How Much Are River Rocks and Landscaping Stones?

Typical Range:

$460 - $1,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated April 15, 2024

Written by HomeAdvisor.


  • Hiring a pro for landscaping projects ensures safe, high-quality installation, and accommodates heavy material delivery.

  • The average cost to deliver and install landscaping rocks is $700.

  • The cost of landscaping rocks depends on the material type, color, size, shape, and finish.

  • Landscaping stones used include river rocks, lava rocks, bull rocks, Mexican beach pebbles, boulders, pea gravel, decomposed granite, and crushed stone.

  • Landscaping with rocks enhances aesthetics, prevents weed growth, aids water retention, and adds nutrients to the soil.

Highlights were summarized from this existing cost guide text using automation technology and were thoroughly reviewed for accuracy by HomeAdvisor Editor Ryan Noonan.

Landscaping rocks cost an average of $50 to $130 per ton or $40 to $100 per cubic yard. The average price to install landscape stones is $600, but some homeowners may pay as little as $250 or as much as $2,500 to purchase and install medium to large rocks, stones, and boulders in their yards, depending on the size of your landscaping project.

Building a landscape with river rocks and landscaping stones is an aesthetically-pleasing and cost-effective choice for a wide variety of projects, including stone and gravel drivewayspatios and walkways, and retaining walls. However, before starting this project, you should get an idea of your dream landscaping’s price.

Landscaping Rock & Stone Pricing

Depending on the material you choose, expect to pay between $40 and $800 per ton. Cost factors include color, size, shape, and finish. Additionally, you will usually pay less per unit as the quantity increases. Therefore, you can save money by purchasing all you need at one time.

Rock TypePriceCost Factors
River$130 – $900 per ton
$90 – $650 per cubic yard
$0.65 – $0.40 per pound
Price depends on size, shape, color, and whether the stone is polished
Lava$150 – $200 per ton
$75 – $150 per cubic yard
$7 per bag
Quantity and location
Decorative$50 – $500 per tonCost varies widely depending on style and import location
Large Boulders$100 – $600 per tonUnique colors and shapes cost more
Bull$75 – $100 per ton
$100 – $150 per cubic yard
Smaller rocks may require edging to stay in place, an added cost
River Rock Gravel$30 – $60 per ton
$20 – $40 per cubic yard
$4 – $8 per bag
Add $20 – $50 per ton or cubic yard for colored gravel
Crushed Stone, Rock, Shells$50 – $70 per ton
$40 – $50 per cubic yard
Different finishes can add $20 – $50 per unit
White$10 – $20 per bag
$500 – $1,200 per ton
$300 – $1,200 per pallet
Pallets hold 30 – 60 bags, depending on size
Mexican Beach Pebble$800 – $900 per ton
$550 – $650 per cubic yard
One of the most expensive types
Granite$30 – $100 per ton
$20 – $70 per cubic yard
$1 – $4 per bag
Crushed is chunkier and more expensive than decomposed granite
Concrete or Polymer Steps$100 – $400 per palletLarge, engineered stepping stones; price depends on size or style

River Rock Prices per Ton

The price of river rocks falls anywhere between $130 and $900 per ton. Exact pricing depends on size, shape, color, and whether the stone is polished. Polished river rocks will fall closer to the higher end of the price range, while natural, unpolished river rocks will cost closer to the lower end of the price range. Smaller quantities cost more than buying in bulk. 

Lava Rock

The price of lava rocks is around $150 to $200 per ton on average or $75 to $150 per cubic yard. However, keep in mind that lava rock is lighter in weight than other landscaping rocks, making the delivery and installation process less pricey. This is a red or black, porous rock material that takes up space without the weight of other rocks, and you’ll get more per ton than you would with a denser, heavier rock choice. 

Bull Rock

The price of bull rock is $75 to $100 per ton on average or $100 to $150 per cubic yard. Bull rock comes in sizes from 2 to 5 inches in diameter and neutral colors like brown, tan, and beige. You’ll find it behind retaining walls and in drainage ditches.

