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How to Landscape a Front Yard With Rocks

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Gravel yards need less maintenance than lawns.
decorative red rock image by Kathy Burns from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

For yards that are in naturally rocky areas, areas of low water or yards where the homeowner cannot take care of the yard adequately, rocks are a viable alternative to a lawn. A landscape that uses rocks may have a single boulder as an accent, an island with rock mulch, a dry stream bed or an entire area covered in pea-sized gravel. Rocks provide an almost maintenance-free landscape and reduce costs for water.

Mark the borders of where you want gravel beds with spray paint.

Remove sod in the area that you plant to put down rocks using a sod cutter. A sod cutter uses blades to cut grass beneath the roots and lift it away in strips like a carpet. You can rent sod cutters from equipment rental companies.

Install edging around the borders of your gravel beds. Edging will help keep grass out of the rock bed and hold the rocks inside the bed. Dig a 6-inch trench around the border of the gravel bed. Use a scoop shovel to slope the bed gradually into the trench. Unroll the edging and push it up against the wall of the trench. Fit the sections of metal or plastic edging together using connectors, or stack cement or stone edging so that the pieces have no seam. Insert stakes into the metal or plastic edging and pound them into the ground. Fill in the trench behind the edging with soil.

Lay down plastic weed barrier cloth in sheets over the soil. This will prevent weeds from becoming established inside the bed. Cut the weed barrier so it is the exact size as the outline of your rock bed. Attach the weed barrier cloth to the soil using plastic anchoring staples.

Cover the weed barrier cloth in a thick layer of gravel.


Things You Will Need

  • Spray paint
  • Sod cutter
  • Spade
  • Scoop shovel
  • Edging
  • Stakes
  • Hammer
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Landscaping fabric staples
  • Gravel


  • Determine in advance what you hope to accomplish by landscaping with rocks. Things you should consider include the time and effort you want to spend caring for your landscape, the cost of landscaping materials and available water. Draw up your plan in advance before you begin landscaping with rock.
  • If you choose to cover your entire lawn in gravel, create variations in texture and color by dividing the lawn into sections using edging and placing different sizes and colors of rock in each section. You can further break up the texture by installing hardy plants, such as fountain grass.

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.