Replacing Section of Lawn with River Rock

Old 06-16-23, 01:04 PM
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Replacing Section of Lawn with River Rock

Hello Everyone,

We have a small section in our back yard where we are planning on putting river rock instead of the grass that is currently there (see attached pic).

We are planning on putting down landscaping fabric and then then river rock over it. Do I need to remove the grass first, or will cutting the existing grass very short and then covering it with the fabric and rocks be enough?

If the grass needs to be removed what would be the best way to do this?

Thank you!

Old 06-16-23, 02:17 PM
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I think digging out the sod would be the best option. For one thing rocks sitting on TOP of the ground doesn't look like a natural riverbed at all. If you dig out the sod it helps you two ways by removing the grass and getting the rock down lower to help it look a bit more natural.
Old 06-16-23, 02:53 PM
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If you don't remove the sod in a couple of years you will have a combo river rock/grass lawn that's impossible to mow. Landscape fabric will not stop the grass and weeds from growing unless you keep after it. Better to remove the sod, add some sand and then your rock.
Old 06-16-23, 03:41 PM
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We are planning on putting down landscaping fabric
If the fabric is thick and heavy it will keep stuff from growing from below, the question is will the level be correct. I'd probably also remove the grass or at least spray with ground killer and rake away the dead stuff in a couple of weeks.

Be aware, beds of river rock IMO are a PITA, I have them, they collect drrtt, grass, leaves, and eventually all kinds of crap starts growing meaning constant clean up. A love/hate relationship!!
Old 06-16-23, 06:15 PM
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I would at least kill the lawn with RoundUp or similar first.
Old 06-17-23, 05:38 PM
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How about substituting 4-5 inches of decomposed granite.....and rolled after watering ? What is the end use of the new landscaping ? If granite, worms will come to the surface looking for air. You will have to deal with that.
Old 06-18-23, 07:39 AM
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I'll second Marq1 ,
beds of river rock IMO are a PITA

I had 2 in my back yard, each about 75' long and took both out after about 5 years. Major maintenance issue, always collecting cr*p and difficult to keep clean. Looked like $%^ each year.

I got lucky and found someone on CL that would take the rock. Would have been a nightmare to try and dispose of it otherwise.
Old 06-18-23, 12:06 PM
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This may or may not apply to you: are you governed by an HOA where you live? May need to get approval first.
Old 06-28-23, 07:44 PM
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hmmm, nothing's ever easy eh? The issue with digging it out to make it look more like a river bed would then probably cause a drainage issue and water would pool there, so that's probably not a good plan. I guess I'll go with mulch then after removing/killing the grass - unless there's some other unforeseen (to me) problem with that?

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