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How Much Do Landscape Rocks and River Stones Cost? (2024 Guide)

Average project cost: $650

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Author Icon By Angela Bunt Updated 01/12/2024

Landscaping isn’t just mowing and maintaining your lawn. It’s about transforming your outdoor space through design and construction. One popular way to spruce up your yard is by adding landscape rocks or river stones.

Stones add an interesting shape and texture to your lawn. They’re ideal for retaining walls, walkways, and garden features. Landscape rocks and river stones come in an assortment of sizes, shapes, and colors. Their price depends on the type of rock you purchase, its size, and where you bought it. On average, landscape rocks cost $50–$125 per ton or $45–$130 per cubic yard.

For low-priced, high-quality rocks, it’s best to get quotes from several rock suppliers who can provide the right type of natural stone for your project. Compare quotes before making your final choice. Here are some of the factors that influence landscape rock cost.

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Landscape Rocks

On average, landscape rocks cost $45–$130 per cubic yard.

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Land Survey

Land surveys typically cost anywhere from $375–$745.

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Stump Removal

Stump removal services usually cost $75–$500.

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Landscape Rock and Stone Cost

Landscaping rocks come in many styles and sizes, from small, colorful pebbles to boulders that weigh 150 pounds per cubic feet. The overall price is about $650 per project. That’s assuming your rocks fall in the average range of $50–$125 per ton or $45–$130 per cubic yard. However, this price is subject to many different factors.

Consider the cost range for the following types of rocks.

Rock TypePrice per TonPrice per Cubic YardPrice per Bag

Boulders

$100–$600

N/A

N/A

Bull rock

$75–$100

$65–$125

$5–$30

Crushed granite

$65–$185

$35–$65

$6–$15

Crushed limestone

$20–$30

$30–$45

$3–$19

Decomposed granite

$35–$60

$35–$65

$25–$35

Lava rock

$115–$220

$75–$165

$5–$22

Pea gravel

$20–$50

$20–$70

$4–$6

River rock

$80–$150

$40–$80

$5–$17

Mexican beach pebbles

$500–$950

$500–$1500

$20–$40

River Rock Price by Ton

River rock is one of the most versatile landscaping options. It makes beautiful walkways, garden borders, or decorative fillings for fountains or other water features.

River rock is generally sold by the ton or cubic foot and ranges from $80–$150 per ton. If you’re looking for a small amount of river rock, check your local home goods store for 50-pound bags.

If you have a large yard and want to use landscaping rocks throughout the entire property, it might be cheaper to purchase 1 ton or more at once. However, if your space only needs a few small patches of stones or decorative, multicolor pebbles, it will likely be cheaper to buy them individually rather than all at once.

Lava Rock Cost

Lava rock is filled with interesting textures, offering a low-maintenance, uniform look to your landscape. This stone looks beautiful in borders, fire pits, flowerbeds, planters, and pathways.

Using lava rock in your landscape design has many benefits. These rocks retain moisture well, prevent weeds from growing, and look great when mixed with other stones such as river rocks or pea gravel. 

Lava rock’s spongy surface creates an interesting contrast against other rocks’ smoother appearances. The downside is that it can grow moss and mold, then pass the spores along to nearby plants.

Lava rock comes at a wide range of prices, but the average cost is $115–$220 per ton or $75–$165 per cubic yard. A small bag can run $5–$22. 

Bull Rock Cost

Bull rock allows you to create an inviting landscape without spending money on expensive plants or mulch. This smooth, round stone looks like big gravel and comes in neutral colors such as beige, white, gray, or buff. 

You can use bull rock as a border for a flowerbed or as filler around your fire pit. To create a relaxing atmosphere, place a few chairs around the rock formation for social gatherings. 

Bull rock costs $75–$100 per ton and $65–$125 per cubic yard. If your backyard still has gaps after its first layer of landscape materials, consider adding some bull rock stones from a home and garden store. Costs average $5–$30 per bag depending on the weight.

Crushed Granite Cost

Homeowners like crushed granite because it’s budget-friendly, durable, and makes terrific non-organic mulch. It also works well as a paving material for paths and garden walkways since water won’t pool on top of it. 

Crushed granite comes in various colors depending on where it was mined. Some landscapers combine contrasting colors and use crushed granite as filler around a patio. It’s easy to spread with shovels and rakes, which is perfect for do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts.

