How Do You Prepare Your Yard for Rock Landscaping?

Rock landscaping might look tricky, but it shouldn’t be complicated, especially if you plan everything out. Knowing how to prepare for rock landscaping is crucial since it will lead to a better-finished yard.

Before we discuss how to lay landscaping rocks, let’s first look at how to prepare your yard for rock landscaping.

Step 1: Marking the Area

The first step is marking the ground area where you want to lay your landscaping rocks. There are many ways to mark your yard, but the most appropriate is using a spray can. You can also use ground markers or chalk markers. Just use whatever method you would like.

Highlighting and measuring the area will not only let you know the volume of rocks you will require but also make it easier when you are ready to start digging.

You can mark the ground at any time. However, it’s advisable to do so when the soil is dry, loose, and easy to remove. Marking the yard might be problematic during rainy or wintery days.

Step 2: Digging the Ground

You are now ready to get your hands dirty. Dig out the marked area and remove the topsoil. The tools to use for this task can be a shovel or a tiller, depending on availability.

Remove all the vegetation using a rake, tiller, or shovel. You are only required to dig to a level you want to fill. For example:

  • A depth of about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) should be fine if you intend on using gravel or other types of landscaping rocks that will fit in your hand.
  • A depth of 15cm to 20 cm is okay if you will be using bigger rocks.

Step 3: Compressing the Ground

Next, you must ensure that you tamp down the soil in the excavated area. You can use whichever method and tool are available to you. A good example is a motorized compactor. Tamping is meant to compact the soil for the next steps of preparation.

Step 4: Additional Tamping for Walkways and Paths

Pouring and then tamping crushed stones is the next step on how to prepare for rock landscaping for a walkway. Purchase fine crushed stone and spread it on the compacted area. A rake will undoubtedly help you spread the stones.

Again, ensure it is evenly spread out before using a tampering tool to compact it. Doing this will make the walkway much more stable and keep the landscaping stones in place after laying them. Skip this step if you are only seeking to lay a decorative landscape that will not be walked on.

Step 5: Setting the Landscaping Fabric

The next step is purchasing and setting up landscaping fabric. Landscape fabric is available in rolls at local gardening or hardware stores.

Cut a piece fitting the size of the area you dug out and lay it properly. If you cannot do it using a single piece of fabric, you can use multiple pieces and overlap them when laying until you cover the whole area correctly.

Step 6: Placing and Setting Your Plants

If you do not intend on having plants with your rock landscaping, you can skip to the next step. If you include plants, it is time to mark where you want the plants to be and then cut the fabric in X-pattern. Cutting the fabric this way is not a must but recommended since it will give you enough space to work.

Loosen the soil underneath the fabric where your plants will be. Afterward, place the plants, and set them correctly in the ground.

Step 7: Installing a Landscaping Edge

For those that are looking to lay an elevated or decorative rock landscape, this is the point where they need to install a landscaping edge. To do this, first, you have to dig a trench along the edges of the area you dug out. Ensure to remove the fabric out of the way and return it after you complete the trench.

You can use either a trowel or shovel to dig. After this, you should gently hit the landscape edging into the desired place. You can use a rubber mallet for this task.

Even though edging is not a must, it’s recommended since it keeps small rocks in place. Landscaping edging also adds to the aesthetics of the landscape and helps keep the fabric in place for a long time.

Step 8: Choosing and Buying Suitable Landscaping Rocks

Picking suitable stones for the set-up you have made is critical for preparing for rock landscaping. Ensure that you buy enough rocks to fill the desired area. If a few are left, you can use the leftover to refill areas you feel deserve.

Some of the most common landscaping rocks include:

  • Gravel –  A naturally occurring stone with varying sizes and colors. It is among the cheapest landscaping rocks and great for those that want to landscape at an affordable price.
  • River Rock – These rocks are not only smooth but come in a mix of colors such as white, gray, and tan. Apart from the coastal vibe, they look amazing in the rain.
  • Marble Rock –  A bit more expensive but bright and has an elegant look.
  • Lava Rock –  They are also called volcanic rocks and come in different colors.

Final Step: Filling in the Rocks

The final step in this how to prepare for rock landscaping guide is filling the landscaping rocks in the prepared area.

If your yard is not flat and has some slope, start filling from the lowest points and filling until it is level with other parts. After that, proceed to fill up the whole area. Ensure you continuously spread the rocks during the filling process. You can use a light compactor tool to tamp the rocks lightly, so they do not move around much.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for ways to lay rocks in the yard or prepare for rock landscaping, we hope the above steps get you started immediately. Dedicate adequate time preparing the ground before installing landscaping stones to ensure they stay in place for a long time.