Decorative rocks are taking over landscape design trends in movies, tv shows, and outdoor decorative magazines for good reason. Decorative rocks are durable, versatile materials that can enhance the style and decor of a variety of outdoor spaces, whether for residential or commercial projects. Landscaping with rocks can look classic, edgy, and everything in between. Plus, let’s not forget how convenient and low-maintenance decorative stone can be!

If you are into arts, crafting, or decoration, you likely have already seen some of these ideas on Pinterest, Instagram, and online magazines — or even featured on your favorite TV show. Take a look at five of the latest landscape design trends to see how you can use decorative rocks in your outdoor living area or garden.

1. Gabion Baskets as a Decorative Statement

Originally used for building retaining walls, gabion baskets have earned their place in finer environments thanks to their unique industrial aesthetic. The river rocks often used to fill gabions have a pleasant color variation, and they add a nice bright gray to your garden and outdoor areas.

But gabion baskets are more than just an aesthetic element of landscape design — they are also stable and sturdy, which is why landscape architects often use them to create low retaining walls, raised garden beds, steps, or as part of any other structural components. You can choose to keep them clean or plant some ferns and moss to give them a lush look.

Appropriate for Both Indoor Outdoor

Have you ever considered bringing gabion baskets inside to enhance indoor living spaces? They can make a quick and easy partition wall, or if you stack them low, you can create a kitchen island or ad-hoc bar or buffet. Imagine how cool a gabion basket with a glass topping would look when used as a coffee table!

The river pebbles will inject a natural look into your home’s landscape, while the metal wires make it look modern and industrial. And although these pieces can be hard to move and place, you won’t have to worry about maintenance for years.

2. Using Decorative Gravel as Grout in Between Flagstone, Pavers, and More

Pouring concrete is expensive, messy, and can make for drainage issues if there is often heavy rain where you live. Consider using small decorative pebbles or gravel — such as smoothly rounded pea gravel — as “grout” between your pavers or flagstone.

The look is natural, but still very tidy, and you get much better drainage for stormwater. Word to the wise: remember to lay down some landscape fabric under the gravel to prevent pesky weeds from popping up. Doing so provides a low-maintenance and cost-effective alternative to planting ground cover.

3. Colored Stones for Driveways Walkways

Using colored decorative stones is taking over current landscaping trends all over the country. Paved driveways are a thing of the past — small gravel comes in lots of attractive colors that can enhance your home’s curb appeal and make your home stand out from your neighbors’.

Worried about stray pebbles nicking your car? No need. Driveway gravel is made and delivered in the correct size to keep it on the ground and not flying about.

Stones that are Sized to Fit Can Help With Crowd Flow

Crushed stones are made to spec, meaning you can choose the precise size of the gravel you want to lay down. Use this to your advantage by placing larger decorative rocks where you don’t want any foot traffic. You get all the benefits of a cohesive look and good drainage, and you will discourage people and pets from walking too close to your prize azaleas.

Stabilized Gravel is a Great Alternative to Concrete and Asphalt

We’ve spoken about looks, crowd flow, and drainage, but did we tell you that decorative rock has a great price? The cost of spreading stabilized gravel is a fraction of what it would cost you to pour asphalt or concrete, not to mention that the job is done in hours at most and requires no setting time or aftercare.

The lower cost of stabilized gravel can make luxurious extras more in reach for your budget — such as beautiful, custom outdoor kitchens. Cost-effective, convenient, and beautiful, just how we like it.

4. Stone "Mulch"

More and more gardeners are joining the stone mulch ranks because of its superior looks, neatness, and convenience. Stone mulch is basically very fine decorative rock that is used to cover the soil and protect it from weeds and evaporation.

Among the various options, pumice stone is the kind preferred by most gardeners because its porous nature means it can retain water, thus keeping the soil moist for longer and ensuring moisture-loving plants (like certain herbs and vegetables in edible gardens) stay healthy.

Stone mulch does not disintegrate like organic mulch, so it doesn’t enrich the soil, but you can make up for it with compost tea or fertilizer.

It's Mulch that You Won't Have to Replace Twice a Year

Stone mulch has a few great advantages over traditional mulch; one of which is that it doesn’t change color, keeping your garden looking great year-round with no effort. While you do need to make sure stone mulch works for native plants in your area, they come with a big advantage in terms of landscaping maintenance.

Unlike wood-based mulch, stone mulch doesn’t have to be replaced ever. Like, ever ever. Regular mulch must be removed and replaced twice a year, both because it looks ragged and because it can make your plants sick if you don’t remove it. Stone mulch is forever: no removal, no replacement, no maintenance effort, and no added expense. Who can argue with that?

5. Dry Creek Beds

Gardens in TV shows tend to have spectacular water features, such as creeks or streams running across them. If you don’t have that kind of budget, you can still achieve the visual effect by creating a long, winding trench and filling it with stones of varying sizes. Add some larger rocks and plants on the edges, and you will have your very own dry creek bed!

Using Rock instead of French Drains

Besides looking great, dry creek beds can serve a purpose, controlling erosion and facilitating drainage. The traditional French drain involves a ditch and a perforated tube that carries stormwater away from your garden, but you can achieve a similar effect with a trench that has a good impermeable base and is filled with large rocks, of a size that promotes drainage.

Your utilitarian ditch will also look fabulous, with so many colors and types of decorative rocks to choose from.

From Outdoor Decorative Rock to Custom-Sized Crushed Rocks and Boulders

As you can see, decorative rock is one of the most versatile and trendier options for your landscaping dreams. From a statement boulder or lava rock to custom-sized crushed rocks and stabilized gravel, we have lots to choose from. At Minick Materials, we can advise you on what works best for your projects. Remember we ship nationwide.