How to Landscape a Yard With Rocks & Gravel

Meg Jernigan

Xeriscaping is the art of creating low-maintenance landscapes that need a minimum of water to thrive. The method is environmentally friendly, and eliminates the need for watering, weeding and mowing. The hardscape, or nonliving part of the landscape, is complemented by flowers and bushes.

Landscape a Yard With Rocks & Gravel


Illuminate the landscape with solar lights. Use a mixture of different sizes and colors of gravel. Allow moss and lichen to grow on the rocks. They should occur naturally.


Avoid very small gravel that can get stuck in shoes and tires. Small gravel also can entice cats to use it as a litter box.

A good design combining rock and gravel with hardy, drought resistant plants creates a pleasant landscape, whether you turn your entire yard over to xeriscaping or simply use some rock and gravel elements to add focus or conceal flaws.

  1. Sketch out your plan. Take your terrain, orientation to the sun and whether you need to leave a green area for children or pets into consideration. Sloping lots work well with rock gardens. The sun's position factors into what plants you choose.

  2. Improve the soil. Remove grass and till the soil. Work in organic compost. Level flat areas and introduce a gentle downward slope in areas near the house to direct water away from the foundation.

  3. Choose a focal point for your landscape and build a rock garden there. Use a combination of sizes and types of rocks. Limestone is a good choice for rock gardens because it's porous and plants can take hold on it. Fill the areas around the rocks with topsoil, let it settle for a few days and then plant small evergreens or low-growing perennials like lobelia.

  4. Create natural rock pathways and a patio, or a small seating area. Dig out the pathway and patio to a depth that's equal to the depth of your pavers plus 1 inch. Lay 1 inch of gravel in the bottom, smooth it out and then put the pavers in place. Fill the spaces between the pavers with gravel.

  5. Make a flower garden by treating the soil and then placing a weed-suppressing membrane on top. Cut holes in the membrane and then plant low maintenance ornamental grasses, salvia, lavender, heather and columbine. Pull the cut membrane around the base of the plants and cover it with gravel.