Rock Garden

Questions and Answers About Decorative Rock in Landscaping Projects

Rock FAQ

Q: How much rock do I need?

A: Our general rule of thumb is one yard of rock will cover 100 square feet at a depth of approximately 2 inches. Use our calculators to get a quick estimate of the amount of material you’ll need for your project.

Q: What sizes of decorative rock are there?

A: In general, the most common dimensions of decorative rock are ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, ½ inch, ¾ inch or 1 inch up to 1 ¼ inch. Sizes vary depending on the mine and equipment used to crush it.

Q: How is decorative rock packaged or delivered?

A: Normally, decorative rock comes in bulk, delivered with a dump truck. Very small quantities of decorative rock – typically pebbles or pea gravel – may be available in bagged form. Bulk rock is delivered by dump truck to the site specified by the customer.

Q: How should I install the decorative rock once I have it?

A: There are two ways that we recommend installation of your decorative rock: hire a qualified installation contractor, or do it yourself. If you need a referral for a contractor, please contact us for a referral. If you do it yourself, make sure you’re prepared with the right tools on hand.

For small quantities, you’ll need a sturdy wheel barrow, a round nose shovel and a flat nose shovel, good leather work gloves and sturdy shoes or boots. For medium to large jobs, we recommend renting a small skid loader, available from most rental yards, and some extra labor.

Q: What is the best depth for decorative rock?

A: We typically recommend a depth of 2 inches for most decorative rock installations. Recommended depths vary based on the intended use. Contact us for more information.

Q: How do I deal with large deliveries to my home?

A: It’s easy to get in trouble if you don’t take the time to think about how big the trucks are vs. the size of your gates or other entrances and/or egresses. This is a critical part of any home project that is frequently overlooked. For instance, a standard or larger sized dump truck will not be able to fit through an 8 foot gate, go over soft grass, under trees, or over concrete patio or pool decking. Also, most trucking companies won’t go over residential street curbs for legal reasons. Be prepared to sign a liability waiver stating that you take responsibility for any damage done to the curb or sidewalk if there is no other way to get your material to its desired or required location on your lot. Most typically, your rock will be delivered to your address, and dumped on the street in a pile in front of your house. Be sure to check with the city or HOA for what kind of markers or cones that you may need for the duration of your project. If you live in a rural area or have a big yard and no issues with curbs, grass, trees, water mains, sprinklers etc., the delivery company can generally accommodate you about where you want the rock.

Q: What is the difference between screened, minus and washed rock?

A: The classes of rock are based around the amount of fines - dirt which goes through the screening process and ends up in the final product – they contain. The three most common classes are minus, screened and washed. ‘Minus’ rock can contain up to 80% fines, making it look more like a pile of dirt with some rocks than the other way around. ‘Screened’ rock typically contains between 20% and 40% fines. The cleanest, or most ‘pure,’ rock is ‘washed’ rock.

Q: What if the rock I receive is not the same color that I ordered?

A: Rock is a natural product and will therefore always have color variations. It is virtually impossible to guarantee the color of a given kind of rock unless the customer makes their selection at the quarry itself. Ordinarily, the color difference between a sample and the rock that is actually delivered should only vary in color by a shade or two.

Q: How do I keep weeds from growing in the rock?

A: There are several weed-prevention solutions available for most installations. We recommend either of the following weed-prevention materials:

Landscape fabric – A tough, fibrous black fabric installed as a base for the rock on the prepared ground. It is less sun sensitive and easier to install. Being porous, it breathes and allows water to flow through it. Its dense weave keeps weeds from growing through.

Pre- or post-emergence chemical or environmentally safe sprays. A pre-emergence solution is sprayed on bare ground, deterring seeds from germinating. It does need to be re-applied periodically depending on rain and drainage. Post-emergence sprays or solutions work as or after weeds actually appear in the landscape. This method works as long as you stay on top of it and kill the weeds or grass early and regularly.

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