How to Clean Tiny Rocks in Your Yard

Gravel is available in almost an infinite number of colors, textures, and sizes. Not only does it make your yard look beautiful but also feels good beneath your feet. Moreover, it is known to reduce garden upkeep in addition to being economical and easy to work with.

The rocks you choose will help set the tone for the yard.

Rocks can work as the main feature of the garden or be used to complement other features. For example, you can use rocks as retaining walls around your flower garden. Not only do they keep the soil in place, but also help in providing some structure to your ground cover flowering plants. By keeping them from growing into your yard.

Or maybe use the rocks as decor in your yard. They could act as an accent by using contrasting colors to create a pattern while highlighting different features in your yard. For instance the plants and the trees.

You might as well opt for them for your driveway entrance or in areas around the yard that don’t receive sunlight. Meaning the plants can’t thrive. In this way, the gravel can alert you of unwanted visitors through their crunching sounds when stepped on.

Perhaps swap the mulch in your garden beds and around trees with mulch. Rather than needing to replace faded and missing mulch every season, rocks are more durable and will retain their color. With their only need being the occasional shoring up to maintain a clean look.

Last but not least, you can use one or two large boulders as a focal point for your landscape design. Opt for a color that creates a contrast with the rest of the greenery in your yard. Did you know that you can also create a fountain out of the boulder?

If not so, you can create a stone path that incorporates a charming look with the grass on your lawn. Especially in the steep areas of your yard. Or use them to surround a simple fire pit.

So how do you clean the rocks in your yard? This depends on the type of rocks you have and their purpose at the moment.

If the rocks are not as many, but the rocks in a bucket or a wheelbarrow. This method also helps if the rocks need a deeper cleaning. Just don’t overfill the container since you will still need to lift it.

Moreover, it restores the color especially on the white landscaping rocks, while making it easier to clean the small rocks that might get blasted away with the pressure washer.

Add some water then add your bleach. Almost half of each. The bleach will not discolor your rocks or destroy them.

Shake the container to mix the ingredients well and then let it sit for an hour or two.

It is good for your health to do this activity in an open area. The reason is that bleach produces chlorine gas which is harmful to inhale.

Once the time is up, tip your container and pour off the bleach. You will probably notice dirt and debris coming off with the acidic solution. Hence being able to see the details of your rocks. Leave the rocks at the bottom as you will need to rinse them off severally.

Keep in mind that bleach is harmful to your plants, pests, and insects. So be careful about where you pour it.

Rinse the rocks several times with clean water. This is because the residue from the bleach can eat away at the rocks over time. Once finished, feel free to return the rocks where they were.

If you don’t have bleach, you can use vinegar as well. It might take a little longer but it is effective. All you need to do is to soak the rocks in vinegar. A proportion a little bit more than your rocks.

Let the rocks soak for 2 to 3 days if you soak them in a small container. If not, the same method of using bleach applies here to the latter.

On the other hand, if you have rocks as the main feature of your yard. Over time they do get dirty, with soil and from stepping or driving over them.

You will need the right clothes, for example, a long-sleeved t-shirt and pants. work boots, protective glasses, and a pair of gloves. You will also need a plastic shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a screen for sifting. This is one of the easiest ways to clean dirty rocks in your yard.

About a 1.3 cm of holes type of screen or mesh. This is so that the rocks can stay on top of the screen while the dirt falls through. If your rocks are smaller than 1.3 cm use a mesh of 0.64 cm screening instead.

However, you can make your screen as large or as small as you would like. But, you will need to add extra pieces of wood at the sides as support so that the rocks don’t put too much pressure on the screen.

A wheelbarrow can act as a tarp beneath your screen to make your work easier while cleaning up. Thus, the dirt you sift from the rock will fall into it. When you are finished, you can pour the dirt wherever you want.

Always start at one side of your yard, using a shovel to gather up some rocks. Then pour them onto your screen. Try not to dig too deeply gathering up too much dirt that will give you double work in the end.

Now shake the screen or use a hoe to rake the rocks over the screen. In a back and forth movement. You should notice dirt and debris gathering in the wheelbarrow right away.

Pull out by hand any debris, weeds, twigs, or trash that are too big to fall through the screen.

After you are done sifting, you can either replace each scoop of rocks as you clean it. Or you can set all of the clean rocks aside, then shovel them across your yard after they are all clean. Experiment to see what feels the most efficient for you.

