Recently it's been quite a strange and trying time, as you all know, and the excessive amount of free time has been an extreme adjustment. Staring at the backyard has become a hobby for most. With all the downtime homeowners have been inspired by DIY projects for their home. Spring has brought the beautiful flowers and lovely weather; it is the ideal time to work outside. Finally, your backyard can be turned into an oasis you’ve always dreamed of. Incorporating river rocks is a great, easy, and inexpensive way to transform your backyard and bring out its natural beauty.
River rocks can be used for all types of potential landscaping features, from creating a base for shrubs to creating functional landscaping as a drainage system. A great example of river rock usage is to create a pathway using smaller sizes stone products. There are many different options to choose from and different factors to consider. A crushed stone will generally work better when driving over or walking on, however a small sized river rock ranging in size from a 3/8” pea stone to three quarter inch work wonderful when applied to barefoot uses. Homeowners with dogs, cats and other animals should strongly consider using round stone products, as this greatly reduces the pain and damage on their feet. A 1-3” river rock is a great size for driveways with heavier traffic needs and then layering larger step sized stones, in my case I used flagstone, in order to create a decorative path.
In order to begin this project, first plan out where exactly this path would be in your front or backyard. Then, I suggest edging and digging a shallow section of where you want to put the path of river rocks. This is simply using a shovel in order to get clean lines of where in your yard you want to put the flagstone path. With your delivery of small river rocks, you can then pour them in using a wheelbarrow or shovel the rocks into your shallowly dug pathway. I used 2-4” river rocks, but there are many options such as smaller 1-2” river rocks or different colored lakeside rocks. Spreading the rocks out as evenly as possible will allow for a nice flat and easily walkable path. I then used the larger steppingstone flagstone rocks and placed them a few inches apart on the river rock as I travelled down the created walkway. Staggering the flagstone rocks as you see fit will create an authentic and creative addition to your front or backyard. It looks sophisticated and provides contrast to your grass and gardens. The flagstone path can also be placed wherever you prefer it, whether it be creating an easily accessible walkway from your front door to driveway or from your backyard to patio area, the river rocks look great and allow for a great addition to the landscaping features of any home.
Using some Cape Cod River Rocks, I also completed another do it yourself project to fill in a sizeable area for a potential or current outdoor fireplace. In my case, I first created the stone firepit where I wanted it. I ordered some 4-8" Cape Cod River Rock and stacked them in a circular shape in order to create the fireplace. I first dug slightly downwards into my yard in order to create a solid base for the round stone to then be stacked in the circular shape that I preferred. Then, I wanted to use some three-quarter inch Bayside Skimmers to fill in an area around the fire pit. Following the same steps of creating a pathway, I used a shovel to edge the area that I wanted to fill with river rocks. I created that shallow dirt area and then filled it with the same style of river rocks that I had used for the walkway. I also used veneer rocks in order to surround the area with a distinct edge. The veneer rocks were easy to place and stack and a great matching color to the stone I had already used. The veneer rocks created a low wall that kept the smaller river rocks from going into my grass that the area is surrounded with. The veneer rocks also created a perfectly outlined area for me to place chairs around my outdoor firepit. I cannot wait until after the end of corona when I will be able to stop self-quarantining and begin entertaining my friends and family in this great addition to my backyard.
After creating these features to my backyard, I was also inspired to put river rocks into the flower beds of my front yard. I have many shrubs that are close to the edge of my house out front, so I decided to use river rocks to create a beautiful contrast and a neater overall look. My shrubs were already in a shallow dirt area, so I allowed my kids to take over dumping the river rocks and spreading them out. The flower beds and my shrubs looked much neater, and as a bonus the river rocks didn’t allow for as many weeds to come up and distract from my garden. The river rocks were a great compliment to the color of my house, and I admired how there are so many different options of color schemes to fit what you need. With the great amount of free time that I’m sure we’ve all suddenly found, I recommend making great use of the freedom and creating great landscaping features that can all be easily and cheaply created with river rocks.