Free Stones For Landscaping: Best Places To Find Them

It’s fun to find sources for free stones and landscaping rocks. You may be surprised at who might thank you for taking them away for free.

A stone retaining wall surrounding a flower garden
(Image credit: YvanDube / Getty Images)

Rocks and stones are important in landscape design. They are practical for providing boundaries, edges, and walkways. They are also aesthetically pleasing, supplying textural interest and contrast to plants. Unfortunately, decorative landscaping rocks aren’t cheap. Here are some budget-friendly ideas for picking up free rocks for your garden.

Average Costs of Landscaping Stones

Rocks and stones are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they’re cheap. Landscaping materials, including rocks, can be expensive. The more you need, the more the costs add up.

Basic rocks average between $50 and $150 per ton. Larger boulders can be upwards of $800 per ton. Gravel, including crushed granite, limestone, and pea gravel, cost between $20 and $200 per ton. Bags of these smaller rocks are often between $7 and $25. If you are using larger rocks, you’ll also need to consider any delivery fees or costs of labor to have them installed.

Best Places to Find Free Stones

There are two main types of stones you might want to seek out for free for your garden. Free landscaping rocks are larger stones you can use for stone edging, borders, walls, and paths. Gravel is a mix of smaller stones you can use for drainage or to create paths.

Free Rocks Near Me

Before you pay too much, check out construction sites for rocks of various sizes. You’ll need your own transportation and to be able to lift them, but this can be a real jackpot. Workers often uncover rocks while digging foundations. Ask before you take them, but most construction site managers will be happy to be relieved of these rocks.

Farms are in a similar situation. When preparing fields, they find rocks that need to be moved. Contact local farms or farmers to see if they have any rocks they want to get rid of.

Look online, too. Homeowners doing renovations or landscaping work might be getting rid of stones found on their property. They might list these on Facebook, neighborhood and community pages, or Craigslist.

Free Gravel Near Me

Gravel can be a little harder to find for free, but again, check with construction sites. Demolition sites, in particular, are likely to have a lot of rubble and gravel that someone is responsible for disposing of. The foreman or company will probably let you have it. Neighbors doing landscape renovations might also have extra gravel that’s hard to get rid of.

Check with your municipal government as well. Many local governments collect yard waste and often give away free mulch made from it. Although less commonly disposed of, some city governments also have gravel and stones as part of the yard waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Cheapest Stone to Buy?

Basic boulders and other stones of no particular type are less expensive than pieces of granite, lava rock, or other more visually interesting stones. For the cheapest gravel, look for pea gravel or decomposed granite.

Can You Take Rocks From Local Parks or the Forest?

You cannot go into a park or someone else’s property and take as many rocks as you want. Check with the agency that runs the park or a ranger to learn more. If you know someone with a lot of property, ask if you can remove stones from it.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.