Stones serve many purposes in the landscape: covering bare soil, decorating landscaped areas, bordering gardens. Options range from small pea gravel to large rocks used as focal points. Buying stones takes away a big chunk of your landscaping budget. Instead of heading to the home improvement store, take advantage of the free sources of stones for your next project.
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Construction sites are full of old materials that won't be used in the new building going up. Rocks are no exception. If you live near a construction site, check on the availability of rocks suitable for your project. The digging done on the site might reveal stones that you can use. By taking the stones, you save the company on disposal. Call the company or ask to speak to the foreman before taking any rocks.
Another person's old stones can become your new landscaping material. Watch for neighbors working on landscaping projects. Offer to take any old rocks off their hands. You save them work by hauling away the old stones. If you don't know anyone getting rid of rocks, check the section of online posting boards where local people offer items for free.
Most public lands allow removal of small amounts of rocks for personal use. Check at the ranger station if you head to a public or state park to verify that you are allowed to remove rock. Your rock collecting should not disturb the natural land. This means you can't drive a vehicle through vegetation to load the rocks, for example. If you take large quantities of rocks or use them for commercial purposes, you may need a permit.