Try working in a grid pattern or go all around the perimeter of the yard, then work into the center. During the process, you should be able to tell which areas you have already been cleaned from those that haven’t.

If the rocks are too many to clean in one day, try to clear one section a day at a time. There should be absolutely no pressure. Take as long as you will need. And one day you will wake up and the job is done.

In case you chose to put the rocks in a pile aside, you can pour the dirt that has accumulated in your wheelbarrow back onto your yard. Then put the rocks on top.

Another method to use to clean up your rocks is by sweeping them using a push broom to loosen any dirt. This should be before spraying the rocks.

This will help with breaking up any dirt that is dried on the surface of the rocks, hence making them easier to clean. After that, scrub the rocks vigorously with water and soap, using a sprayer attachment on your hose. Or a pressure washer. Depending on the level of dirt each of the water sources cleans differently.

Simply stand away from the area you are cleaning and hold the water at an angle. This is so that the water and the dirt don’t ricochet toward your face. Spray all around the rocks and you will be able to blast away even the stubborn dirt.

In case you notice anything green or grey growing on the surface of the rocks. Chances are it is mold or fungus. To take them out, you will need to saturate the landscaping rocks with white vinegar. Then rinse them using water once finished. 

If the mold is really stubborn, then mix water with bleach. Apply to the stones and rinse them well. It might take two applications to fully remove the mold.

Pea gravel is smaller than other types of gravel. Its diameter is around ⅜ of an inch. Making it perfect to walk on both for you and your pets, if you have any. It also drains easily and does not crack during the colder seasons.

Moreover, it is generally low maintenance with a natural appearance and versatile aesthetic.

It mostly gets dirty from pine needles, leaves, and seed pods. The best way to clean the pea gravel is by using a leaf blower. Otherwise picking by hand is frustrating and not as effective.

It also needs raking from time to time in order to keep the rocks in place. Spraying the pea with water will help with keeping the rocks dust free. However, when it’s during the rainy season, the rain can help in cleaning them as well. Just with the dust.

Depending on the size of the rocks, there are a few tools you will need when moving rocks from one place to another. Moving them by hand is a slow laborious process that will tire you out before you even begin.

Therefore, get a rock sled and wheelbarrow which is easy to maneuver through tight spaces, without causing any damage to the surroundings. Only transfer a few rocks at a time while ensuring that they are well balanced for even distribution of the weight.

If it is a large rock that provides a calming place to seat or works as a focal point of the garden. Consider getting a skid steer loader or a hand truck or pulling the rock using a rope or chain. The skid steer option is the most efficient. You just drive it over your lawn and get to moving the rock.

However, you need to carefully plan out where you are moving the rocks beforehand. This will make your work easier.

In case you have weeds in your gravel, pulling them out by hand can cause disruption on the level of the gravel. The best way to handle them is during the early stages before pouring the gravel into your yard.

How? By laying a weed control fabric that will prevent the weed from breaking out in the first place. Alternatively, if the weeds are already sprouting out, spray a weed killer.

For a more natural approach, you could pour salt on the weed-affected area or some boiled water.

Now that you know how to clean rocks, how else can you maintain the rocks in the yard?

Every two to three years, the gravel in your yard needs to be replenished. This is because the rocks sink causing some bare parts on it.

What you need to do is to get about a quarter ton of the rocks in the yard. Then pour it over the existing rocks in order to raise the level to about an inch or two. Then level the gravel and your yard will go back to not only look tidy but also as new.

Keep in mind that gravel barely gets affected by rain, snow, or any adverse weather conditions. The rain might help in washing off some of the dust accumulated on the rocks but not efficiently cleaning them.

Some rocks even get algae and fungus on their surfaces which cause discoloration due to rain. Therefore to effectively clean out your rocks, use vinegar or bleach or a sifter or pressure washer with a push broom and soap.

In conclusion, using rocks within your yard is a low-maintenance option that is only required from time to time. However, this depends on the type of rocks you have.

Rocks have the advantage of coming in a variety of options for ground cover, as well as not attracting pests. It can also stand up to foot traffic while helping you with the drainage function. Not only will it save you money on an ongoing basis but also give your yard a beautiful aesthetic. 

Your investment of time to keep them clean will totally be worth it! Once in a while.