Although affordable and long-lasting, this stone can slip away with erosion. It also gets muddy in the rain and can even sink into the ground, meaning you’ll need to replace it semi-frequently. Crushed granite costs $65–$185 per ton or $35–$65 per cubic yard on average. 

Pea Gravel Cost

Pea gravel is simply river rock that’s been broken into tiny pebbles. It’s particularly useful for filling in walkways, play areas, flowerbeds, or firepit areas. Pea gravel can be found at nearly any nursery, for sale in bulk by ton or by cubic yard. 

Costs vary depending on which type of rock you’re looking for, but expect to pay $20–$50 per ton or $20–$70 per cubic yard. Prices may be higher for colored rock.

Crushed Limestone Cost

Limestone is beautiful and practical, making it a popular choice for backyard gardeners. This white or pale rock not only has a distinctive look but also provides a nutrient-rich ground cover. Limestone’s high alkalinity helps reduce acidity levels, achieving a better pH balance for some soils.

Although durable and long-lasting, crushed limestone can sink into soft ground relatively quickly. Try putting a layer of landscape fabric between the ground and the stones to prevent this. 

Limestone costs about $20–$30 per ton or $30–$45 per cubic yard. 

Boulders Cost

Landscape boulders may seem like an unusual decorative rock choice, but this low-maintenance option actually offers a great focal point to your landscape design. Boulders make great fire pit seats, retaining walls, steps, or rock clusters. You can surround your boulders with pea gravel or groundcover plants such as creeping Jenny.

Boulders range in cost depending on the size and type. They average $100–$600 per ton. Many boulder dealers will sell directly to homeowners, with prices based on the stone’s quality and quantity. Be sure to ask about delivery costs. If the boulders are too heavy for you to position, you can have them professionally moved but may pay extra. 

Decomposed Granite Cost

Decomposed granite is a quick, easy, and affordable material for building beautiful, gentle pathways in your landscape. No bigger than three-fourths of an inch, decomposed granite is formed from weathered igneous rocks such as mica, quartz, and feldspar. It comes in various colors, such as red, black, gray, and green.

Because of its versatile nature, decomposed granite is often used as a transition material in landscaping. It can help broaden a walkway or soften the space between a rock path and a flowerbed. Decomposed granite generally runs $30–$60 per ton or cubic yard. 

Mexican Beach Pebbles Cost

Worn smooth by ocean waves, Mexican beach pebbles lend an elegant and sophisticated look to gardens and lawns. These rocks are versatile and safe. They can fill dry stream beds, serve as decorative accents around water features, create colorful mosaics, or even form rock gardens. Mexican beach pebbles come in various shapes, sizes, shades, and colors.

Since these rocks are practically impervious to all forms of weather, they can last a lifetime. However, their cost reflects their value: Mexican beach pebbles range from $500–$1,000 per ton or $500–$1,500 per cubic yard.

Riprap Rock Cost

Riprap is an interlocking system of well-graded rocky material that landscapers or builders can use for various purposes. Riprap is often used to minimize erosion or provide structural support. 

Rocks generally range 2–24 inches and have a blocky structure, which helps the pieces fit together. Typically, a riprap structure is anchored to the ground using a wire mesh.

Although often associated with industrial-sized projects, riprap can be used as a ground cover to prevent erosion, as the base for retaining walls, or around the outer perimeter of ponds and lakes. The cost of riprap rock depends on the size of the rocks you need, the type of riprap stone you purchase, and whether it’s being delivered to your home. 

A one-ton pallet of rock typically costs $30–$150 per ton or $25–$75 per cubic yard, depending on the type of stone needed.

Type of RiprapCost per Cubic Yard

Grouted

$45–$60

Ungrouted

$25–$75


River Rock Prices by Type

River rock is not a single type of rock, but actually, any sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic rock found in rivers. River rock comes in various colors, shapes, and sizes. Its single common characteristic is that moving water has worn it smooth. 

River rock is full of possibilities for backyard landscapers. It makes beautiful mosaics, walking paths, landscape edging, or hard mulch around plants or fire pits. River rock can work in nearly any setting since it comes in about 50 shades of gray, green, brown, and black and in stripes, speckles, or striations.

River rock can run as low as $85 per ton or as high as $850 per ton (or $45–$130 per cubic yard). 

Often, the price difference reflects whether the stones are polished or unpolished and if they feature brighter colors or more traditional blacks, grays, or browns.

