Ashburn, VA

How much do landscaping river rocks and stones cost?

$45 – $130 Per ton
$50 – $160 Per yard
$250 – $1,500 Average landscaping rock project

River rock prices are $45 to $130 per ton or $50 to $160 per yard. Bulk river rock prices are $350 to $980 to buy a 7-ton truckload delivered. Large landscaping rocks cost $100 to $350 per ton. Rip rap rock costs $20 to $60 per ton. Decorative lava rock costs $80 to $240 per ton. One ton of river rock covers 55 to 135 square feet.

Get free estimates from rock landscapers near you or view our cost guide below.

Reviewed and approved on April 19, 2021, by Tom Grupa and 4 expert landscapers on HomeGuide.

Landscaping rock prices

Landscaping rock projects cost $250 to $1,500 on average. Landscaping rock prices are $45 to $130 per ton or $50 to $160 per cubic yard to buy river rocks, lava rocks, or decorative stones. Large landscaping rocks cost $100 to $350 per ton. The labor cost to install landscape rock adds $25 to $100 per ton.

Landscaping rock prices with delivery and installation - chart
Landscaping rock prices with delivery and installation - chart

Landscaping rocks cost
Option Per ton Per cubic yard
Rocks only $45 – $130 $50 – $160
Rocks + delivery $50 – $140 $55 – $175
Rocks + delivery + installation $75 – $240 $85 – $310

*Prices based on average 1” to 4” river rock.

  • Landscape rocks are useful for driveways, walkways, gardens, drainage, retaining walls, water features, firepits, and decorative filler.
  • Homeowners buy river rocks at home improvement stores, garden centers, or rock quarries. For larger projects, homeowners hire landscapers for delivery and installation.
  • River rock sizes range from 3/8” to 5”. Large landscaping rocks average 10” to 36”.
  • One ton of river rock covers 55 to 135 square feet.

Average river rock prices

The following table shows the average landscaping project covering 250 to 800 square feet with 3 to 6 yards of river rock.

Average river rocks landscaping project cost - chart
Average river rocks landscaping project cost - chart

Average cost of river rock
National average cost $725
Minimum cost $100
Maximum cost $2,000
Average range $250 to $1,500

*Based on 117 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

River rock cost calculator

Use the following calculator to estimate the rock cost and cubic yards needed.

River rock cost calculator
Length of the area in feet
Width of the area in feet
Depth in inches
(2" - 4" average for landscaping)
Get free estimates for your rock project. View Pros

Landscaping river rock and stone prices

Decorative rock prices are $45 to $130 per ton on average. Large landscaping rocks cost $100 to $350 per ton. Mexican beach pebbles cost $475 to $800 per ton. Rock costs depend on the type, size, shape, color, location, and finish (polished or not).

Landscaping river rock and stone prices per ton by type - chart
Landscaping river rock and stone prices per ton by type - chart

Cost of landscaping rocks and stones by type
Rock type Average price
River rocks
  • $45 – $130 per ton
  • $50 – $160 per yard
  • $15 – $35 per bag
Lava rock
  • $80 – $240 per ton
  • $50 – $140 per yard
  • $20 – $50 per bag
Large boulders
  • $100 – $350 per ton
Bull rock
  • $65 – $130 ton
  • $80 – $150 yard
Crushed stone & gravel
  • $10 – $50 per ton
  • $15 – $75 per yard
Crushed shells
  • $30 – $60 yard
White stones & pebbles
  • $650 – $1,300 ton
  • $15 – $40 per bag
Mexican beach pebbles
  • $475 – $800 per ton
  • $25 – $60 per bag
Crushed or decomposed granite
  • $45 – $95 per ton
  • $70 – $130 per yard

*Prices decrease per unit as the quantity increases.

Cost of river rock per ton

River rock costs $45 to $130 per ton on average, depending on the type, location, and size. One ton of river rock covers 55 to 135 square feet at a depth of 2 to 4 inches.

River rock prices per ton and per yard - chart
River rock prices per ton and per yard - chart

River rock prices per ton
Tons Price range
1 $45 – $130
2 $90 – $260
4 $180 – $520
6 $270 – $780
10 $450 – $1,300

*Material prices only.

