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Fun with a Bag of Rocks

Updated on July 21, 2014
A path made of river rocks & found stones.
A path made of river rocks & found stones. | Source

What was your favorite present?

I bet it was the box.

If you were the kid who threw the new toy aside and turned the box into a fortress, you're probably an individual with imagination and an appreciation for the simple things in life ... like driftwood, arrowheads, butterfly wings, snail shells.

And river rocks.


For gardeners, river rocks can provide visual interest to flower beds, container plants, floral arrangements, stepping stones and more.

Below are just some of the ways a bag of rocks can add beauty to homes and gardens.

Sometimes the simplest things are best.

River Rock Mulch

River rocks have a subtle beauty that's wonderfully apparent when they're juxtaposed against naturally beautiful things like rich soil, bark, tender shoots and flowers. Use them around plants as an attractive mulch. Not only will they add to the general beauty, but they'll also conserve moisture.

To increase humidity for moisture-loving container plants, place pots on water-filled trays lined with river rocks

The zen of river rocks.

Little Landscapes for Big Relaxation

Japanese rock gardens (Zen gardens) are comprised of simple natural elements, such as sand, gravel, grass--and river rocks.

Create your own with items that you have on hand. Or, get a kit that comes with every thing you need to create a miniature world of beauty and calm.


Watch a flower grow.

Water, Rocks & Sweet Spring Bulbs

How can you force hyacinths, crocus, tulips and daffodils to bloom indoors? It's surprisingly easy.

First, fill a clear, watertight bowl with river rocks. Then snuggle the bulbs down into them. Add just enough water to touch the bottom of the bulbs, and you're ready to go!

Place the container in a dark, cool spot in your garage or shed for 4 to 6 weeks. Then bring them into the warmth of your house to "force" the bloom. Oh, and be sure to add more water occasionally to keep the roots wet.


Invite a puddle club to your yard.

Fill the lid of flower pot with river rocks and water. Then set it in a sunny spot in your garden near flowering plants like butterfly bush, butterfly weed, Joe Pye weed, zinnia and cosmos. The shallow water will attract a rabble of butterflies that will land on the rocks for a drink.

The flower or the rock?

Stem Holders

The lovely organic shapes and the subtle blues, browns, greens and pinks of river rocks are quite apparent when they're used in see-through flower vases to hold stems in place. You'll wonder which is more gorgeous--the flowers or the rocks that keep them upright?

Other simply beautiful natural objects include small seashells for summertime arrangements. In autumn, kumquats and acorns look just right. And during the holidays, fresh cranberries make jolly stem holders for boughs of holly.

But river rocks are perfect year round, and they look just as appropriate with humble daisies as they do with exotic orchids.


Start a new plant.

Simple Propagation

You can also use river rocks to propagate perennial shrubs like forsythia, butterfly bush, hydrangea and bridal wreath through a technique known as simple layering.

Just bend down a branch and place a rock on it so that a node on the stem is in contact with the ground.

If you're really feeling industrious, nudge a little soil around the rock. Then wait for roots to form.

River Rock Stepping Stones, set of 3
River Rock Stepping Stones, set of 3

Ready-made or homemade, river rock stepping stones are gorgeous, cool & smooth against the bottoms of your bare feet.


Smooth & cool against your skin.

River Rock Stepping Stones

Attractive river rock stepping stones are available for purchase online and at some garden centers, but with a bag of cement, a homemade cardboard mold and a bag of rocks, you can make one yourself for about $15 or less.

Use river rocks only, or add sea glass, marbles and other materials to your design.

And it's fun, too, to make informal, loose-rock stepping stones in easy patterns like paw prints, suns and moons.

Chocolate River Stones (1lb Bag)
Chocolate River Stones (1lb Bag)

Milk chocolate "rocks" in a candy coat.


Chocolate river rocks.

Yummy for Your Tummy

Add chocolate rocks to an outdoor lover's gift basket, use them to decorate cupcakes and other desserts or serve them as a snack.

