INDIANAPOLIS – This is the time of year thousands of Hoosiers start outdoor projects.  One of the biggest projects can also be fairly simple and inexpensive. 

There are many benefits to landscaping, especially with rocks.  Did you know you can burn at least 500 calories an hour putting in a rock landscape? That’s the same rate of calorie burning as playing tennis.  It’s also a quick way to make an area around your house look manicured.  That was the idea one homeowner in Speedway had when she chose to put rocks in certain areas around her house.

Ashley ROCKS!

“So I moved here a couple years ago, and I’ve just been slowly adding things to the yard.  Last year I tackled the front yard, and this year I’m tackling the backyard,” said homeowner Ashley Curtis.

The before

In this Home Zone, I helped Ashley with her backyard project.  She wanted to make the border of her cement patio stand out.  It already had a nice horseshoe type shape, bordered by grass.  But she wanted to get rid of some of the grass around the cement and replace it with rocks. 

When it’s done, it will look like a couple feet of white rock bordering the patio and then curved landscaping stones surrounding the rocks to hold them in place.  It’s an idea very similar to a tree Ashley has already bordered with rocks and pavers.

The grass has got to go

The first step is to get rid of the grass which is a lesson Ashley learned from last year.

“So I did kind of take short cuts a little bit last year in my front yard, more so than what I’m taking back here.  I learned different lessons, so this time around I have cut the grass really short and gotten it to be mostly dirt.  I also put more weed killer and grass killer on it than I did in the front because there are some weeds growing in the front landscaped area,” said Ashley.

Lay down landscape fabric

To keep grass and weeds from growing up in between the rocks, put landscape fabric down before you lay down the rocks.  But before that, measure first and then buy all your materials. 

“So this time around, I tried to buy enough rocks the first time.  And I think I got the right amount of rocks and fabric,” said Ashley.

Nailed it!

To pin that fabric down just use nails.  They’re cheap and easy.  It keeps the fabric from moving around.  It’s especially important to use where seams overlap.  The fewer amount of cuts and seams in the fabric, the better because weeds are less likely to grow up through the rocks.

Rock out

The next step is to move all the bags of rock at once to where they were needed, versus grabbing one bag at a time, pouring it out on the fabric and going back for another.  In under half an hour, her backyard area was all rocked in.  Then we just leveled it out with the back side of a rake or your gloved hands.

“I got inspiration through videos on what I wanted to do with the white rock and stuff.  And I would say, if you think about it and you think it looks too hard, just try it.  Watch a couple videos to learn what others did and if I can do it, you can do it,” said Ashley.

Another piece of advice that Ashley learned about may help you save some money.

Bulk may be better

“Like the bags I have, I think it was if you buy more than 20, you save money.  They give you a bulk discount which was helpful to know because I bought more than 20 bags,” said Ashley.  

The final product was quite the transformation for under $300. 

The after

Ashley also added solar puck lights into the rocks for a pop of light at night.  Some of the pros about using rocks for landscaping include being fire proof, low cost, and wind resistant to erosion.  Some of the cons include they get hotter than mulch and they don’t add anything to the soil to help plant growth.  But in this case, that was the exact goal for this backyard project.