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River Rocks
Category Landscape Rock
A natural rustic appearance coupled with impressive durability and function make river rock appealing for landscaping purposes. If you have plans to use these particular landscaping stones in your exterior spaces, it’s important to calculate how many inches you’ll likely need by determining depth and related measurements. We offer recommendations below based on some common possible uses and placement locations.

Garden Areas (and Other Shallow Spots)

With garden areas, 1.5 to 2 inches of river rocks should be sufficient. This is because backyard garden spots tend to be shallower, especially if you account for the added depth provided by your landscaping fabric. This depth also works well for areas around trees and similar spots where a shallow depth is sufficient.

Walkways & Pathways

You’ll need more depth with walkways and pathways where river rocks will be placed. In these locations, you’ll likely need about 3–4 inches of river rocks. The reason for the added depth in this instance is to provide extra strength and stability. Going a little further with depth also allows for sufficient weight distribution and support.


A depth of 3–4 inches is also recommended for driveways. In this case, you may prefer to go a bit deeper with the decorative rocks to provide sufficient support for your vehicles and reduce the risk of issues with sinking.

Converting Depth into Cubic Yards

Once you have a good idea of how many inches of river rocks you’ll need for your preferred landscaping project, the next step is to do a little math. Landscaping rocks are typically easier to purchase if you go by the cubic yard.

Before going any further, take a moment to measure the width and length of the particular spot where the river rocks will be going. Multiply the length and width to get the area of your preferred river rock location. Next, take this figure and multiply by the depth in inches.

Get the cubic yards figure you’ll need by dividing the figure you got above by 324. This is the amount of river rock you’ll need in cubic yards. You can also convert your depth and area measurements to tons. However, since we’re talking about lighter landscaping stones, such as black, gold, or white pebbles, using cubic yards is more practical.

Choosing to Overestimate Instead of Underestimate

If there’s a choice between more or less depth, err on the side of caution and go with more (e.g., 2 inches instead of 1.5 for shallow areas). It’s better to have a little more river rock than what’s needed than to be left with empty spaces. Besides, having extra gives you an excuse to use the leftovers for other purposes. For instance, your extra river rocks can be put inside larger planters or used as an attractive border around a deck, porch, or patio.

No matter what type of landscaping project you’re planning, you can enhance its character and beauty with decorative rocks in a variety of sizes and colors, from pure gold pebbles to polished black river rock. For expert advice on designing your landscape with decorative rocks, reach out to the experts at RS&P Rocks Stones & Pebbles, a premier landscape rock and supply superstore. We specialize in drought-tolerant landscaping materials, including a variety of Mexican beach pebbles and river rock. To learn how we can help you create the landscape of your dreams, call us today at (866) 380-0580.

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