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How to Incorporate Rocks and Pebbles Into Your Garden Design

Rocks and pebbles can have many uses in your garden. They give a naturally messy space a clean and sleek aesthetic, which is useful to those who prefer a neater living space. 

However, rocks and pebbles can do more in a garden than simply look pretty. Both larger rocks and tiny pebbles have important roles in maintaining the garden’s health, from keeping weeds away to maintaining the health and drainage of the soil. 

You can also gain some environmental benefits from using natural materials like rocks and pebbles to carry out essential functions in the garden. Rather than killing weeds with chemicals that can make their way into the water table and travel through the soil, some garden rocks can be used to naturally suppress the growth of weeds throughout the garden. 

River pebbles are also known for their environmental benefits. Keeping the soil drainage loose and avoiding compaction will allow water to travel down through the soil and reach the roots where it is needed rather than running off to the side and being wasted. Using a small amount of pebbles as mulch allows the soil to loosen up and can help reduce water waste, keeping your garden green. 

Choosing the right rocks and pebbles

Deciding on the right rocks and pebbles to use depends on the overall theme of your garden. It’s important to choose a rock or pebble that is cohesive with the look and feel of your outdoor space. 

Some factors to consider when you’re looking for pebbles and rocks include colour, size, and texture. The types you choose may influence the ambiance, location, or vibe of your garden, so make sure that you have carefully considered which rocks and pebbles will suit your garden. 

For example, if you want to create a European garden, a light-coloured, softly textured gravel pebble for a pathway might fit your theme. This will give an immaculate look that also leaves a warm and dry impression often shown in European-style gardens. 

Design ideas and techniques

There are many design options for using rocks and pebbles in a garden. As we mentioned, using either rocks or stones for a pathway is a great way to create both a functional and attractive path through the garden. 

However, you can also create other designs or decor throughout the garden with rocks and pebbles. For example, you might use rocks to form borders throughout the garden bed to separate different areas. They are also a great choice if you want a temporary split in a garden bed for a season. 

Water features are also often incorporated into gardens, but they can sometimes look out of place without being blended into the surrounding scenery. Strategically placing rocks and pebbles is an easy way to give the water feature a natural look and blend it seamlessly into the surroundings. 

Installation tips

If you’ve decided to use rocks or pebbles in your garden, ensure to learn some best practices for laying down materials in the garden bed. For starters, unlike soil, rocks and pebbles usually need a bit of careful preparation and planning before being used to get the best effect. 

This usually looks like carefully clearing and cleaning the area, measuring the space, and mapping out the layout for where you want to put down your rocks or pebbles. This allows you to easily calculate how much underlay you need. 

Underlay is the layer that goes underneath your rocks and pebbles, and it can be either fabric or something like cardboard or plastic. A breathable woven mat is usually the best option, as this allows water to pass through to the roots of the plants while also helping to prevent weeds from poking through. 

Then, place your rocks over the top of the underlay. Without the underlay, the rocks will generally shift and sink over time, and you’ll notice an erosion effect that greatly diminishes the usefulness of this technique. 

Careful placement of rocks and arrangement by size, colour, or texture can help create beauty in the garden. If you have a few statement pieces, like rocks of particularly large size or unique markings or colours, try arranging these in an interesting pattern. Odd numbers often look the best. Negative space can then be filled in with a nice neutral-coloured pebble. 

Maintenance and care

Luckily, rock garden maintenance and care aren’t too intensive, as this process is designed to reduce weeding. Some general tips and tricks are to wash off the rocks with a hose in between mulching and rotate the rocks every few months to prevent them from becoming sun-bleached.

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