Traditional mulch certainly has its strong points, but it has to be replaced every year or so, and it isn't great for preventing weeds. Landscape rock can cost more at first, but you don't have to redo it so often. If you're thinking about making the switch, you'll need a rock coverage calculator to help determine how much you need to order. The main considerations are how much space to cover, how deep the coverage should be and what size rocks to use.
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How Much Rock Do I Need to Cover an Area?
If you're wondering how to figure river rock coverage, start by measuring your project area's length and width. Then, multiply those numbers and you'll have the square footage. For example, if the area is 15 feet long and 20 feet wide, the coverage area is 300 square feet. As for depth, around 2 inches of rock is usually fine. When you're using rocks that are larger than that, the depth will be the size of the rocks.
Companies use charts to determine how much rocks their customers need, but you'll want to do some calculations before ordering to ensure that you're on the same page. With rocks measuring 1 to 3 inches, the depth can be that exact measurement; 1 ton will cover 80 square feet. For 3- to 8-inch rock, the depth can go down to 8 inches, and 1 ton will cover 60 square feet. Knowing the coverage area per ton, you can take your square feet and divide it by that. So, if you have 300 square feet and 1- to 3-inch rocks, divide 300 by 80 and you can figure that you'll need 3.75 tons. Landscaping companies have free online river rock calculators for square feet if you're not sure.
How to Figure River Rock Coverage
River rocks are widely used in landscaping. They are round and smooth and come in a variety of different colors. You can choose uniformly colored river rocks, but you could also look for ones with various tones to spruce up your property. These river rocks look especially lovely paired against garden beds or used in place of mulch. As a different approach, you could also use them as a backfill for French drains and as a soil covering to prevent water runoff and erosion.
River rock is a close cousin to gravel, and the sizes of the stones can vary from 1/2 an inch to more than 6 inches. You can use the same kind of calculator to determine how much you need to buy; some of these calculators will also show how much you need in cubic yards. You can save your figures and compare them against the estimates that landscapers or suppliers give you.
How Much Is a Yard of Rock?
Landscaping projects with rocks generally range from $600 to $700, but this all depends on the area that needs to be covered, the chosen material, and the part of the country in which you live. You can expect to pay an amount from 75 cents to $4 per cubic foot or $20 to $100 per cubic yard. It's also good to know that you can purchase gravel or larger stones to suit your needs.
When you look at the most common kinds of landscaping stones, you'll notice that river rocks cost from $100 to $800 a ton. Lava rock averages less at $75 a ton, but large boulders are costly at $100 to $600 a ton. River rock gravel is cheaper at around $40 to $45 a ton, while crushed rock, stone and shells range from $50 to $65 a ton. Other options include white stone, granite stone and Mexican beach pebble.