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River rock prices per cubic yard

River rock costs $50 to $160 per cubic yard on average. A cubic yard of river rock covers 75 to 170 square feet when spread in a layer of 2” to 4” and weighs 2,400 to 2,700 lbs. on average, depending on the rock size.

River rock cost per yard
Cubic yards Average cost
1 $50 – $160
2 $100 – $320
3 $150 – $480

*Material prices only.

River rocks for landscaping
River rocks for landscaping

Lava rock prices

Lava rock costs $80 to $240 per ton or $50 to $180 per cubic yard, depending on the location and color. Lava rock prices are $20 to $50 per 10 to 50-lb. bag from home improvement or garden centers. Lava rock is known as “scoria” and comes in red, black, and grey colors.

Lava rock prices per ton and per yard - chart
Lava rock prices per ton and per yard - chart

Lava rock pros and cons:

  • Lightweight mulch alternative
  • Retains heat and moisture like pea gravel
  • Prevents soil erosion
  • Long-lasting and low maintenance
  • Porous in nature for better drainage
  • Additive for soil that improves drainage for plants
  • Blows away in heavy wind

Red lava rock
Red lava rock

Bull rock cost

Bull rock costs $65 to $130 per ton or $80 to $150 per yard, not including delivery. Bull rock is 2" to 5" in diameter and is used for yard drainage, French drains, landscape edging, rock gardens, driveway and foundation borders, xeriscaping, and more.

Bull rock for landscaping
Bull rock for landscaping

Mexican beach pebbles cost

Mexican beach pebbles cost $475 to $800 per ton or $25 to $60 per bag, without delivery. Mexican beach pebbles are 1/2" to 2" with a smooth surface used for ground covering, driveways, walkways, dry river beds and ponds, planters, and water features.

Mexican beach pebbles
Mexican beach pebbles

Cost of large landscaping rocks

Large landscaping rocks and boulders cost $100 to $350 per ton, depending on the size. For 18" stones, there are 8 to 10 stones per ton. There is only one 36" boulder per ton.

Cost of large landscaping rocks
Stone size Stones per ton Single stone cost
10" 40 – 45 $3 – $7
12" 22 – 26 $5 – $15
18" 8 – 10 $12 – $35
24" 3 – 4 $35 – $90
30" 2 $50 – $180
36" 1 $100 – $350

*Not including installation.

Large landscaping rocks and boulders for landscaping
Large landscaping rocks and boulders for landscaping

Bulk river rock prices

Bulk river rock prices are $350 to $980 for a 7-ton truckload delivered. A 1 to 1.5-ton pallet of rocks costs $200 to $320 unbagged, and $550 to $1,000 bagged. Bulk landscape rock prices depend on the rock type, size, supply location, and total weight.

Bulk river rock prices by pallet and truckload - chart
Bulk river rock prices by pallet and truckload - chart

Bulk river rock prices by pallet
Pallet type Average bulk prices
River rock (unbagged) $200 – $320
Flagstone (unbagged) $200 – $600
Landscaping rocks (20 – 55 bags) $550 – $1,000

*Pallets weigh 1.0 to 1.5 tons on average.

Bulk river rock cost by truckload
Truck size (tons) River rock cost Material + delivery cost
7 $315 – $910 $350 – $980
14 $630 – $1,820 $700 – $1,960
25 $1,125 – $3,250 $1,250 – $3,500

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Rip rap cost

Rip rap rock costs $20 to $60 per ton or $25 to $75 per cubic yard, depending on the rock size and location. Riprap installation costs $4 to $10 per square foot with materials and delivery, depending on the project size and site accessibility.

Rip rap rock cost per ton and per yard - chart
Rip rap rock cost per ton and per yard - chart

Rip rap rock cost
Metric Material cost only Material + delivery cost
Per ton $20 – $60 $25 – $70
Per cubic yard $25 – $75 $30 – $90

*Delivery costs per one full truckload.