Type of River RockCost per Ton*

Appalachian river stone (2”–5”)

$180

New England river stone (2”–5”)

$210

Tan river rock (1”–3”)

$160

*Based on top North Carolina river rock suppliers’ average prices. Costs may vary due to location. 


Landscaping Stone Prices

Landscaping stones add color and variety to your yard. These rocks can also serve as a hardscape form of mulch, preventing runoff and helping your yard stay moisturized during a dry spell. Landscaping stones come in a mix of colors and textures, allowing you to mix and match them for a creative and individual look.

The cost of landscaping stone depends on the kind of stone you choose. You might pay just $20 per ton for crushed limestone or pea gravel. Top-shelf materials such as polished Mexican beach pebbles can run as high as $950 per ton.


Landscape Rock Installation Cost

The cost of installing landscape rock depends on many factors, including time, labor, and delivery pricing. It’s not easy to give a single price point for labor costs and stone delivery because it varies by location. Delivery could be very expensive in rural areas, while labor could be more costly for homeowners in densely populated locations.

Typically, installing landscaping stone costs $250–$2,500. The average cost per hour is $50–$100, plus $200–$400 for delivery. These costs may increase if your project requires heavy lifting or specialized equipment. You can save money by installing the rock yourself, but you may have to buy or rent tools to get it done.


Landscape Rock Removal Cost

If you plan to reconfigure your landscape design, build a new deck, or install a pool, you might need to move your boulders or pebbles before construction can begin.

You can do the job yourself: Simply dump your rocks into a dumpster, then call a company to haul it away. That costs about $200. You can also advertise free landscaping rocks for anyone who will take them. 

If you decide to hire a company to remove your rocks, expect to pay $275–$500 for a small load, $500–$900 for a medium load, or about $1,200 for a large load. Your fee should include about $60 per hour, per landscaper, plus the trailer cost to haul away the debris from your yard.


How To Calculate Landscape Rock Needs

To save money and time, be as accurate as possible when estimating the amount of rock your project requires. Calculating your landscape rock needs is a matter of simple math.

Calculating Rock Needs in Cubic Yards

First, determine the area of your yard that requires rocks. Then, multiply the length by width to determine how many square feet are in the area. Multiply the square footage by the depth (usually 3–4 inches) to get the cubic feet needed for rock coverage. Divide by 27 and multiply the quotient by the rock cost per cubic yard to figure out the cubic yard measurement.

Calculating Rock Needs in Tons

You may prefer to purchase your rocks by the ton instead of cubic yard. Start by determining the square footage of the area you want to cover with rocks. Most often, you’ll want your rocks to be 3–8 inches deep. 

Using small gravel, 1 ton will cover 100–140 square feet. One ton of larger stones may cover just 60–80 square feet. Talk with your supplier about the amount of rock needed for your specific project.


How To Landscape with Rocks

Rocks have been used for centuries to create different effects in landscaping, from creating artful displays to providing drainage or erosion control. Here are eight ways you can use rocks in your backyard or garden.

  1. Create a stone walkway. Use large rocks for the steps and fill in around them with pea gravel.
  2. Replace your wood mulch with long-lasting stone. Porous rocks such as lava stone make excellent mulch.
  3. Build a rustic fire pit with lava rocks, granite, or slate.
  4. Fashion a water feature using smooth stones such as Mexican beach pebbles.
  5. Create eye-catching points of interest with boulders and accent them with low-growing, colorful plants such as lavender.
  6. Construct a retaining wall. These walls help prevent erosion as well as form the borders of flowerbeds. Mixing river rock of different colors and variations helps add depth and character to your wall and landscape.
  7. Accent your entryway, fire pit, or seating area with small gravel.
  8. Set off your patio with a rock border. 

Stepping Stones

Landscape stones can be used to create various features. For example, building a stepping stone path out of natural rocks can add an interesting decorative element to your yard. Stepping stones are typically constructed with stacked rocks, but some people use river stone. 

Crushed Stone Driveways and Patios

Crushed stone driveways require less maintenance than asphalt or gravel driveways, but will still need periodic repair. Patios can be made from various materials, including crushed stone. The best choice for an inexpensive patio floor is often river stones because they’re easily accessible and look great in a natural setting.

Mulching

Landscape rocks and river stones are a homeowner’s best friend for protecting the lawn. Rocks make great mulch when properly sized. Mulch as an organic material spreads over the soil to prevent weed growth, retain moisture, reduce erosion, provide nutrients for plants, and even discourage pests. Rock does the same thing and lasts much longer than organic material, but is high-maintenance and requires regular cleaning and care.


