7 Ways To Get Free Rocks For Your Landscaping Project

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Landscaping projects can cost quite a bit of money. However, you can drastically reduce the bill by getting free rocks. All you need is a truck bed and a place to find as many rocks as you need. Keep in mind that not all rocks can be used for landscaping jobs. The rocks need to promote drainage, prevent plant growth, and match the yard.

To get free rocks for your landscaping projects, try these methods:

  • Get rocks from national forests
  • Look for rocks in your yard
  • Sift through construction sites
  • Check renovation locations
  • Try local online freebies
  • Talk to farmers to get free rocks
  • Contact landscaping companies

Throughout this article, you’ll learn all of the ways to get free rocks for your landscaping jobs. We’ll also provide helpful details to help you make sure the rocks match your yard.

Get Rocks From National Forests

National forests are loaded with millions of rocks. The best part about getting rocks from national forests is that they look unique and match natural scenery. The Forest Service states that you can gather most rocks in almost every national forest. However, we recommend contacting your desired forest service before getting enough rocks for your landscaping projects.

Keep these things in mind before heading to a national forest for rocks:

  • You can’t get rocks from national parks. While national forests are a great source of free rocks, you can’t get them from national parks. Most national parks have legal limitations that prevent people from taking anything natural from the location. Taking a few rocks could land you with a hefty fine.
  • You might need to get a permit to collect more than a specific limit per national forest. Many places allow you to take up to 250 pounds of rocks. If you need more than this limit, you’ll likely have to get permission. Always contact the national forest before gathering more than a few rocks for your landscaping projects.
  • Check the national forests near your home to know what kind of rocks you want for your yard. All national forests have unique plants and rocks. Find out what you think would look good in your yard before making the trip. You wouldn’t want to head to a national park if it didn’t have the rocks you were looking for.
  • Always wash and clean the rocks before leaving the national forest. All rocks in national forests have bacteria on them. While this bacteria usually isn’t too harmful, it can cause problems in your yard. Bringing foreign bacteria could cause fungal growth, root rot, and other unwanted soil diseases.
  • Never leave rocks in different national forests. Much like the aforementioned bacterial issue, you could bring diseases to other national forests. These diseases could cause local issues, which aren’t worth the risk. Instead, find out which national forests have the rocks you want, then dump the rest wherever you got them.

Sift Your Yard’s Soil for Rocks

Your yard has more rocks than you think. You can sift through the soil and remove the rocks to find ones that are native to your home. Lawn Care Lessons recommends filling the holes where the stones were with topsoil. You can use the soil to grow grass, flowers, and other plants.

Here’s what you should know about getting rocks from your yard:

  • Use a hand shovel to remove as many rocks as possible. The ESOW Garden Tool Set (available on Amazon) comes with three tools to help you remove rocks, weeds, and other debris from the yard. They’re made out of heavy-duty, flexible aluminum with ergonomic rubberized handles. These tools are also quite lightweight, making them perfect for everyone.
  • Tilling the soil will reveal hundreds of rocks in most homes with unaided soil. Natural soil without loads of added topsoil, mulch, compost, and artificial turf is loaded with rocks. These rocks are perfect for landscaping because they naturally help with drainage, decorations, and more.
  • Look on the outer edges of the lawn where most pebbles and rocks end up. Most lawns have gradual root growth that can push small rocks to the bare soil. Dig around these areas if you need a few extra rocks for your projects. You can use shovels, tilling machines, and other lawn care equipment to locate and remove the rocks.
  • Not all yard rocks can be used for landscaping projects. Your soil might have a lot of rocks to spare, but that doesn’t mean you should use all of them. For example, brittle rocks crumble apart. They don’t help with drainage problems, and they don’t look good as decorations because rainwater can deteriorate them.

The only time you shouldn’t get rocks from your soil is if it’s going to ruin the garden or lawn. If you have too many rocks nearby, you’ll destroy the dirt. Instead, till the soil before removing the rocks, pull out as many stones as possible, and add a couple of inches of fresh topsoil.

Get Rocks From Construction Sites

Construction sites often have a load of free rocks. Some of them remove concrete and crush it into useable landscape rocks, while others get rid of the rocks to build, dig, and so on. You can contact these crews to ask if you can take the rocks off their hands. Most construction crews would appreciate it because it makes their jobs easier.

