look of your garden and backyard. Natural rocks come in an amazing range of shapes, sizes, textures, and colors, which make them a versatile addition to any landscape. You could create a mini rock garden, integrate them into your pathways, use them as a staircase or install them as a centrepiece… the list goes on and on.

When it comes to working rocks into your landscape design, the only limit is your imagination. Besides, they’re low-maintenance, they’re in season all year round, and they can bring an aesthetic charm — ranging from natural and rugged to modern and edgy — to your landscape. Another good thing – it’s pretty much effortless!

First and foremost, it is important to pick the right rocks for your landscape. While tawny beach pebbles or river rocks add warmth, white marble chips may be used to brighten up those shady areas alongside your home, where there’s too little sunlight for most plants to thrive. Flat terracotta stones are perfect for tropical landscape, but won’t go very well with a more formal garden. If you’re looking for a minimalist modern landscape, you may want to try black lava rocks. The idea is to pick the kind of rocks that’ll not clash with the rest of your landscape design.

Now that you have considered the type of rock for your landscape, here are five simple yet stunning ideas to incorporate rock into your makeover plans.

1. Use Rocks as Steps

Placing rocks where you would normally place stairs in your backyard or patio can be an interesting way to deck up those areas. Plus, rocks will last for an indefinite period and they are low-maintenance compared to wood. You could also create outdoor staircase using rocks or place rocks interspersed with plants in layers at different heights.

2. Create a Low-Maintenance Centrepiece

If you’re running short of ideas or want a quick solution to liven up your garden area, consider placing an unusually-shaped boulder. This will not only serve as an eye-catching focal point, but also break the monotony of your garden and impart an interesting and artistic feel to it.  

3. Build a Pond Border

If you have a pond in your backyard, rock could be the perfect way to add more appeal to the area. Simply choose large rocks in contrasting shades and place them along the pond liner. The rocks can be irregular in shape but make sure they are close in size. Fill in any gaps with smaller pebbles and there you have it — a beautiful pond that ups the appeal of your backyard!

4. Turn a Slope into a Rock Garden

Have a sloping front yard? Why not turn it into a rock garden? You can easily add stones and boulders with clusters of rock garden plants to create an eye-catching display. The best part? Your rock garden looks vibrant throughout the year and never needs mowing.

5. Give Your Lawn an Interesting Twist

This tip works especially well for dry, desert climate like ours. You could transform the look of your boring lawn by placing gravels and pebbles in interesting shades and textures amidst ornamental grass, such as deer grass. You can then add a few accent plants like blue-leaved Weber agave. Both plants can thrive in low-water conditions, which means you don’t have to worry about their upkeep.

Of course, there are many more ways to add rock into your landscape design. Use these tips we’ve shared to get started and once you feel more confident, explore other interesting ideas and use your creativity to take your rock or desert landscape design to the next level.