Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Landscape rocks, or just unwanted rocks in your yard, can be a great huge pain in the rear when left unattended.
This is particularly annoying when you decide to grow a lawn or a garden.
The first step towards improving a landscape is to remove these rocks.
Depending on the size, you will need to improvise. You might want to keep some of them for ornamental purposes. But we’ll get to decorative landscaping rocks some other time.
Contents of This Page
Getting Rid of Small Rocks
Small-sized rocks might seem harmless but they can be quite dangerous.
For one, if you have children or pets lazing in the yard, they could hurt their feet. Small rocks are also capable of preventing the roots of plants or grass from getting nutrition out of the soil.
They can also cause considerable damage to gardening tools like a lawnmower.
So, it is perfectly logical to want to remove rocks from the soil. You can start by wearing some gardening gloves and picking the loose ones with your hands. But to do a thorough job, you might want to consider getting a small mechanical tiller or a garden rake.
Let’s start with the rototiller. This will help loosen the soil and crush the dirt and expose large rocks clearly.
Cover the entire area of the yard and unearth the big rocks.
Grab a wheelbarrow and put the big rocks you collect in there. You can choose to reuse rocks, some larger rocks may be good for building a backyard fire pit, or maybe you could build a rockery, or you could use them for lining a pathway or gravel driveway, depending on your yard’s current landscaping style. If they are attractive looking small rocks, putting pebbles on top of potted plants can help to prevent things like fungus gnat pests, and moisture loss.
Taking Pebbles or Gravel Out
Pebbles, boulders, and gravel are also a part of landscaping rock. If you are getting rid of an old gravel path or a huge amount of debris, start by separating the pebbles from the soil with a leaf rake. This is a gardening device used to separate stones from soil.
You get the pebbles separately because they can be very helpful in a new garden. They can be a huge help with drainage for outdoor plants. If you get rid of all of them, the soil will pack down. Over time, this creates a risk of flooding.
Let’s Toss out Some Boulders
Then there are the bigger ones. Small to medium-sized boulders can be removed quite easily with the right kind of equipment.
Sometimes, it is tough to loosen or rake the soil. So, get a few tools like wedges, hammer drill, mattock tool, shovel and a wheelbarrow, plus some elbow grease to get started.
To remove a boulder, you need to get a pointed shovel.
Dig around the soil surrounding it till the boulder loses its cover. Once it is out of the loosened soil, remove it with the wheelbarrow.
To remove a medium-sized boulder, you will need to drill a hole and put wedges in the holes. Take a mallet and destroy the boulder till the pieces are small enough to remove with a wheelbarrow.
Then There’s the Big Boulders
The most efficient way of digging out large rocks is to either be clever about it or use heavy equipment that is designed precisely for this purpose.
Using leverage to remove a boulder is both clever and requires minimum equipment. First, remove the dirt around the rock so that you can fit a lever under it.
This can be a long piece of metal pipe or log of wood. Make sure your lever can handle the weight of the boulder without breaking in two. Place one edge of the lever under the rock and apply pressure on the other side.
With enough force, you will be able to move the rock a little if not entirely detach it from the earth. Keep at it till the boulder is off the surface of the earth.
Once the boulder is displaced, get an electric winch or a chain. Wrap the chain or the winch’s straps around the rough edges of the boulder. Next, prepare a platform that can carry the rock out of the garden.
If you can get a 2 x 6-inch lumber and place a couple of iron pipes next to it to secure the rock, the job can be easily done. Drag the rock on to the platform using the chain or winch and remove the rock. You can also use a truck or a tractor if you have quite the distance to go.
About Using Machinery To Remove Landscape Rocks
If you are going to make some big changes, professional help with the equipment is recommended. Most of these yard rock removal tools can be expensive to buy too.
And you don’t want to buy equipment that you are likely to never use again. If you have the option of renting the equipment, absolutely utilize it. Short term dumpster rental, or skid steer loader rental, is way cheaper than buying them.
Getting a landscape rid of rocks is not a job to be done entirely with your bare hands. Using the right equipment can reduce hours of work to minutes and also cuts down on the amount of effort you need to put into it. This is particularly true for granite rocks which are heavy.
Taking the Stones Out
Once you have removed the gravel from your path, you must figure out how to get rid of it. If you are using a lawnmower, there is a chance the rocks could be picked up by the mower blades and be thrown where they’re not appreciated. This could hurt you, the people around you, or even damage nearby windows and the lawnmower itself.
So, start by getting a bow rake. Use the time to remove as much gravel as you can. Since the back of a bow rake is made of metal, you can gather and create piles of gravel with it.
Then get a shovel scoop to pick up the pile of stone. You can use your hands to collect the gravel on the shovel.
After that, get a bristle or a broom and push the leftover gravel out of your driveway.
Finally, get a vacuum cleaner and suck the remaining gravel out. Begin by clearing the edges of your driveway and move towards the middle.
The Bottom Line On Yard Rock Removal
If you are wondering what to do with all the accumulated stones, there are lots of options. As they say, “one person’s tragedy is another person’s treasure”.
You can use smaller pebbles for your outdoor plants as a kind of water retentive rock mulch. You can ask your neighbors if they need some extra rocks.
Inquire with your local landscaping companies, they may be interested in repurposing landscape rocks if they have a nearby landscaping project where they could be of use. If you want to give your yard a makeover, and include some of these rocks, try using some of the best free landscape design software, to see what kind of ideas you can come up with.
If none of that works, you can always take some pictures of the different types of landscaping rocks or categorize them based on their size and post an ad on Craigslist or Facebook. Lots of people are looking for landscape rocks, and after completing your yard rock removal exercise, you can generously give them away. That’s a win-win, you get your unwanted rocks removed, and somebody else gets the landscaping rocks they’re looking for.