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.
How Much Do Rocks Cost to Buy?
Many home improvement stores sell small bags of landscaping rocks, which can range from $3 to $10 per bag, depending on the size and the type of rock. These bags usually contain between 0.5 to 1 cubic foot of material.
If you need a a lot of rocks but still not enough to warrant purchasing by the ton, many landscaping supply companies offer smaller quantities for sale. These quantities can range from 1/4 ton to 1 ton, with prices starting at around $50 to $100 per ton.
When purchasing larger quantities of garden rocks, it’s important to factor in the cost of delivery or transportation if you are unable to transport them yourself. This can rapidly add to the total cost of the rocks, so if you have a truck it will help you save a few dollars.
The cost of garden rocks in small quantities can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, depending on the type and amount of rock needed. It’s important to research prices at various suppliers and factor in the cost of transportation to determine the most cost-effective option for your needs.
Now let me explain all the ways you can get garden rocks for free.
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 or home 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 by a big dump truck. Remember to ask politely before taking the rocks, they might actually use them for something and you can’t just start taking items off someones property. Taking them from a private site without asking is considered theft so get permission!
4. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is an undiscovered gem for finding free stuff. If you search for “free garden rocks” on the FB marketplace, you might actually discover a lot of people who are just looking to get rid of rocks in their yard. Never pay for rocks with an e-transfer before you pick up the roks, that’s likely going to be a scam you want to avoid.
5. Go Hunt for Rocks at Beaches & in the Forest
While rockhounding is not permitted in National Parks, it is permitted in most National Forests and on most Bureau of Land Management-managed lands.
It’s always a good idea to check with local authorities or park rangers to see if there are any restrictions on collecting rocks or other natural objects in a particular area before doing so. It’s important to be respectful of the natural environment and only collect objects that are not part of an ecosystem or habitat.
A really good place to find rocks for your garden is at the beach. Beach rocks are super cool as they can be smooth and look ascetically pleasing in your garden. My mom always did beach rock gatherings and then painted them! So I definitely recommend finding beach rocks for free for your garden.
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.
Of course, depending on where you live you may have no active users in your area. In large populated areas you are more likely to find 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!
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.
Free Garden Rocks 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.
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.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.