Kids will love eating chocolate river rocks!

(And you might just like them too.)

Save a memory.

Rock Milestones

Collect, categorize, display and even personalize the rocks that you collect during special outings with your family and friends using these tips from fellow hubber grinnin1's "Create family "milestones" to record memories, traditions, and stories."

An Element of Heat

Deeco Consumer Products Rock Stone Fire Pot
Deeco Consumer Products Rock Stone Fire Pot

Add an architectural element, simple beauty and welcome warmth to your homescape, indoors or out, with a river rock fire bowl.


About the Author

The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.

She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm.

Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.

© 2011 Jill Spencer


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    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      @ RTalloni -- Another rock lover! Thanks for stopping by. --Jill

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Having rocks here and there from hither and yon in my garden is delightful. Glad to see such a neat post on having fun with a bag of rocks. :)

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for commenting, grinnin1. Hope you have fun with your projects! Take care, Jill

    • grinnin1 profile image

      grinnin1 6 years ago from st louis,mo

      Love all of the information in this hub. Great ideas ans I'm going to try a few. Good writing- thanks!

    • profile image

      Derdriu 6 years ago

      The Dirt Farmer: What a tribute to the colorful, smooth pebbles and rocks that I love to find in streams and what an array of enjoyable, practical applications!

      Thank you, and voted up with everything else too,


    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Peggy W! I bet you have lots of rocks from your travels. It's sort of nice to have a little piece of everywhere you've been in your own backyard. Take care! Jill

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Oh...I love rocks! I've collected many of them through the years and numerous ones are in our garden. They are so pretty used in all the many ways you suggested. This hub rocks!!! :))) Useful and up ratings.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

      Hey, Nell Rose! So you're a rock lover too, huh? It does seems wild that it could be so easy to start a plant, but I began five forsythia bushes that way--by just placing rocks on the branches of a forsythia we'd bought. Now we have too many! Thanks for reading, Jill

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, start a new plant! Wow! how clever is that? I love rocks and stones, I still have a couple of polished stones that I keep in my jewelry box, I have had them for 20 years! I always forage about on the sand at the ocean for new ones, and of course lovely shells, so rated up! cheers nell

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Funny and nice ideas...thanks!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

      LOL, lockgirl. Your mom's pretty funny!

      @ carcro--Thanks so much! Glad you stopped by.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      Great hub, I love river rocks, they add so much to just about everything around the home, inside and out. Nicely illustrated, voted Up and Awesome.

    • lockgirl profile image

      lockgirl 6 years ago from Florida

      I wanted to go to a rock concert when I was 14 so my mom gave me a rock concert lol a large rock with smaller ones on it to make it look like a concert

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for all the comments, you guys! Marellen, I almost put rock painting in the hub (and may have to add it). There are so many cool ideas for painting rocks to look like animals out there, although I have to say that I really love river rocks just as they are, too.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello dirt farmer, 2 of my favourite things for the garden, driftwood and rocks!

      They add so much texture and colour to the garden and look fabulous around plants.

      What a great idea for propagation!

      Thank you for sharing a fabulous hub and voting up.

    • lockgirl profile image

      lockgirl 6 years ago from Florida

      Voted this up

      I love using rocks for different things around the house.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      TDF! what a great hub. I loved every single idea and feature you built into this hub. It is a prime example of how much we can do with just basic things. A bag of rocks... truly a gift come true! We done, well written and spot on!

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Thank you for all the info on river rock My daughter and brother are both rock hounds and love collecting while they are out hiking and fishing.

      I live in an area with an aboundance of river rock. One year with a neighbors help we painted the larger ones for our family and neighbors. It was a fun project.

    • Marsha H profile image

      Marsha H 6 years ago from My Retro Kitchen in NY

      Never thought of using river rock for propagation.

      But I don't know which I like better, the propagation or the chocolate. :)

      Another great hub! +vote up