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How to Use River Rock on a Slope

Neal Litherland

River rocks--smooth rocks that come in a variety of colors ranging from black and red to yellow--can dress up the landscaping on your property. If you're going to use these river rocks on a slope. it's important that you carefully plan out the path for the stones, and that you make sure they are going to stay where you put them once water starts flowing.

Smooth river rocks can be used to create a visually appealing landscape.
  1. Draw a blueprint of the path you want the river rocks to lay down on the hill. Meandering courses look more natural. If you have a slope that will support it, then using river rocks to create a dry stream bed is a sound way to decorate a slope.

  2. Mark out the course for the river rock by digging up small amounts of sod and setting it aside. Examine your path from a distance. If you want to change the angles of the course, put the sod back in and dig out new sod to change the way the course.

  3. Dig into the slope to create a depression that follows your path. The path for the river rock should be "V" or "U" shaped, allowing the rock to fill the depression like stones along a river bed. You can make the slope as wide or as narrow as you want.

  4. Tamp the earth so that there isn't a bunch of loose soil for the rocks to simply push out of the way. Once the earth is solidly pushed down with all of the applied pressure (a tamper is simply a metal square on a pole that you strike the dirt with to pack it down), fill the depression with river rocks.

  5. Smooth out the river rocks so that the path is filled evenly.