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Landscaping with River Rock & Dry River Rock Garden Ideas

Here are some river rock landscaping ideas and also some beautiful dry river rock gardening!

I’ve always been drawn to the look of a dry river rock bed garden.

When we first moved in and started to take on the landscaping of our eyesore of a yard it was in need of a serious makeover. I knew that I wanted to created a dry river landscaping stream and use a good amount of river rock in the process.

I love the look of pretty garden beds bordering a dry river bed; the plants growing naturally toward the edge over time, trees and shrubs overarching the “stream”. There is something so dreamy, peaceful and calm about the look of a dry river bed; and landscaping with river rock, when done properly, can be quite low maintenance.

Large trees with river rock in between them.

So we started with the top of our driveway, where we at one time had a large ditch, and filled it in with old rock from our beach, which we topped off with landscape fabric and a beautiful mix of river rock.

River rock with driftwood.

A large piece of driftwood in the river rock with purple flowers beside it.

We ran the river rock bed across the top front of the lush yard, and added a garden bed behind it as well. This garden bed is now where our new split rail fence runs.

Dry river rock beside ornamental grasses.

A river rock path with large boulders and smaller stones.

We also added a dry river rock and grass garden bed on the path behind our house. I love the way landscape grasses mix with river rock {I shared my love for landscaping with ornamental grasses here}.  Very serene.

Ornamental grasses growing in the river rock garden .

While deciding on how to handle the remainder of the landscaping in our yard, I once again took to researching and found that I was drawn again and again to beautiful images of dry river beds.

It seems that I still love landscaping with river rock; so I think that our side gardens will definitely be incorporating more of this style. I can’t wait to incorporate river rock beds in more of a shade style garden; and will be sharing the results with you soon!

Until then, I’ve gathered together some more lovely ideas for incorporating river rock or a dry river bed into your landscape. I hope you find some more organic inspiration amongst these beautiful ideas I’ve collected from other people’s yard. {please remember to pin from the original source by hopping over to see the post – sources are listed below each image}

A large traditional garden with river rock winding through the flowers and bushes.

I love the way this small river bed meanders through a pretty garden bed – image Via flickr -if you know the original source please let me know

Spruce up and define your planters with this DIY River Rock Border

Edging a garden bed with large and medium river rocks adds a pretty contrast to your yard and creates a neat edge to your garden beds Via Ella Claire Inspired

 Grass and river rock.

This beautiful dry river stream incorporates a pretty  mix of larger boulders with river rock, and feels very natural in this landscaped yard; Via DIY Network

I love how these larger river rocks have been placed in a pretty gravel sitting area; it feels like a dry creek bed in a dessert; Via HGTV

A dry rock garden with a tree beside it and mulch underneath.

Such a lovely little dry river stream bordered by a cute white farmhouse style fence; Via

Yellow daffodils beside the rock.

 The texture of the different rock sizes and gravel makes this dry river bed feel quite natural and realistic Via – if you know the original source please let me know

 Dry stream rock garden.

The large boulders that edge this bed definitely feel like they’ve been part of the landscape for years, while the smaller smooth river rock stones create a calm feel Via Garden Therapy

Bright green plants with river rock in between.

I absolutely love how this dry river bed seems to meander so naturally though the forest Via Bonney Lassie.   There is visual organization to this garden!

River rock interspersed into a garden.

If you don’t have room for a full river bed, you can landscape with river rock by covering your garden beds with stone;  Via 

Mixed stone river rock bed with a small path bridge.

Mixing the sizes of the stones you use and edging a river rock bed with grasses creates a natural feel to your river rock landscaping;  Compost Rules via Houzz

Well? Are you inspired? 

This is awesome! Pin it to remember it!

River Rock Garden Ideas graphic.

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  1. These are great ideas! I just bought gold river rocks and was looking for a nice way to place them in my patio. Can’t wait to see the results!

  2. Over time weeds come up amongst the rocks. How do you deal with that? This question is the only thing that has kept me from doing this in my yard.

  3. Your ideas on garden landscaping are really great. I am planning to use river rocks as edging for my garden beds. Your idea of using large and medium rocks definitely adds personality to the garden. I guess sourcing good quality river rocks will be easy. I’d love to get started on this project right away.

  4. I built a dry creek bed in my backyard with the intention of it being a creative playspace for my kids. Now that the plants have grown in around it, it’s buried! So, I was thinking of rerouting part of it so that it becomes a border between my lawn and the planting beds. I’m worried that the grass will grow into the creek bed and the grass clippings will be constantly tossed into the creek, which is not the messy look I want (in a “real” creek they’d be washed downstream). How has your dry creek fared where it abuts lawn?

    1. Hi Molly! Honestly, we only abut the lawn in a very small area. The rest abuts garden beds. I think it might be helpful to regularly “edge” the lawn with an edging tool to keep the lawn from invading the rock bed (and by regularly, I mean a few times a growing season). I hope this helps!

  5. That’s an amazing looking landscape! I’ve been thinking of ideas to change up my backyard’s look, and you’ve just given me inspiration. Adding rocks is such a simple but beautiful thing to add for design. I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’ve been wanting to do this but finding it difficult to find a reasonable source for the rock in Cincinnati. Any suggestions on where to get it? Thank you!

  7. This looks like a great way to solve drainage problems while creating interesting and attractive landscapes. The river rock provides definition for the plantings. The photos are beautiful!

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