Stacked rip rap rock pile
Stacked rip rap rock pile

  • Landscapers stack or cement rip rap rock together to build retaining walls, firepits, stone fences, and waterfall features in backyard ponds or pools.
  • Rip rap also protects shorelines, rivers, creeks, and ditches from eroding.
  • Rip rap seawall and shoreline installation costs $25 to $100 per linear foot.
  • One ton of rip rap covers 20 to 90 square feet, depending on material size.
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Landscaping stone prices

Landscape stepping stones cost $1 to $10 per square foot on average or up to $30 per square foot for custom shapes and decorative designs. Landscaping stone installation costs an additional $2 to $8 per square foot. Stepping stones pricing depends on the shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and material.

Landscaping stone prices per square foot - chart
Landscaping stone prices per square foot - chart

Cost of stepping stones for landscaping
Stone type Cost per square foot Features
Regular pavers $1 – $8
  • Typically brick or concrete
  • Rectangular, round, or irregular shapes
Decorative pavers $7 – $30
  • Stone, composite, rubber, or ivory
  • Floral or decorative designs
Flagstone $3 – $15
  • Sandstone, quartzite, bluestone, & limestone
  • Colors: red, blue, brown, buff, & gray
  • Naturally irregular sizes & shapes
Rock steps $135 – $300 each
  • Made by the RockStep® brand
  • 30” to 48” wide
  • Natural stone alternative
  • Reinforced concrete with polymer
  • Crack-resistant
  • Used for garden rock stairs

*Material prices only.

Landscaping flagstone walkway in backyard
Landscaping flagstone walkway in backyard

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Cost to install landscape rock

The average cost to install landscape rock is $25 to $100 per ton for labor only, and $75 to $240 per ton for materials, delivery, and labor. Landscapers charge $50 to $100 per hour to install river rock. Hard-to-access sites and difficult terrain increase labor costs.

Cost to install landscape rock
Factor Install cost per ton
Rock material $45 – $130
Delivery $5 – $10
Installation $25 – $100
Total cost to install $75 – $240

Landscaping site preparation may require fill dirt costs of $5 to $25 per yard plus labor before installing rock.

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Landscape or river rock delivery costs

River rock delivery costs $5 to $10 per ton for distances up to 25 miles and $2 to $8 per mile extra for longer distances. Landscape rock delivery costs $30 to $100 total on average.

  • Minimum orders for rock delivery are 1 to 3 cubic yards or 1 to 4 tons.
  • Some companies charge $85 to $100 hourly for delivery.

Landscape rock removal cost

Rock removal costs $50 to $200 per cubic yard for removing large rocks, boulders, or river rock to prepare for new landscaping. Landscapers charge $50 to $100 per hour for rock removal and excavation, plus disposal and dumping fees.

Extra-large boulder removal costs $425 to $1,200 per day plus hauling fees for backhoe excavation to dig up stones smaller than 1 CY or to jackhammer or rotary rock hammer rocks larger than 1 CY.

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How much river rock do I need?

One ton of river rock covers 55 to 135 square feet when spread out 2 to 4 inches deep. One cubic yard of river rock covers 75 to 170 square feet, when spread out 2 to 4 inches deep. The amount of river rock needed depends on the area size, depth, and stone size.

River rock coverage calculator
Metric 2” deep 3” deep 4” deep
Ton 115 SF – 135 SF 80 SF – 90 SF 55 SF – 65 SF
Cubic yard 160 SF – 170 SF 100 SF – 110 SF 75 SF – 85 SF
Bag (40 lbs.) 2.5 SF – 3.0 SF 1.5 SF – 2.0 SF 1.0 SF – 1.5 SF

*Coverage based on 1” to 4” size river rocks.

How to measure for landscape rock

To calculate the cubic yards of landscape or river rock needed:

  1. Divide the rock-layer thickness in inches by 12 to convert into feet.
  2. Multiply the square feet of coverage by the rock-layer thickness in feet.
  3. The result is the amount of cubic feet necessary. Divide cubic feet by 27 to convert to cubic yards.
Landscape rock calculator
Rock bed size (feet) Square feet Cubic yards Rock cost
2’x10’ 20 0.10 – 0.25 $10 – $25
5’x5’ 30 0.15 – 0.30 $15 – $30
5’x10’ 50 0.30 – 0.60 $30 – $60
10’x10’ 100 0.60 – 1.20 $60 – $120
10’x20’ 200 1.20 – 2.50 $120 – $250
15’x15’ 225 1.40 – 2.80 $140 – $280

*Based on a rock depth of 2” to 4”. Prices are materials only.

