10 Outdoor Rock Landscaping Ideas

Many people wonder how to use natural, outdoor rocks in their landscaping. Rocks give visual interest and warmth to the landscape when used strategically in various areas of your yard. There are several ways you can use the rocks in your yard, whether it’s next to the house, by ponds or streams or as garden edging. Here are outdoor rock landscaping ideas.

Create a Rock Garden

A rock garden is a great place to use outdoor rocks. All you need are taller, self-contained rock formations, like boulders or dry stack rock, which you can find at any landscape supply store. Place these along the back of your yard, and then surround them with an assortment of smaller rocks that will plant flowers around, spilling over the top of the boulders.

Contain a Pond With Rocks

If you have a pond in your backyard, consider using larger rocks to contain it on three sides. On the fourth side, make sure you have built up the area with some dirt or sand for the grass to grow. Place smaller rocks around more decorative ones to plant flowers or low-lying plants.

Use Rocks as a Garden Border

If you have a flower garden, place a border of larger rocks around the outside edge and smaller ones throughout. This will provide a natural barrier against animals and people from entering your yard. You can then scatter some decorative rocks along the edges of these borders for that finishing touch.

Create an Outdoor Fireplace or Hearth

Using rock outdoor landscaping ideas as part of an outdoor fireplace is one way to create a custom look in your backyard while still having that rustic appeal associated with natural stone products like river rock. Outlining your fire pit area with large boulders is surprisingly easy, and it provides interesting visual effects, especially when you use different sizes of stones.

Use Landscape Edging

One way to make your landscaping look great is by using landscape edging, made from metal, wood, or natural stone like river rock. Think about putting some rocks around the perimeter of your lawn to stop grass along that area and then scatter some decorative rocks throughout the yard for added features. Be careful with this idea because it is easy to do too much and take away from your yard’s beauty instead of enhancing it, so use a few rocks as accents here and there for a unique effect.

Create a Walkway With River Rock

If you want to walk through your garden but have problems with dirt being tracked into your house:

  1. Consider building a path with river rock.
  2. Dig out a groove or trench for the width of your desired walkway, lay down landscape fabric, and then fill it up with gravel.
  3. Allow this to settle overnight, smoothing out any bumps you see on top with a rake.
  4. Once the gravel settling process is complete, wet it down thoroughly, then begin laying random shapes of river rock along the border of your new stone pathway.

Plant Flowers Next to Rocks

Instead of putting rocks all along your flower beds, why not scatter them throughout but leave some areas bare, so there’s room for flowers? You can plant these in either concrete pots or directly into the ground around rocks by mixing soil before placing them where you want them.

Build a Stone Walkway

This outdoor rock landscaping idea is very similar to the one above, except this time, you use larger rocks and place them in a way that they make a walkway through your garden or yard. This takes some practice and patience, so start with smaller stones first to get things right before working on bigger ones. Plant small rustic flowers or edging plants on either side of the stones for an added effect.

Use Rocks as Garden Art

One way to use rocks in your backyard is to stack them to resemble something other than what they are naturally. For example, you can stack three or four sandstone slabs into the shape of an elephant then put them near your pond or another area. This not only provides a nice focal point but also adds to the overall design and style of your backyard.

Decorate Rocks With House Paint or Spray Paints

When decorating their yards, some landscape artists stick with traditional plant life, flowers, and rocks. It gives them that natural look they are trying to achieve, but you can easily take this one step further by painting the rocks in different colors beforehand. You can even use spray paint to create dots or other patterns on the stones.


Using rocks in your landscaping design can add a certain rustic feel and appeal to the overall look of your yard. There are lots of things that you can do with stones, such as using them along borders or creating pathways through your garden. Just keep in mind that if you scatter these throughout, they should not be too obvious, so they get lost within the backdrop instead.


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