Mexican Beach Pebbles

The price of Mexican beach pebbles ranges between $800 to $900 per ton or $550 to $650 per cubic yard on average. This material falls at the higher end of the price range because the pebbles are handpicked from beaches, are easy to walk on, and have an attractive, multitoned appearance with grey, black, brown, and red colors. 


The price of landscaping boulders ranges from $100 to $600 per ton, with larger, heavier boulders costing significantly more than the price of large stones or small boulders. Expect to pay around $250 for delivery of a small boulder to your home and upwards of $2,400 for very large boulders or multiple boulders for a monolithic, stylish element in your yard. The size isn’t the only factor; some boulders have a higher density than others, making them pricier even if they’re smaller than other options.

Other Landscaping Stones

There are many other landscaping stones available that you might be considering for your landscaping project. Some of the most common landscaping stones include pea gravel, decomposed granite, and crushed stone, rocks, and shells:

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Riprap Costs Estimate per Ton

You’ll find riprap prices at $35 to $250 per ton. Expect to pay $35 to $100 per ton for small riprap (6 inches to 2 feet). Large ones (2 feet or more) cost $50 to $250 per ton. Grouting, in addition to size, is another key factor.

Riprap is a layer of large stones that interlock along sloped land to prevent erosion. It lines the banks of bodies of water. When grouted, cement binds the stones together with a concrete mixture to minimize gaps and shifting.

Riprap Cost Calculator

Type of RiprapPrice per Square Yard
Non-Grouted$35 – $50
Grounted$45 – $60

Laying Riprap

Landscaping pros charge between $50 and $100 per hour to lay riprap. The exact prices will depend on the size and difficulty of the installation. Consult a pro for a quote.

Landscaping Stone Prices

Landscape stepping stones range from $2 to $16 per square foot, depending on the size and type of material. Prefabricated pavers typically cost less than those made of natural stone. For decorative or custom engraved stones, the price may be higher.

Stepping Stone Price by Type

Type of Stepping StoneCost per Square FootCost Factors
Pavers$4 – $16Size and material
Flagstone$2 – $6Scarcity, volume, shipping, shape and joints

Cost to Install Landscape Rock

Costs for landscape rock, including labor, with materials ranging $50 to $130 per ton

Professional landscaping contractors typically charge $50 to $75 per hour for ground preparation and installation. On average, expect it to take two hours to place 1 ton of stone, for a total cost of $100 to $150 for labor (not including delivery). 

The cost to deliver and install rocks ranges from $350 to $1,200, or an average of $700. Exact costs vary depending on the size of the stones and the type of terrain. You may see prices as low as $120 or as much as $2,500.

Removal Costs

Once installed, the cost to excavate or remove large landscaping stones from your property ranges from $50 to $200 per cubic yard. Most companies will charge between $120 and $150 per hour. The price depends on the job's complexity, as some projects are more labor-intensive than others and require larger vehicles, excavators, dumpsters, and removal fees than other projects.

How to Calculate Your Landscape Rock Needs

To calculate how much landscape rock you’ll need, you can either use a landscaping rock calculator or do the math by hand. If you’re doing it manually, you can calculate the amount of rock you’ll need in cubic yards and tons.

Calculating Rock Needs in Cubic Yards

Selling by cubic yard or by volume is one of the standard methods for calculating the price of landscaping rocks. This option paints the most accurate picture of how much rock you’ll need to fill the entire space, but it doesn’t account for weight. Calculate how many cubic yards you need by following these steps:

  1. Measure the length and the width of your landscaping area in feet. 

  2. Determine the depth you’d like in inches, then convert it to feet by dividing 12 inches.

  3. Multiply these three numbers (length, width, and depth) to get the number of cubic feet.

  4. Convert the cubic feet into cubic yards by dividing by 27, giving you the volume in cubic yards.

Example: The area of your yard space is 10 feet long by 10 feet wide, and the depth is 2 inches. Divide the depth by 12 inches to get roughly 0.17 feet. Multiply them together (10 x 10 x 0.17) to get 17 cubic feet. Divide that by 27, and you’ll have 0.63 cubic yards.

