9 Easy Ways to Get Free Rocks for Your Garden

Imagine going down the street and spotting some rocks on the curb. You pick them up to use them in your garden, but it turns out, that was illegal. To avoid such situations, I’m going to show you where to get free garden rocks without getting in trouble with the law.

Curious How Much Rocks Cost to Buy?

If you’re interested in buying rocks for garden and landscaping, know that the prices differ based on the type of rock in question. Here are some examples:

  • River rock gravel typically costs between $40 and $45 per ton.
  • White rocks are cheaper, with only $10 to $20 per ton.
  • Mexican beach pebbles cost $20 to $30 per ton.

How to Get Free Rocks for Your Garden?

1. Ask on Your Social Media

A social media post can go a long way in helping you get your hands on free rocks. If you are in the neighborhood Facebook group, ask around to see if your neighbors have some free garden rocks they might want to get rid of. 

You can write a Facebook status or post an Instagram story asking for free rocks. Have your friends share your post so it reaches as many people as possible. Who knows, you might be in luck.

2. Online Classifieds

People give away rocks, soil, grass, and almost anything you can imagine on sites like Craigslist. Do a search in your area for rocks! This is a great source for finding all kinds of materials that can be used in your garden: from lumber pieces to bricks and pavers.

3. Construction Sites

Locate a building site where excavation is taking place, and they will almost certainly be pleased to offer you the rocks they have unearthed. To you, they are the beginnings of a rock garden.

To them, they are simply an annoyance that must be dragged away at the conclusion of the project. Remember to ask politely before taking the rocks, they might actually use them for something. Taking them from a private site without asking is considered theft.

4. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is an undiscovered gem. If you search for “free garden rocks”, you might actually discover a lot of people who are just looking to get rid of rocks.

5. Go on the Hunt

Heading out into the country with a truck, you should find rocks for the garden easily. While rockhounding is not permitted in National Parks, it is permitted in most National Forests and on most Bureau of Land Management-managed lands. Even without a permit, you can collect up to 250 pounds of rock every day in Utah. That is a substantial amount of free rocks.

6. Check Out Freecycle.org

Freecycle is a platform that allows people to give away stuff for free. If you’re looking for free garden rocks, this would be an excellent place to start. I advise that you check it daily since there are a lot of offers that are gone in mere minutes. You don’t want to miss out on some free rocks.

7. Find Rocks on the Curb

When homeowners begin their garden spring cleaning and landscaping, a lot of excellent stuff is carted to the curb. Take a Sunday drive and you may just come across some lovely rocks for your yard. As always, remember to ask if you can take any rocks, just to make sure they are being given away.

8. Ask Someone in the Right Line of Work

If you know someone that is in the construction business of some sort, ask them if they can spare some rocks. Talk to a farmer. While rocky land is definitely not suitable for farming, those rocks might be of value to you. And you would most likely be helping a farmer out if you took it off their hands.

Ask around and maybe you’ll find a friend of a friend who works at a quarry. They might not let you leave with a large truck filled with rocks, but they’re bound to let you get just enough to do some minor landscaping.

9. Start Digging!

Start Digging

You may have rocks under your lawn depending on where you live! Some people have houses built on rocky soils, so you might end up surprised by what lies in your very own yard. Make sure you dig responsibly. You wouldn’t want to hit a pipe, destroy your garden’s soil, or end up messing with the house’s foundation.

Related Questions

Is it Illegal to Take Rocks from a Construction Site?

When it comes to rock collecting, the fundamental concept is that a collector cannot legally take rocks without the permission or approval of the owner of those rocks. If you don’t ask for permission, you can’t just take rocks from a construction site.

Is it Illegal to Take Rocks from the Side of the Road?

In certain situations, rocks are used for erosion control so taking the rocks placed by the highway department is technically theft.

Can I Sell Rocks I Find on Public Land?

Unless specifically approved, recreational rockhounds are not permitted to collect specimens on federal public land for the purpose of selling or bartering them.

Can I Take Rocks from a River?

It depends. You can take a few rocks but driving your truck to the river’s bank and filling it with rocks is most likely illegal. You might have to check with your local authorities for this one to determine what the laws in your area are.

Can I Take Rocks from the Beach?

While collecting beach rocks as souvenirs is acceptable, removing them from an ecological reserve is against the law.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to finding free garden rocks, there is a fine line between illegal and permitted by law. Make sure that you never take rocks off of someone’s private property without asking. Even when on public ground, some rocks might have been placed there to prevent erosion. It’s always best to enquire with local authorities before filling your truck with rocks.