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Technique Care for Decorative Stones or How to Clean River Rock for Landscaping

Technique Care Decorative Stones or How to Clean River Rock for Landscaping

All gardeners always strive for creating an amazing landscape using natural and simple materials. River rock is a perfect solution for decorating a stylish garden at minimal costs.

River rock is relatively durable and low cost material for your garden. It could be used for decorating flowerbeds, alpine gardens and rockeries. The following information will help you to take care for river rocks properly.



Also, river rocks find a use for constructing ponds, waterfalls, landscape around the pool, dry river creek and for front yard landscaping. It also will be a good idea just to scatter small and big stones about your garden near fence, trees and bushes.

A view of stones on a neat cut lawn is amazing, especially, if stones are complemented with annual and perennial plants, herbs and flowers.

Warning: one should bear in mind, that river rocks are not suitable for making a fire place, because under the impact of high temperatures river rock splits and crumbles.

Actually, you can use them for such a purpose, but be ready for annual replacement on new stones for your fire place. Once it is correctly prepared and treated for outdoor usage as landscape design object, a river rock can serve for many years.
Traditional landscape design with river rocks

Below you can find useful recommendations concerning treating and preparing river rocks for landscaping needs.


How to clean landscape river rock? The stones that are already used for a rockery or flowerbed need some annual maintenance. Thoroughly clean them with high pressure water stream.

If there are soil, leaves or plant roots on the stones, treat them with wire brush. If you don’t like moos that can grow on the stones, you can also remove it with wire brush and use special chemicals against this plant.

Also, you can cover a stone with lacquer or grounding. Spring is a right time for such annual treatment.

If you are going to collect river rocks by yourself, you should remember, that the best time for this activity is the beginning of spring, when the ice on rivers has already began to melt. Choose shaded places with running water.

When the stones are dried on the sun, clean them with wire brush. It will help you to remove the rest of the sand, riverweed and microorganisms.

Recommendation: it will be perfect if you leave the stones in the open air for one year. Stones will be cleaned with rain and snowfall in combination with sun heat.

The next stage of the cleaning river rock landscaping is cleaning the stones with citric acid. Use scotch-bright pad, protective gloves and acid.
Simple landscape idea with river rocks
Thoroughly clean a stone and leave it to dry on the sun for a couple of days. Before placing it to your rockery or flowerbed you can cover a stone with lacquer or grounding.

Be careful: a possible solution for cleaning a river stone is the usage of chemical acids, alkali and paste. If you use these chemicals, do not forget about protection: use gloves and protective glasses. After the treatment wash your hands with a soap.

If the use of citric acid was not useful or you have very dirty stones, you can soak them in salt water for 3-5 hours. The dirt should remove by itself.

Advice: if you have a lot of stones all in riverweeds, plant roots and other dirt, you can place the stones into concrete mixer. Add water and crushed granite stones (fraction from 5 to 20 mm) and let a mixer work and clean your stones for 3 hours. After this you can wash the stones with a stream of cold water and let them dry on the sun for 2-3 hours.

If the stones are covered with mold, you can cover them with special chemicals against this fungus. Before covering, clean a stone with chloric disinfectant, it will help you to eliminate mold spores.
Beautiful landscape idea with river rocks
Another alternative is to burn out a mold with blowlamp. Using this method, do not forget about the protection of your eyes.

This articles can be useful for you: amazing landscaping ideas with river rock and basics of it’s installing.

Warning: after all treatment procedures (primary or annual), river stones should be left to dry on the sun for a couple of hours!


River stones are perfect for decorating your garden. This material is free of charge and could be collected by yourself.

River rocks, though, need some special primary maintenance, as well as annual, will be a nice decoration for your garden in natural style. Hope that, we answered on the question: “How to clean river rock landscaping?”.

1 comment
  1. Belinda

    Thanks for the wonderful information. Can vinegar be used on rocks as well?

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