Landscaping with rocks is anything but boring. There is a slew of sizes and shapes of stones and rocks and many design ideas from which to choose. A rock landscape is not only stunning but it has the added benefit of conserving water. You can create a nice rock front yard to add texture and color to a plain front yard and to elevate the curb appeal of your home.
Prepping for a Rock Garden
Before installing tons of rocks in the front yard, take time to prep the area. Rid the front yard of any weeds and spray the dirt with a weed killer. Add a pre-emergent weed killer for extra coverage. Put down a layer of hardy weed-killing landscaping fabric before piling the rocks on top. The landscaping fabric will prevent weeds from sprouting and will save you from plucking weeds all year long.
Small Stones and Colors
Rocks about the size of ping pong balls are fairly typical in desert landscapes, but there are many ways to pump up the aesthetic using rocks of varying sizes and colors. Create an impact by layering the size of rocks in wide swaths next to a concrete path or swipe of lush green grass. Small rocks over a wide area rimmed with larger rocks frame the front yard nicely. Black lava rocks can give a modern feel to a space, while small chips of white marble can create a striking spot under a cluster of shade trees or in a dark corner of the front yard.
Stepping Stones Over Rock Landscapes
After installing rock in the yard, stepping stones or oversized pavers can create a dramatic effect. Stepping stones placed over a rock landscape can lead to the patio or around the side of the home. Oversized pavers can pack a pretty punch when paired with crushed gravel or pebbles. Dark planks over light pebbles create a striking contrast. Lay them down in a path around the yard and landscaping beds with attractive bushes or trees.
River Rocks and Beach Stones
River rocks can also be laid in a band over a layer of jagged smaller rocks and can stand out as a landscaping feature. For a realistic river look, dig a shallow trench and lay larger river rocks along the edge with smaller rocks in the middle and bottom of the narrow channel. A patch of light-colored, smooth beach stones can brighten a dull or shady area.
Boulders and Big Rocks
Whether your front yard is big or small, boulders and large rocks can create a visual impact. Rough boulders paired with an expanse of pea gravel or a patch of green lawn can add height and depth or create a visual barrier for privacy.
A layer of rocks over a stretch of landscaping fabric or plastic liner can look attractive and keep weeds at bay. It is longer lasting than a layer of mulch. Rocks can also prevent soil erosion in large areas where rainwater streams create muddy problems.
A cascade of tawny river rocks in varying shapes along a concrete or flagstone walk adds depth and color to the edges of a plain pathway.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.