Calculating Rock Needs in Tons

Some companies determine the price of stone by tons or weight rather than volume. It’s a good idea to calculate the tons and cubic yards to know if the material is within your vehicle’s weight limits. Calculate the tons by following the same steps for calculating the cubic yards, then multiply the number (total cubic yards) by 1.4. 

Example: Multiply the 0.63 cubic yards by 1.4 to get 0.882 tons.

Keep in mind that wet material will weigh more than dry material. Lava rock, decomposed granite, and crushed stone hold onto moisture the most, so you’ll get the most for your dollar if you buy during a dry season. Also, add an extra 10% to your cubic yards and tons calculations to account for any materials that spill out in transportation.

Note that most landscaping materials should be at a depth of 3 inches or a 1/4 foot. The following chart accounts for the standard 3-inch depth. 

Sample Landscape Rock Calculations

Bed Size (in Feet)Square FootageTotal Cubic FeetTotal Cubic Yards

How to Landscape With Rocks

There are endless possibilities when it comes to landscaping with rocks, so don’t be afraid to use a variety of sizes and types of rocks to achieve your dream landscape. From stepping stones to gravel driveways and patios to impressive boulders, here are a few ways to style your yard using river rocks and landscaping stones.

Stepping Stones

Stepping stones offer a whimsical look to your yard in a wallet-friendly way. Since the stones are flat, their weight doesn’t increase delivery prices as much as thicker boulders. You can even turn stepping stones into a walkway by adding low-price, smaller rocks around them to widen the path and make the entire path walkable. Consider adding pea gravel, gravel, or river rocks around the perimeters of the stepping stones.

Crushed Stone Driveways and Patios

Gravel is one of the most budget-friendly landscaping rocks available. If you’re hoping to cover a large surface area like a patio or driveway, then you’re in luck. Crushed gravel is a great way to pave these larger areas; it also looks nice and helps prevent water runoff.


Though wood may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of mulch, decomposed granite and lava rock both work as mulch. Decomposed granite is ideal for garden beds because it breaks down and adds minerals and nutrients to the soil and surrounding plants while keeping weeds at bay. Lava rocks might not add nutrients to your soil, but they prevent weeds from growing and hold onto the water with their porous features, making them ideal for xeriscaping. 

Boulder Features

For a yard that really stands out, you can’t go wrong with boulders. Whether you’re hoping to add a few accent features as a focal point or want to bring out the dimensions of your garden or water elements, add boulders for a natural aesthetic.

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DIY vs. Hiring a Professional for Delivery & Installation

Deciding whether to DIY your project or turn to a pro usually comes down to whether you have the tools, equipment, and experience to complete the task. For smaller projects, you can usually do the work yourself. For larger projects, on the other hand, you’ll need some heavy-lifting machinery to complete the project. 

Unless you have a truck or trailer equipped to carry heavy loads, the price of delivering your material in large quantities will range from $200 to $800 per day. Furthermore, transporting and installing substantial amounts of rock is difficult and potentially dangerous. Hire a landscaping contractor near you to ensure the job installation is safe and of a high-quality standard.


Is it cheaper to buy rocks in bulk vs. buying bags?

It’s almost always cheaper to buy in bulk, either by the pallet from the home and garden store or by the truckload from a stone or granite fabricator.

What are the pros and cons of landscaping with rocks and stones?

No trimming, watering, or fertilizingDifficult and expensive to install, can sink into soil over time
Available in endless shapes, sizes, colors, finishes, and texturesRogue stones in the lawn can damage lawn mowers and other equipment; may be dangerous
Don't decompose when exposed to the elementsStones absorb heat during the day and release it at night; can increase temperature in and around the home
Stand up to heavy use on walkways, driveways, and high-traffic areasOther than decomposed granite, rocks and stones don’t add nutrients to soil necessary for plant growth
Inorganic material doesn’t attract termites or other insectsCost more upfront to purchase and install than other types of mulch

What is the least expensive rock for landscaping?

The least expensive rocks for your landscaping needs are crushed gravel, decomposed granite, and pea gravel.

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