How to Landscape With River Rock in Florida

Updated February 21, 2017

River rock is an option for homeowners in Florida who want to build a beautifully landscaped wall or terraced garden. You construct walls of river rock by stacking and cementing the rocks into a solid structure. You can build a river rock wall into a slope, but you must install drainpipes behind the wall to allow for water runoff. This can be a backbreaking project but will be well worth the effort when you see how it enhances your yard.

Contact your utility companies and ask them to mark your underground utilities with flags. This will keep you from hitting any electric, gas or water lines when excavating for your river rock wall.

Dig out a trench with a spade and shovel along the line where you want your river rock wall positioned. Excavate a 1-foot-wide trench that is about 6 inches deep. Use the spade to smooth out and level the ground so the first layer of rock will have a secure base. If necessary, place a level on the ground to note any raised areas that need flattening.

Pour the cement and water in a wheelbarrow and mix it with the spade according to the directions on the cement bag. Butter the bottom of each of the rocks with the cement and a trowel; lay them in the trench to make the first row for your river rock wall. Place the flattest side of the rock upwards so it makes a nice base for the second row.

Slant the rows of rocks towards the slope if you are building against a hill. Insert drainpipe behind the wall and fill in the gap between the rock wall and the slope with pea gravel, shovelling it in and packing it down with the shovel.

Continue piling the rocks up and buttering the bottom of each of them as you place them on the next row until you've reached the desired height for your wall. Fill the top section behind the wall with topsoil using the shovel to layer it over the pea gravel. Plant some greenery and flowers in the topsoil as you like.

Use the trowel and cement to fill in any gaps in between the rocks once the wall is constructed.


Wear work gloves to protect your hands from cuts and scratches.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • River rocks
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Bags of cement
  • Garden hose and water
  • Trowel
  • Level
  • Drainpipe
  • Pea gravel
  • Topsoil
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About the Author

JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.