The Stone Yard
Stones in the garden are a great way to add color and structure, from gravel paths to fountains flowing over river rock. Here are a few of the types and shapes that you might incorporate into your landscape.
Softer limestone will pack into a smooth surface over time, resembling the crushed oyster shells traditionally used for landscaping along the East Coast. It's also fine enough to fill seams in a paver path. Gold dust, from Lang Stone, $77 per ton (16.5 cu. ft.).
For splashes of color with durability—on driveways, heavily traveled paths, and in drip edges—use granite, which is so hard it resists crushing or packing. Pink granite, from Jones and Sons; $94 for approx. 1,960 lbs. (20.5 cu. ft.).
White marble may be common, but it sparkles brightly in the sun and has another advantage: runoff from it will raise the pH level of acidic soil.
Line paths or other formal areas with crushed stones and pea gravel less than a 1/2 inch in diameter. Pea gravel, from The Home Depot, $3.50 per ½-cu.-ft. bag.
When full-sized pavers are too costly, choose crushed bricks to complement the red clay and brick-sided houses of the South. 1.Brick chips, 3/4-1 3/4 in., from Lang Stone, special order item. 2. Crushed brick, from Jones and Sons; $104 for approx. 1,820 lbs. (21.5 cu. ft.).
A deep-colored alternative to harder stone, lava rock is so porous that it's lightweight, providing more coverage per ton. Use leftovers to line the bottom of a gas grill and distribute heat more evenly, or to filter water in areas. 1. Red flowerrock, from Lang Stone, $215 per ton (about 33 to 50 cu. ft.). 2. Lava rock, 3/8-in., from Palmer Coking Coal Co., $48 per ton (180-240 cubic feet).
In woodsy areas, create a rock garden with large stones—2 inches or larger—piled up or laid in patterns between shade-loving plants, or use these stones to border small ponds or water features. 1. Green seaside pebbles, 2-3 in., from Stoneyard.com, $1,480 per pallet (approx. 2,450 lbs or 20 cu. ft.). 2. Buff Mexican beach pebbles, 3-5 in., from Stoneyard.com, $990 per pallet (approx. 1½ tons or 25 cu. ft.). 3. Red Mexican beach pebbles, 3-5 in., from Stoneyard.com, $990 per pallet (approx. 1½ tons or 25 cu. ft.).
Use colorful rocks collected from beaches as decoration in sculpted landscapes, Japanese gardens, indoor vases, or organic water features. 1. Red Mexican beach pebbles, 1 1/2-2 1/2 in., from Stoneyard.com, $1,480 per pallet (approx. 2,450 lbs or 20 cu. ft.). 2. Black polished pebbles,1 1/2-2 1/2 in., from Stoneyard.com,, $1,480 per pallet (approx. 2,450 lbs or 20 cu. ft.). 3. White polished pebbles, 1 1/2-2 1/2 in., from Stoneyard.com,, $1,480 per pallet (approx. 2,450 lbs or 20 cu. ft.).
As path liners, smaller water-smoothed stones massage barefoot walkers.