Black rocks are often overlooked when it comes to selecting stones for landscaping. However, these eye-catching pebbles can take your backyard or front yard landscape to the next level by drawing attention to various elements in your design. Black rocks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and even colors so you can choose one that fits in with your yard perfectly. While there are a few black rock types that can be pricey, most of them can be used without making your project go over budget.
Types Of Black Rock For Landscaping
You may not realize just how many types of black decorative landscape rocks are out there. They come in various shades of black, with different textures, sizes, and shapes. Before we dive into how you can use these rocks to elevate your landscape design, let’s take a look at all of the options you have to work with.
Black river rocks are probably the most popular black landscape rock option and are easily found at most big box stores. These stones have a smooth, polished texture making them a great addition to a modern landscape design! You’ll notice a dash of dark brown and a few stones with white veining throughout the mix. This color variation adds a little extra texture and interest to the overall look of river rocks.
If you like the white veining found throughout river rocks, but wish there was more of it, black marble might be just what you’re looking for! These stylish black marble pebbles have beautiful white streaks throughout adding texture despite their smooth finish. They work lovely next to concrete walkways since the white veining plays off the light gray concrete wall. They are also gorgeous when installed near a white house because they add extra dimension while still complementing the color nicely.
Black Beach Pebbles
Black beach pebbles look very similar to river rocks since they have also been weathered down over time by water. However, they have a more uniform black color without the hints of brown and white found in river rocks. Their smooth, shiny surfaces are sure to add a touch of elegance wherever you decide to use them.
If you’re interested in the smooth, polished finish of river rock and beach pebbles, but prefer a jet-black color instead, look no further! Black quartzite is stunning with its rich color and smooth reflective surface. While they aren’t as common as other polished rocks, you can still easily get them online or from a rock yard.
Black Polished Pebbles
Man-made black polished pebbles are another option if you’re looking for deep black polished rocks. These rocks are tumbled after being collected to give them their sleek, glossy surface. The way the light bounces off of them adds some extra dimension to these rocks making them stand out even more. I love the glassy look they take on under the midday sun!
Obsidian rock has the glassy look of polished pebbles but its angular edges give it more texture. These natural stones are midnight black with a mixture of flat and jagged surfaces. I wouldn’t recommend using these on a walking path but they are stunning when used in a no-traffic area like flower beds. I love how they are less uniform in shape which works well with a more rustic landscape design. The cost of obsidian rock is their only drawback and limits their ability to be used for larger landscaping projects.
Black Landscape Glass
A more budget-friendly option than obsidian rock is black landscape glass. This man-made product is a fraction of the cost while still providing the same look as obsidian. These pebbles are also often sold under the name dragon glass. If you have a larger area to cover, consider using landscape glass so you don’t break the bank.
Lava rocks have become very popular over the last decade and are now readily available for landscape uses. Their unique texture gives them an otherworldly look. These stones tend to be a lighter black color with subtle hints of brown and dark gray throughout. An added bonus, lava rocks are lighter than most other landscape stones making them easier to move around and install.
Black basalt is another unpolished stone option and it has a deeper black color than lava rocks. They also tend to be more uniform in size. Depending on where you purchase them they may have more brown, white, or gray pieces mixed throughout. I recommend purchasing all of the stones you need from the same lot so that the color remains uniform throughout your project.
Most people picture the typical grayish color rocks when they hear the word granite. However, black granite rock is available and it is one of the most budget-friendly black rock options out there. You’ll find some brown, white, and gray mixed in with black granite rock. I think these hints of color give these rocks even more character. It allows you to tie them into your design with plants or surround structures with similar colors effortlessly.
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you know I’m a huge fan of slate. There’s something wonderful about how these rocks break apart to create a slightly rippled surface that I find extremely appealing. These slate rocks work beautifully when surrounding stepping stones or as a mulch alternative in flower beds.
We’ve covered all sorts of small black rocks but what about large rocks? Black boulders can be used to create a focal point in your landscape design. Their dark coloration stands out against a sea of green grass like a piece of artwork. You’ll likely only find these huge black boulders for sale at a rock yard. Make sure you take your time to select a boulder that speaks to you since each stone is one of a kind. Some will be solid black while others may have splashes of white or tan throughout.
Black Rocks Landscaping Ideas
Now that you know what types of black landscape rocks are available, it’s time to get your creative juices flowing. There are many different ways to incorporate these striking pebbles into your landscape. Here are a few ideas for adding black rocks to your yard to elevate your home’s curb appeal.
Black Pebbles In Flower Beds
Adding black pebbles to a flower bed will make your plants stand out. They’ve paired them well with these succulents which have hints of red which look great against the black stones. The black also contrasts with the white tile backdrop creating a contemporary modern vibe to the overall design. This DIY project is also super low maintenance since the rocks won’t have to be replaced like mulch would.
Black Granite Rocks Around Shrubs
If midnight black pebbles seem a little harsh for your design, consider using black gravel like this around shrubs in a flower bed. The concrete pavers used to make this raised bed accentuate the white and gray throughout the gravel. This makes the gravel appear lighter overall. You could use darker pavers around the edges to create the opposite effect as well.
Black Pebble Walkway With Pavers
This low-budget walkway is a great example of how black rocks can elevate your design without hurting your wallet. They’ve used simple concrete pavers but elevated the look by using contrasting black pebbles to highlight the pavers. It’s tied together perfectly with the white edging used to complement the pavers. To add a little color they’ve even lined the walkway with flowers which breathe life into the overall design. By layering these relatively inexpensive elements together, you can create a beautiful walkway that looks like it should be featured in a magazine!
Black Rocks Around Trees
Who says black and brown don’t go together? The addition of the larger black pebbles around the base of the tree looks amazing in my opinion! This is especially true if you use one of the black landscape rock options like river rocks which naturally have a bit of brown throughout them. The tree will simply make the subtle browns of the rocks more noticeable in the landscape. I love the way the plants have a more natural look to them while the rocks keep the overall feel more polished and tidy.
Black Rock Border
Using a black stone border around a lighter stone feature creates a desirable color contrast. Here they aren’t just using color to create contrast but also size and shape. The small, black, round pebbles are the polar opposite of the large, white, square pavers of the walkway and fountain. Together all of these contrasting elements create an elegant design without the need for additional colors or plants. This timeless design will remain stylish for years to come.
Black Rocks Around Boulders
In this Zen garden design, jet-black pebbles surround the large boulders to make them the star of the design. Without the black border, the boulders would blend in with the surrounding rocks. However, they’ve made a point of drawing your eye to them while adding depth to the overall look. This is a super creative way to add dimension and depth while still keeping the traditional Zen garden theme.
Black Gravel Driveway
You don’t often see black gravel used for driveways but I think you’ll agree that it looks stunning in this picture! Their dark color ties in with the dark brown gate but also contrasts with the white pillars. Plus, using a gravel color that isn’t typically seen is sure to make people passing by take a second look! Black gravel also won’t require as much cleaning as other gravel colors making it more low-maintenance.
Large Black Rock As A Focal Piece
Most people typically choose to use a tree or perhaps a water feature as the focal piece of a flower bed. However, a large black boulder is a much more low-maintenance option for you to consider. You can use a polished boulder like this for a more modern look or a natural boulder if your house gives off a more rustic vibe. While black boulders aren’t exactly cheap, they can certainly be more cost-effective than a sculpture or water feature. They’ll also hold up for longer against the outdoor elements than other options.