Install river rock to give your garden or front yard a polished, natural look. Both functional and aesthetically pleasing, river rock can be used throughout your yard to create walkways, suppress weeds, and increase water drainage.
You may be wondering, “how much does river rock cost?” The price of river rock installation depends on a few factors — like how much rock you need, what purpose it will serve in your property’s landscape, and whether you plan to install it yourself. The type of rock you decide to use is also important, as some river rock is more expensive than others.
|What you can expect|
|Range per ton:||$206.36||$290.47|
|Range for this type of project:||$206||$290|
River Rock Cost
Cost of residential-grade decorative gravel uniform in shape and color, up to 3" diameter. Rate is inclusive of local delivery, as well as standard excess for perfect coverage and occasional touch-ups.
River Rock Labor, Basic
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete installation. River rock will be distributed and leveled to uniform depth and consistent appearance. Fee is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
River Rock Job Supplies
Requisite supplies for the job, including basic soil amendments and treatments.
River Rock Equipment Allowance
Daily rental of specialty equipment for maximum quality and efficiency. These include 100-lb. wheelbarrow, shovels, and landscaper spreading rakes. Consumable equipment elements not included.
|cost to install river rock|
|National Avg. Materials Cost per ton||$148.78|
|National Avg. Cost (labor and materials) for 1 ton||$244.44|
|National Cost Range (labor and materials) for 1 ton||$203.05 - $285.82|
The cost of river rock depends on a few factors. Delivery, labor, and material will all impact your budget's bottom line. Some homeowners may consider installing river rock on their own, while others will hire landscaping crews.
River rocks are priced per ton to make it easier for homeowners to determine the cost of large-scale landscaping projects. On average, the national materials cost to install river rock is $148.78 per ton.
An entire ton of river rocks covers between 50 and 75 square feet. Keep that in mind while measuring your space.
The cost of river rock will depend on the type you choose. Quartz, Arizona river rock, and Niagara-sourced river rock are only a few of the wide varieties to choose from. The river rock calculator is helpful in determining the average price of river rock in your area before deciding on a type and finish.
Another way to determine how much river rock costs is by the square foot. This method is easier for DIY homeowners with smaller river rock landscaping projects. River rock is a versatile landscaping tool starting at $3 per square foot. Depending on the size of your project, you can purchase a few gallon bags at your local hardware store.
Determine the square footage of the garden bed, walkway, or edge of the yard where you plan to install the rock. For round garden beds, measure the diameter to determine how much rock you need. Keep depth in mind if you’re using river rock for water drainage or to level hilly areas.
As long as you have a general idea of how much river rock you need to cover the area, you can always set an initial budget and add more rocks later.
If you can’t place the river rock yourself, hiring a landscaping service may be a good idea. Labor costs may vary, but landscapers typically charge between $50 and $100 for a two-person crew. If you need a larger team to install the river rock, be prepared to pay an extra $50 to $100 per person. After all, additional laborers incur additional costs.
Before undertaking an extensive landscaping project, consider hiring a landscape designer. They can look at your space and determine the best places for rock gardens, statement boulders, and spots that may need additional drainage.
The landscape designer will establish a plan to boost your curb appeal, suppress weeds, and improve drainage all in one shot.
When ordering your river rock, ask about delivery fees. You can determine the delivery cost per ton of river rock or the cost per hour of delivery. Transporting multiple tons of river rock for more significant residential or commercial projects will take more time.
In most cases, if you plan on installing the river rock by yourself, the landscaping company simply unloads the river rock in your driveway or the street in front of your house. You’ll be responsible for shoveling and transporting the river rock where it needs to go.
Companies often include the cost of delivering river rock by the truckload in your total. On average, you can expect a delivery charge of $10 per ton ordered. If the crew providing the rocks is installing the project, they’ll probably include delivery fees with installation fees.
Larger rocks, like decorative boulders, will involve additional fees as they often require special attention and equipment at the time of delivery and installation.
River rock comes from various locations, so many options exist. How much river rock costs depends on how much labor is needed to extract the material and what kind of river rock it is.
It’s also important to remember that size and finish will impact the final cost of river rock per ton. Small to medium river rock is an excellent option for garden borders, rock gardens, and drainage. Larger rocks are great as garden accents.
When it comes to your home landscaping project, find out which rocks might be the best option.
One ton of standard river rock costs $45 to $130. Unpolished river rock provides a natural look for landscaping beds. The color will be varied, just like rocks would be in nature.
Quartzite has a more polished finish than river rock. Unpolished quartzite costs about $900 per ton. If you’re interested in uniformly polished quartzite pebbles, prices may start around $1,500 per ton.
Quartzite allows you to choose from natural colors or solid colors, such as white or black.
If you like the look of quartzite but can’t quite justify the price to fill a garden bed or complete a pathway, consider using a less expensive river rock as a backdrop for quartzite flagstones.
Lava rock is porous and lighter than other landscaping rocks, meaning you’ll get more rock per ton. As a result, it’s also easier to deliver and install. Coming in at $100 to $250 a ton, lava rock is one of the less expensive landscaping rock options.
Ideal for small patios and walkways, crushed pea gravel is softer than other landscaping rocks and is priced at $25 to $53 per ton.
A well-placed granite boulder is a great way to make a statement and increase curb appeal. Boulders can cost anywhere from $100 to $600 a ton.
River rock installation can be done on your own or with a professional. If you have a smaller garden project, installing the river rock yourself should be simple and cost-effective. If you have a wheelbarrow, some landscaping fabric, and a strong back, you may be able to install the river rock over the course of a weekend.
On the other hand, hiring a professional landscaper is a great option for larger projects. A landscape designer to plan the project can take a lot of stress out of the decision-making process — but it’ll cost you.
If you’re doing some more involved landscaping with decorative boulders or flagstones, consider installing the base of river rock yourself to save on labor costs. You can still hire a landscaping team to bring in larger border rocks, flagstones, or decorative boulders later.
What should I do to prepare my garden bed for river rock?
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How deep does river rock need to be?
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