His Workmanship

3 Strategies For Landscape Rock Removal [Complete Guide]

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We’ve all been there. One person’s treasure is another person’s trash. Perhaps you’ve bought a new house and the previous homeowners loved landscape rocks. They loved them so much that rocks are around the whole house. Only problem is that you hate how the rocks look. To make matters worse, the rocks make it so much harder to plant and garden the way you want. You know the answer: out with the old and in with the new. You need to remove rocks from the yard and perhaps replace it with mulch. Obviously you cannot just throw rocks away like trash though. So how can you remove all that landscape rock?
The easiest solution would be to ask your neighbors if they need some extra rock. You could even offer to wheelbarrow the rock over to their house. Or perhaps just pile the rock up in the driveway for them to install on their own. If the neighbors don’t want the rocks, just go ahead and snap some pictures then post an ad on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace titled, “Free Landscape Rock”. In some cases, that might do the trick. If not, here are three simple strategies for getting rid of that unwanted river rock.


Maybe the reason why you don’t like the rock is because it’s so dirty. A little rock wash might do the trick. For this method, you will need to get some type of large metal dirt sifter. Then simply shovel the rocks onto the sifter and spray the rocks with a hose to remove as much of the grimy dirt as possible. This way you won’t need to scrub each individual rock with a brush. Once the rocks are clean, then go ahead and reinstall them. One warning about this approach is the grass will get very dirty and potentially muddy. Because of this, I don’t really recommend this first option.


I’ve seen this done plenty of times. Normally landscaping rock is about 1.5 inches deep. If you don’t want to go through the effort of hauling the rock away, you can just relocate the rock to another area on your property. Maybe you like the rock underneath the deck but not around the house. In that case all you need is a spade shovel, a wheelbarrow and a metal rake. The biggest problem with this approach is that you’ll end up with 4+ inches of rock in one area. This might cause the rock to overflow and go over the border edging and onto the grass. Everyone knows what happens when a lawn mower runs over rocks! Because of this, I don’t prefer this option very much either. Though it is better than the first option.


You might want to ask a couple friends to help for this option. Shoveling rock is no walk in the park. In fact, manual labor doesn’t get much harder than river rock removal. If you’re willing to take on the challenge, you’ll need to get your hands on a truck and trailer. Either call up a buddy who has one or else you can rent a truck and trailer from Home Depot or even U-Haul. You should also make sure you know of a yard waste disposal place that accepts gravel because only a few do. Here in the Twin Cities, my favorite yard waste sites are in Maple Grove and Gertens in Eagan. Please note that both of these places will charge a fee per cubic yard unless you are a local city resident. The other option would be to rent a roll off dumpster and have it delivered on your driveway. As long as the door is low enough, you should be able to push your wheelbarrow into the dumpster.


If you have the extra money, and don’t have a strong enough back to shovel rock, then you could always hire a professional landscape company to haul away the rock for you. Here at His Workmanship, removing rocks from soil is our specialty and one of our favorite projects too. We even made a short video to show potential customers how the rock removal process works, from start to finish.