Working with rocks is a great way to explore new creative possibilities and produce a more beautiful, livable landscape. Rocks can alter the personality of an outdoor space dramatically, infusing it with new colors, textures and structural elements. Landscape rocks also offer practical value, and can be used to create beautiful, low maintenance ground covers to replace grass lawns.

Looking to spice up your yard but don’t know where to start? Here are 17 unique design ideas that utilize landscape rocks, complete with rock suggestions so you know which stones to use.

1. Make a mosaic

rock mosaic

Photo by Patrick M

Welcome visitors with a handmade mosaic walkway made out of colorful, three-dimensional stones. Whether you devote yourself to an intricate design like this one or go for something simpler, you’ll wind up with a one-of-a-kind installation.

Rock suggestion: Barkstone

2. Build a fire pit

Rustic Stone Fire Pit

Photo by Landscape Design

Want to turn part of your yard into the ultimate summer hang out spot? Install a fire pit. Fire pits are easy and inexpensive to make, and will heat up any night you and your friends and family spend outside.

Rock suggestion: Moriah Flagstone

3. Use stones as exterior floor molding

curves and stripes

Photo by Yersinia pestis

Lining a wall with stones is a lot like installing molding in your living room. It adds visual definition and interest, and gives a space a well manicured look.

Rock suggestion: Black Polished River Pebbles

4. Make a fairy tale garden more magical with a stone stairwell

Stone Stairs

Build the cozy fairy tale world you fantasized about as child by filling your landscape with rustic pathways and mysterious stairwells made of old, irregular stones. Incorporate old English flowers, plants and vines and keep them slightly overgrown to conjure a romantic, mysterious aesthetic reminiscent of The Secret Garden.

Rock suggestion: Oak Flagstone

5. Add a rippling stone stream to a Zen garden

Reflexology Path

Photo by alantankenghoe

Indulge your senses by building a pathway through your Zen garden that looks like a stream. To achieve a rippling, water-like effect, select rounded stones of various sizes from within a monochromatic color palette and arrange them by size into graduating columns and rows. Add curves to your paths and alter the sizes of your stones along these curves to create a sense of movement.

Rock suggestion: Arizona River Rocks

6. Make a stepping stone path

Stepping Stones

Add quaint charm to the shady areas alongside your house by installing a stepping stone path. If you have a side or back door, arrange the path so that users can keep their shoes clean when making trips outside. To give your path a tidier, more finished appearance, consider using small pebbles in a contrasting tone to surround your larger stones.

Rock suggestion: Silver Amber Quartzite Flagstone

7. Use a stone border to make a fairy tale garden pond

backyard pond

Photo by devra

Create a garden pond that looks like it came out of a fairy tale by surrounding it with large rocks in varying shapes and colors. If possible, try to find stones that camouflage your pond liner and provide contrast in relation to the dark water inside.

Rock suggestion: Mixed Polished River Rocks

8. Put small spaces to work

small space rocks

Photo by ARNOLD Masonry and Landscape

The best way to turn a small, previously neglected patch of land into a pleasant, livable space is to give it strong definition. Establish clear borders and fill it with visual cues and structures that make it easy to use the space for its intended purpose.

Rock suggestion: Venetian Sierra Blend Pavers

9. Enliven a plain front yard with quirky, colorful rock beds

Garden Pottery

Photo by Rennett Stowe

Inventive rock bed designs full of warm colors and textures offer visual contrasts, add depth and richness to the landscape and complement the house’s architectural style. Large pottery pieces arranged like columns add playful definition and height, as well as broaden and intensify the warm color palette.

Rock suggestion: Copper Rose

10. Create a modern, low-maintenance walkway with pavers and river rocks

side path

Photo by Rae Allen

Use large pavers and river rocks to create a sleek, durable walkway you won’t have to spend time maintaining.

Here’s how to do it: First, establish and mark your walkway’s perimeter. Do your best to make the boundary lines straight and exact. Lay your large pavers, aiming to create evenly-spaced columns and rows. Finally, fill the remaining space inside your outer perimeter with river rocks.

Rock suggestion: Venetian Tumbled Santa Barbara Blend Pavers

11. Use rocks to make your backyard multi-level


Incorporating elevated sections within a landscape is a great way to add visual interest and define how your space will be used. Use height to liven up a flat, rectangular backyard, adding both depth and energy to your yard.

Rock suggestion: Adobe Retaining Wall Block

For more suggestions or tips, contact Parsons Rocks today at 702-566-7625.