4 Ways How To Clean Landscape Rock

railroad tie walkway in backyard with gray landscape rock next to green plants

When you have a xeriscaped yard, a stream bed rock garden feature, or landscape rock areas, it’s important to keep up on your maintenance. There are a few things to keep in mind that you can do to keep your landscape rock looking its best. Both how to get rid of weeds in landscape rock and how to clean landscape rock will be discussed below. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas on how to maximize your yard’s beauty this season.

How To Clean Landscape Rock

Knowing how to clean landscape rock comes down to handling two elements. First, you need to get rid of and prevent weeds. Second, you must rigorously clean off your rock from debris that builds up. Essentially, prevent what’s coming from underneath and above. Only then will you have clean landscape rocks.

Step One: Eliminate Existing Weeds Nearby

how to clean landscape rock from growing green weeds

One of the major maintenance items is keeping up on the weeds. There’s not much of a substitute for manual weeding once they grow more than a few inches. As the weeds are growing however, there are a few different methods to try which you might find helpful.

One of our favorites is good old boiling water. Bring a kettle to boiling and pour the hot water directly on the weeds. This is about as ‘green’ as you can get with killing weeds. If you have a lot of ground to cover however, this might not be a good solution.

Next, you might consider putting homemade vinegar based weed killer in a sprayer to kill the weeds. Mix up the following solution:

  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 1 cup table salt
  • A tablespoon of dishwashing detergent

Step Two: Automate Weed Prevention

Once the salt is dissolved and your solution is all mixed up, you can put it in a garden sprayer and spray liberally on your weeds. Be sure to avoid any plants you wish to survive. This is a great way to clean landscape rock of weeds without using harsh chemicals. It will take a few days to a week for the weeds to die and start to turn brown. This of this will depend on where you live and how hot out it is.

Step Three: Clean Off Your Landscape Rocks

how to clean landscape rocks from dirt and debris

Once you have the weeds killed and pulled, you can focus on how to clean landscape rock of the leaves and other debris. Wait for a day when everything is dry. Turn off your sprinkler system for a couple days if your system over-sprays onto the landscape rock. Once your rock is dry, you can use a leaf blower to blow the debris right out of the rock.

You may find that your rock is dirty with rotted organic material. Even if the rock just doesn’t seem to get clean, don’t lose hope. First, get a rake and see just how deep the landscape rock runs. If you have 5 or 6 inches to play with, you can try rigorously raking the rock to turn over the rock on the surface.

Initially this will appear to make the rock dirtier, but what you are doing is bringing the rock from below the surface up to the surface. There will be a lot of sand and fines coming with it. The goal will be to break up the organics which have embedded themselves between the top layer of rock, and bring the cleaner rock from below up to the surface. Once you’ve raked a small section, grab the hose and see if the rock looks better when you rinse it off. You’ll most likely find you have fresh looking landscape rock ready to go.

Step Four: Add More Landscape Rock

So you may be wondering how to clean landscape rock in the instance that your rock is not deep enough to turn over and expose the lower layers? Often the best solution in this instance is to get more rock delivered and build up the rock layer with fresh rock.

Perhaps you don’t want to spend the money to get new rock delivered. Instead, you can create a cleaning station using 5 gallon buckets and a tarp. You’ll want to do this in an area where you don’t mind a bunch of muddy water running off the tarp. Shovel the landscape rock into the bucket until it’s just heavy enough to move to the tarp location. Using either a garden cart or just plain carrying the buckets, dump the stone onto the tarp in a thin layer. It helps if the tarp is on angled ground if possible. Then, using your hose, rinse off the rock and clean it.

How To Clean Landscape Rock Summary

As you can imagine, cleaning landscape rock by hand is incredibly labor intensive. Due to this hassle, it usually makes sense to just get some new rock delivered to freshen things up. However, if you choose to clean your landscape rocks, you now know how.