Need to Remove Rocks From Your Yard? This is What It Will Cost

Rocks on ground

Rocks are everywhere. You can find them in the streets, on sidewalks, and in your yard. In the latter case, most homeowners pick and use them to beautify the landscape in their homes. You can create a fire pit, focal point, pathway, and other landscaping ideas with rocks as your primary material.

However, most rocks look unsightly because of their sizes and shapes, which you don’t want in your garden. Plus, as rocks can also incur some problems and serious injuries, the ideal is to remove them.

The common tools used to remove rocks in the soil are a rototiller, garden rake, garden gloves, wheelbarrow, pointed shovel, and shifter. For boulders, you can rent skid steer loaders or “bobcats” to remove them from the soil.

The way to remove rocks depends on the sizes and types of rocks you’re dealing with. There’s a different approach if you want to remove small rocks from soil, gravel, and large boulders in your yard, for example.

In this article, we will tackle how to remove rocks in your backyard and what tools you need to do so. We will also give you creative ideas to recycle them and where to dispose of them if they aren’t needed.


Rock Removal Tools and Costs

Getting rid of rocks can be a daunting task, but with the right equipment, you can manage to do so easily. There’s a wide variety of hand and power tools that can easily remove small and large rocks from the soil. To remove rocks from your landscape, you need the following few tools:

  1. Rototiller – $25-50/day

A rototiller will help you loosen the soil and expose large rocks. It is also a handy tool for finding rocks in the soil. To use this, exert force and push it over the area where you want to remove stones. When you see a rock, stop and pick it up.

If you have a small garden, a cultivator will also work. You may rent a tiller and cultivator at your local hardware store. Rent prices vary from size to size and days of use.

  1. Garden Gloves – $5/pair

Garden gloves protect your hands from any wound and help prevent blisters while raking the rocks.

  1. Garden Rake – $15-30

Garden rakes help you gather gravel and small rocks together. Prices vary based on the size of the garden rake you need. Use this tool as you would do to gather leaves. You can use it with rocks and create a pile of it.

  1. Pointed shovel – less than $30

A pointed shovel helps you scoop the gathered gravel and small rocks. It is a particularly effective tool if you’re dealing with small rocks. A pointed shovel can also be used to dig medium-sized rubbles.

  1. Wheelbarrow – $40-120

Big and medium-sized rocks are heavy to carry, but a wheelbarrow will make the task easier. Indeed, a wheelbarrow helps you move rocks and boulders out of your yard. The price of a wheelbarrow depends on its capacity and brand. If you have a small garden and work on a steep area, you can use buckets when transporting the rocks.

  1. Soil Sifter – $20-40

Soil sifter helps you sift rocks out of the soil easily. You can make your soil sifter or purchase one at a local hardware shop.


If you want to improve the overall look and functionality of your garden or yard, you should consider landscaping. One thing that you should know about this process, though, is that it can be extremely pricy. Why is landscaping so expensive? Read our article to find out.


How to Remove Rocks

Rocks and gravel can beautify your backyard and add a visual appeal to the landscape design. Rocks can be found everywhere and provide benefits to the soil. Rocks that are near the surface of the soil also prevent erosion caused by the wind and rain. Besides, boulders provide support in keeping berms and hills in place.

However, it can cause safety issues when mowing the lawn, either by causing injuries if small rocks get thrown by the mower or damage some of your equipment. Rocks also block the roots of your plants from getting their nutrients, food, and water. Over time, rocks make your soil stiff and deprive your plants of a growing area.

Removing rocks in your yard can either be hard or easy. The difficulty varies from place to place. To be effective, you should do it the right way by planning and knowing the types of rocks you have and their quantity.

If you want to get rid of rocks in your backyard, you must use the method that is more suitable for you. Here are some ways to remove rocks base on their types:

  1. How to Remove Rocks from Soil

The tools you will need:

  • Rototiller
  • Garden rake
  • Pointed shovel
  • Gardening gloves
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Soil sifter


Removing rocks mixed with soil can be a heavy task to do compared to removing gravel, but with the right tools, it can be doable.

To start, break up the soil using a rototiller. As you till the soil, pick up the large rocks you see. Place the rocks into the wheelbarrow to move it more easily once you’re done tilling.

Rake the loosened to sift out smaller rocks. Gather the small rocks and gravel using a rake and scoop them into the wheelbarrow using your shovel. If there’s still a lot of gravels, use a regular leaf rake to pile them up.

If you use this method, you’ll need to attach the plow to the tractor, break up the topsoil, and then plow again to drag and gather the rocks. To remove rocks from the soil, use a sifter and spread the soil back to the ground.

  1. How to Remove Large Boulders from Your Yard

The tools you will need:

  • Garden rake
  • Pointed shovel
  • Gardening gloves
  • Wheelbarrow


Start digging around the large rocks using your shovel until you have fully uncovered all the rocks. Ensure that the soil surrounding is loosened so the rock will be easier to lift. Large rocks can be heavy and cause back pain, so consider having an assistant when picking them up. Put the rock in the wheelbarrow to efficiently transport them away from the area.