Professional vs. DIY Landscape Rock Installation

Taking care of your own landscaping is an easy way to save money, but DIY projects can go awry and cost you more time and money in the long run. So, how do you know when to do it yourself and when to call in a landscaping company?

Professional Landscape Rock Installation

While pruning, mowing, and mulching are often simple tasks, an amateur landscaping job may not provide the look you want. Building a retaining wall or a pond out of stone are jobs best left to professionals. Go with a pro when you don’t know what you’re doing, safety is a concern, or water or electric lines are involved. 

DIY Landscape Rock Installation

You may find a lot of personal satisfaction in completing a DIY landscaping project. The job provides good exercise and can save you cash. You can probably handle the job on your own if you’re installing rock as a weed barrier, flowerbed, or mulch. Make sure to lay down a fabric or sand barrier—never plastic—and get the surface as level as possible before starting the work. You should also keep basic safety in mind: wear gloves, lift with your legs, and shod your feet with steel-toed boots.


How To Save on Landscape Rock Installation

Landscaping rocks can be a great way to add natural, rustic appeal to your yard. You can find them at nurseries, hardware stores, garden shops, craft stores, and many other places. Prices vary widely. Here are some ways you can save money on landscape rock installation: 

  1. Shop around. Industrial supply companies often charge a fraction of what the big-box stores do, so compare prices before buying any stones or bricks for landscaping. 
  2. Buy wholesale. If you need large quantities of stone or bricks, contact a local quarry or supplier to see if they offer bulk rates. 
  3. Use crushed limestone or pea gravel instead of landscaping stones. The stones cost a fraction of bull rock or Mexican beach pebbles.
  4. You don’t want to pay for more rock than you can use or store. Avoid overbuying by doing some math up-front.
  5. If you’re looking to buy more than one ton at a time, ask your supplier if they offer free delivery on orders over one-half a truckload.

Our Conclusion

Landscape rocks are a low-maintenance way to add beauty to your landscaping. They work in many places, from foundation plantings to walkways. The cost of landscape rocks and river stones varies by size, color, and stone type. For example, a bag of bull rock might run just $5 while 1 ton of Mexican beach pebbles can cost more than $1,000. In general, though, landscaping rock costs $50–$125 per ton or $45–$130 per cubic yard.

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FAQ About Landscape Rock Cost

What is the cheapest rock to use for landscaping?

Pea gravel is the cheapest landscaping rock available. It can be used for a wide variety of landscaping projects, including driveways.

How much does a ton of rock cover?

How much a ton of rock covers depends on the rocks’ size and volume. The following table gives a general idea of how much area 1 ton of rock covers.

Material Coverage (3″ deep)
Crushed rock 65–75 square feet
Landscape rock (0.75″–1.5″) 75–85 square feet
Landscape rock (1.5″–3″) 45–60 square feet
Lava rock 200–210 square feet

How much is a scoop of landscape rock?

In general, one “scoop” of any product less than 1-inch in size covers 75 square feet at 2 inches deep. Expect around 10 square feet less coverage with products that measure 1.5 inches.

How do you estimate landscaping rocks?

To estimate how many landscaping rocks you need in cubic yards, measure the area you’re working with and multiply by desired coverage in feet. Divide the sum by 27 to get the answer in cubic yards.

How much does a cubic yard of rock cost?

Landscaping rocks cost an average of $40–$100 per cubic yard.

What is the cost of landscaping rock?

Landscaping rocks cost $50–$130 per ton on average.

What is the best type of rock for landscaping?

The best type of rock depends on what kind of landscaping you’re doing. For example, you may choose one of the following options depending on the circumstance:

  • Decomposed gravel to spruce up your yard and give it a soft, weathered feel
  • Pea gravel to cover driveways or fill in spaces between stepping stones
  • Crushed granite to transition between your walkways and garden plants
  • Lava rock to provide beautiful landscaping accents
  • River rock to build flowerbeds or water features

What is the best way to landscape with rocks?

First, determine where to place your landscaping rocks. Then, use a tool such as a garden edger to outline your idea and define a boundary. Dig the area so the surface is reasonably flat, but only dig as deep as you plan on laying stone. Next, cover the ground where the rocks will lie with fabric or sand. Finally, fill the area with rocks. 

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