How deep should landscape rock be?

Landscape rock depth depends on the stone size:

Landscape rock depth chart
Rock or stone size Suggested depth
1/2" or less 2"
1/2" to 1" 3"
1" or larger 4"

River rock sizes

River rock sizes range from 3/8” to 5” or larger, and 1" to 4" river rock is the best and most common size for home landscaping projects.

River rock size chart
Rock size Benefits and usage
3/8-to-3/4-inch river rock
  • Creates the smoothest, even layers
  • Comfortable underfoot
  • Paths & walkways
  • Filling between pavers
  • Playgrounds
  • Safe for children
  • Mulch substitute
  • Drip edges around gutter downspouts
1-inch river rock
  • Walkways
  • General landscaping
  • Riverbeds
  • Filling between large stepping stones
1-to-3-inch river rock
  • Most common size
  • Water features
  • Enhancing waterfalls
  • Around pools
  • Rock-garden top dressing
3-to-5-inch river rock
  • Design accents for pools, ponds, & gardens
  • Water features
  • Garden borders
  • Stackable for retaining walls

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Where to buy landscaping river rocks?

River rocks for landscaping are for sale at home improvement stores, garden centers, hardware stores, rock quarries, or through landscapers, which includes installation. Home Depot has the largest selection of landscaping stones and river rocks.

Places to buy landscaping rocks and stones
Store Rock selection
Home Depot
  • Bags of 5 – 50 lbs.
  • River rock in sizes from 0.75” – 6.0”
  • Caribbean or Mexican beach pebbles
  • Many decorative or crushed stones & gravel
  • Lava rock
  • Pallets of bags
Menards
  • Bags of 0.5 – 1.0 cubic feet
  • Decorative stones
  • Lava rock
  • River rock or pebbles
  • Multi-purpose gravel
Lowe’s
  • Bags of 20 – 30 lbs.
  • Bagged rock on pallets of 2,200 lbs.
  • River rock, pebbles, gravel
  • Decorative stones, lava rock
Ace Hardware
  • Containers of 1.5 – 5.0 lbs.
  • 50-lb. bags
  • Decorative stones
  • Lava rock
  • Pond pebbles
Pioneer
  • Decorative rock
  • River rock, cobble, beach pebbles
  • Rip rap, boulders
Walmart
  • Bags of 20 – 30 lbs.
  • River rock in many colors
  • Polished or natural
  • Mexican beach pebbles
  • Lava rock
  • Artificial & natural decorative stones

What is the cheapest rock for landscaping?

Gravel is the cheapest rock for landscaping and is widely available. Gravel prices are $10 to $50 per ton, $15 to $75 per yard, $1 to $3 per square foot, or $1,350 per truckload, depending on the type, volume, and travel distance.

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How to landscape with river rocks?

Popular river rock uses:

  • Pathways and walkways – Pebbles with smooth textures feel better underfoot and add visual appeal between planting beds.
  • River rock gardens – In dry climates, colorful rocks substitute grass or flower beds.
  • Mulch substitute – Garden stones prevent soil evaporation and weeds while withstanding heavy winds. Place rocks around each tree base.
  • Erosion control – Stones stabilize soil in areas with heavy runoff, creek shores, or at the bottom of sloping hills.
  • Drainage – Rocks in the bottom of flowerpots drain soil better. Plus, river rocks above French drains or under gutter downspouts prevent water pooling.
  • Driveway – River rock mixed into concrete adds traction for parking pads. Concrete prices are $119 to $147 per yard, while installing a complete gravel driveway costs $1 to $3 per square foot.
  • Water features and borders – Stones decorate pond bottoms, water fountains, pool borders, pond borders, or borders around a house foundation or shed.
  • Decorative filler – River rock pebbles between large stepping stones or brick pavers create colorful accents for permeable paving.
  • Edging or retaining wall – Stones prevent soil overflow at the edges of gardens, walkways, or flower beds.
  • Play areas – Polished garden stones are a safe and clean alternative to sand or mulch for children’s play areas.
  • Fire pits – River rocks both inside and surrounding the base of a backyard fire pit will fireproof the area.