Before you ask a construction crew for the rocks, consider these tips:

  • Find the site manager or foreman rather than a random worker. Foremen are typically the people in charge of the site. They’ll have the final say in whether or not you can keep the free rocks. Asking a regular construction worker might make them tell you no simply because they don’t have the authority to make the decision.
  • Check if they have enough rocks to fulfill your landscaping project. There’s no point in getting a few handfuls of rocks if you need hundreds of pounds. Figure out how many rocks you need ahead of time, then ask the construction crew if they have enough rocks for the job.
  • Always offer to take the rocks without their assistance. Most construction crews will say they don’t have time to spare. However, if you offer to remove the rocks without their help, they’re much more likely to agree to the request. You can use a shovel to dump the rocks into a rental truck if you don’t have one.
  • Consider asking for concrete chunks if they have leftovers. Crushed concrete offers top-notch drainage for your yard. While it doesn’t look the best, you can cover the concrete chunks with other rocks. You’ll save a ton of time and money layering the rocks since the concrete takes up most of the space.

Note: Don’t expect every construction site to offer free rocks. They often save the rocks for other jobs, but it’s worth asking since you might get everything you need for the project.

Look for Renovation Locations

Renovations always crush concrete, rocks, and other materials. Ask if you can have their leftover rocks for your landscaping projects. These rocks are great for your yard because they’re local and don’t invite foreign bacteria into the soil. Furthermore, they look natural because they come from a nearby source.

While most renovation sites don’t have as many rocks as landscaping projects, they have plenty of concrete chunks. You can crush them and use them around the yard without worrying about getting river rocks or heading to a national park. People often use renovation concrete for small projects since they don’t look as good as natural rocks.

Another option is to check pool building sites. Gunite pools can be crushed into small calcified pieces. These pieces are just as effective as crushed concrete.

Check for Local Online Freebies

Local online freebies offer some of the quickest and easiest ways to get as many rocks as you need for your landscaping projects. Some places require a phone call, while others place the rocks on the sidewalk and let you pick them up without notice. There are dozens of places to look for free rocks on the internet.

Try these four online hotspots for free rocks:

  1. Facebook Marketplace: This website is perfect for finding free items online. Most of them are local, which means you can find free rocks around your town. You’ll have no problem driving, shoveling, and using the rocks for your landscaping projects. Most Facebook Marketplace listings have weights, locations, and other necessary specs.
  2. Craig’s List: This site offers numerous free items that people want to get rid of. Much like Facebook Marketplace, you can limit your Craig’s List searches to a local search. You can search within 10, 25, 50, and 100 miles. Feel free to find to perfect match, contact the person, and get the rocks as quickly as you need to.
  3. Freecycle: This website helps you find people who want to get rid of free items in your area. You can search any city to find out if they have the free rocks you need for your yard. Furthermore, you can expand the search too far away locations if you want to take a long drive or pay for shipping costs.
  4. Social Media Listings: Social media helps you connect with people who want to get rid of things. Ask your friends, post on local groups, and so on. You can use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to contact people who have free rocks to get rid of. Make a post or type ‘Free Rocks’ in the search bar.

Another option is to check local forums. Make sure you get the type of rock, how many pounds you’ll need, and a safe location. Forums often help you get hundreds of pounds of rocks, but they’re not always the quickest solution. You’ll have to wait for someone to reply, which could take longer than most instant messaging services.

Talk to Farmers for Rocks

Farmers have countless rocks from various projects on their land. The Spruce explains contacting a farmer could be the best way to get free rocks for your landscaping jobs. Not only are you helping them get rid of the rocks and clear their land, but you’re also saving yourself a lot of money.

If you think the rocks are valuable, consider offering labor. Farmers are some of the hardest workers, so why not see if you can remove the rocks and have them for free? Their land will be much clearer, and you’ll have the rocks for your project. The key to getting free rocks from various people and businesses is to make it as easy for them as possible.

Contact Local Landscaping Businesses

Local landscaping businesses typically have a lot of free rocks for many reasons. For instance, they need to get rid of rocks they dug out of old job sites. Another reason is that they might have gotten too much of one type of rock. You could also contact local landscaping stores since they might have rocks that won’t sell.

Landscaping companies often get loads of free. These companies typically enjoy getting rid of the rocks because it saves them from a lot of unwanted work. Much like asking construction crews, it’s always better to ask the site manager. Remember to let them know that you’ll do all of the work to remove the rocks.

Some rocks cost a lot more than others. Local landscapers might not let you have the rocks for free if they think they could get a lot of money from the rocks. It’s best to research the type of rocks that you want before asking for freebies.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll likely have to remove a lot of dirt. Most landscaping companies don’t separate the rocks from the soil. Load everything into the back of your vehicle and spray the rocks when you get home. This process will help you get the rocks without taking too much time and making a mess at the landscaping site.

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