If large rocks are hard to pull off the ground, you can use a 6×6’ piece of wood as a fulcrum or a 4’ pry bar to push the rocks out.

If you’re too shy to ask for help, you may split the boulder into smaller pieces. In this way, you can carry small pieces into your wheelbarrow.

Small rocks are much easier to remove than large ones. Using heavy machinery, such as skid steer loaders or “bobcats,” is the faster way to remove those. You can rent this equipment online, at your local heavy vehicle rentals, or at Home Depot.

  1. How to Remove Gravel from Your Yard

The tools you will need:

  • Garden rake
  • Pointed shovel
  • Gardening gloves
  • Wheelbarrow

Gravels are the easiest rocks to remove from your yard. In some cases, gravel was placed based on a specific design or served a specific purpose in certain areas.

To get rid of gravel in your yard or the driveway, take your rake and pile up all the gravel. Using a shovel, scoop it up and shove it into the wheelbarrow or bucket. Repeat the process until all the gavel has been removed from the area.

Most homeowners use gravel as a part of their landscaping design and to lay down protective layers of landscaping fabric. This layer keeps the soil from getting compacted and makes gravel removal easy.

All you have to do is gather the edges of the landscaping fabric and collect the gravel up all in one go. This process depends on the total area covered by gravel. You can also do this in separate portions of the area.


Different Ways to Reuse Rocks for Backyard Projects

After gathering all the rocks, gravel, and boulders in your yard, what is the next step? You can either dispose of them or be creative and make them one of your landscaping materials.

Indeed, rocks and boulders can be versatile materials if you want to have a landscape makeover or upgrade the look of your yard. Instead of disposing of them, here are various ways to reuse rocks for your backyard projects:

  1. Create a Fire Pit

You can create a backyard fire pit by reusing the rocks and gravel you have collected.

  1. A Cornerstone in Herb and Vegetable Gardening

You can also add a design to your garden beds with the gathered rocks and small boulders. Rocks provide support and boundaries to your herbs and vegetable roots. It can be a great way to reuse them instead of disposing of them.

  1. Build a New Retaining Wall

Stones and boulders are the perfect ways to build a retaining wall to edge your garden and flower beds.

  1. Add a Garden Walkway

If you are landscaping in your yard, it is a great place to recycle rocks. A garden walkway made of gravel or stones is an inexpensive way to reuse the rocks you have previously collected in your yard.

A stepping stone path is another way to reuse the rocks you’ve gathered. It can keep your shoes clean when walking from back door to side door. To add more beauty to your hard, you can also add flat stepping stones around the small rocks.

  1. Create a Centerpiece

Large and unusual-shaped boulders can be an eye-catching focal point in your yard. Use a clean, low-maintenance centerpiece in your garden where plants and shrubs might become unruly and large.

  1. Take It to a Landscape Supplier

If the rocks you have gathered in your backyard are clean and in good shape, you can give them to a local landscaper or landscaping store. Although it is a great way to get rid of them, the feasibility of this solution depends on the quantity and quality of your rocks.

You can also create a sidewalk landscape using the gathered rocks. It can make the sidewalk attractive and pleasing to the eyes, especially if mixed with mulch and ornamental plants or grasses.

  1. Replace Mulch

Rocks make great groundcover, with mulch being replaced every season. The durability of rocks lasts a lifetime in your garden. Pale-colored stones provide a striking contrast with deep-colored foliage and brighten up shady areas of your landscape.

You can also surround your flower beds with medium-sized rocks, which will discourage weed growth around your existing plants.

  1. Use Rocks in French Drain

To resolve drainage issues in your yard, you can use the gathered rocks as you install a French drain. This can make an appealing drainage solution.

  1. Plant a Rock Garden

You can use the gathered rocks and boulders and add a rock garden to your landscape. Choose an area that receives plenty of sunlight, and install two or more small boulders. Surround the boulders with low-lying flowers, such as portulaca, ground orchids, or decorative cactus.

Carefully fill the spaces with smaller rocks that match the color of your installed boulders. Be creative and do your own rock garden based on your preferences.

  1. Stone Fence

If you have collected a large number of rocks and boulders from your yard, a mini stone fence is a great way to reuse them as it can add character to your yard and garden.

  1. Build a Pond Border

Another way to reuse large rocks and boulders is to make a pond border. With the right type of rocks, you can cover black pond liners and provide contrast with dark pond water. For a natural effect, use rocks and boulders of similar sizes but with different shapes and colors.


If you want to improve the overall appearance of your yard, you should consider landscaping. While this process typically costs a lot of money, there are some things that you can do to lessen your expenses. Read our article to find out how to cut down the cost of landscaping.



The methods and processes to get rid of the rocks from your yard may require a lot of effort and labor. However, it is easy to manage and understand. Using the right tools and methods, which produce the fastest results with less stress in your body and wallet, is the best way to get rid of the rocks in your backyard.

Depending on the rock concentration in the soil, rocks help regulate soil temperatures by absorbing daytime heat and releasing it at night. In places where soil drainage is a big problem, adding rocks can be a permanent and inexpensive solution.

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