Types of river rocks for landscaping

Types of river rocks and prices
Rock type / origin Price per ton Price per cubic yard
Arizona river rock $120 – $220 $160 – $300
Colorado river rock $50 – $300 $65 – $360
Delaware river rock $95 – $130 $115 – $180
Tennessee river rock $110 – $130 $130 – $160
Multicolored / Rainbow river rock $70 – $165 $85 – $225
Flat river rock $190 – $500 $230 – $675
Mississippi river stone $60 – $95 $75 – $125
Missouri river rock $95 – $225 $115 – $300
Indian river rock $130 – $290 $155 – $390
Blue Montana river rock $70 – $90 $85 – $120
Cherokee river rock $95 – $125 $115 – $170
Carolina river rock $75 – $95 $90 – $130
White river rock $85 – $140 $100 – $190

*Material prices only.

Other subtypes of river rocks include smooth river rocks, unpolished river rocks, and washed river rocks.

Pros and cons of landscaping with rocks and stones

Pros and cons of rock landscaping
Pros Cons
  • Low-maintenance – Easily washable with a hose
  • Variety – Comes in many colors, sizes, shapes, textures, & finishes
  • Longevity – Doesn’t fade or decompose
  • Anchoring – Stops soil from eroding
  • Durability – Long-lasting in heavy foot traffic to suit all climates
  • Pest-proof – Termite-resistant
  • Protection – Acts as a barrier to wildfires
  • Environment – Keeps ground cool in summer so that plants need less water
  • Weight – Sinks into the soil over time
  • Safety – Can damage lawnmowers
  • Heat – Gets hot in extreme summers, which is dangerous for small children
  • Not plant-friendly – Does not improve plants soil nutrition
  • ExpenseCosts more than mulch
  • Removal – Labor intensive to replace
  • Weed barriers – Needs landscape fabric underneath to block weeds
  • Debris buildup – Collects leaves & sediment between rocks

How much does river rock weigh?

River rock weighs 2,400 to 2,700 lbs. or 1.20 to 1.35 tons per cubic yard. Five cubic feet of river rock weighs 450 to 500 lbs., while 0.5 cubic feet of river rock weighs 45 to 50 lbs.

River rock weight per unit
Measurement Weight
Cubic foot 90 ­– 100 lbs.
Cubic yard 2,400 ­– 2,700 lbs.
Typical bag 20 ­– 50 lbs.
Pallet 800 ­– 3,000 lbs.

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DIY vs. hiring a landscaper to deliver and install rock

Small river rock landscaping projects are DIY-friendly. More labor-intensive projects with grading and excavation require professional installation. Hire a landscaping company to assist with landscape rock design, delivery, installation, moving boulders, and rock removal.

DIY rock landscaping requires:

  • A truck to haul the rocks from the quarry or store
  • Edging to keep the stones in place
  • Weed-blocking landscape fabric to spread under the rocks
  • Light digging and ground-leveling tools to form an even surface below the rocks
  • A layer 2- to 3-inches deep of river rocks
  • A garden rake to evenly spread the rock layer
  • Hand-tamp tool for leveling walkways

Questions to ask quarries or landscaping companies

  • How many years have you been in business, and can I see your license?
  • Is most of your experience in hardscaping or landscape gardening?
  • Can I see photos and reference contacts from your past landscaping projects?
  • What’s your minimum-size order for deliveries?
  • Do you offer discounts on larger river rock orders?
  • Is there an extra charge to spread the river rock on my property as well?
  • Are some river rocks on sale due to overstocking?
  • What stone size and color options are available?
  • Do you provide landscape design services or rock delivery and installation only?
  • Does your company have bond guarantees and insurance to cover any accidents while grading or removing trees?
  • Can you show me diagrams of the yard-design plans along with a detailed estimate?
  • Does this estimate include cleanup fees?
  • Do you offer long-term yard maintenance contracts?
  • How long will this landscape project take, and how do I contact the supervisor?
  • What’s your payment schedule?

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