How to Landscape With Wood & River Rocks


Landscaping a yard with wood and river rocks creates a distinctive focal point and planting area. Create a river rock garden with a wood border to showcase a decorative bench, fountain or garden windmill. Select wood that's approved for outdoor use when you build the border. Choose flowers and foliage to complement the river rock background with bright spots of color or muted shades of green.

Step 1

Measure the desired outside perimeter of the wood and river rock garden. Mark the borders with small wooden stakes in the ground, and tie builder's string between each stake to further outline the perimeter.

Step 2

Excavate the area between the builder's strings by removing the top layer of grass. Also remove any debris or rocks from the area.

Step 3

Level the center point of the garden. This is where a tiered fountain will be placed.

Step 4

Dig a 2-inch wide by 2-inch deep trench from the center of the excavated area to the nearest electrical outlet. The trench is for the electrical cord that powers the tiered fountain pump.

Step 5

Place the fountain in the center of the garden. Run its cord to the electrical outlet, and then cover the cord with loose soil that you removed when digging the trench.

Step 6

Place a row of landscape timbers around the outside perimeter of the garden.

Step 7

Drill holes through the timbers to fit the rebar. Place the holes 6 to 8 inches from the ends of the timbers, and then every 4 feet.

Step 8

Hammer the rebar through the drilled holes and at least 12 inches into the ground. The rebar will anchor the timbers in place. Insert rebar in every drilled hole around the perimeter of the garden.

Step 9

Stack another row of landscape timbers on top of the first.

Step 10

Attach the two rows of landscape timbers together with spikes. Place the spikes every 2 feet along the timbers. Two rows of timber wood are adequate to hold the river rocks inside the garden, but you can stack as many rows as you like.

Step 11

Plant Stella Dora daylilies along the wood border of the garden. Stella Doras are bright yellow and stand out against the muted colors of the wood and the river rocks. They are also perennials; so they will come back every year and multiply. Place the plants at least 6 inches apart. Scatter more plants, including hostas, sporadically through the garden.

Step 12

Cover the excavated space in the garden with small- to medium-sized river rocks. Be careful not to trample the daylilies as you spread the rocks.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Stakes
  • Builder's string
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Tiered fountain
  • Landscape timbers
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Rebar
  • Mallet
  • Spikes
  • Stella Dora daylilies
  • Hostas


  • University of Missouri Extension: Raised-Bed Gardening

Who Can Help

  • Landscaping Stones Come in a Wide Assortment of Sizes and Colors
Keywords: landscape timber border, river rock garden, wood garden border

About this Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.