If you are wondering how to remove rocks from yard, you don’t have to worry as it is a simple procedure most of the time.

Remove Rocks From Yard

It may seem like an overwhelming task and a tricky job, but what if we tell you we have expert tips and tricks do it most effectively, and some rock-recycling ideas, too?

Our expert comprehensive guide will take you through each step of removing rocks from lawn and share complete details about the various tools that you will need.

How To Remove Rocks From Yard

Removing rocks from yard needs the right set of tools and skills to achieve. First, take note of what kind of rocks you are trying to remove.

Observe if these are:

  1. Small rocks
  2. Medium-sized rocks
  3. Large boulders

We need to use different techniques in each case, and the following guide will take you through each step.

Before we start, here is a quick table of garden tools you will need for this project, as well as their uses and methods:

Garden Tools Usage Method
Rake Removes rocks, leaves and other material from the yard. It is usually used for removing leaves and can be used to remove small rocks as well.
Shovel Used for scoping small rocks or gravel. Pick up small rocks or even medium sized rocks using this tool.
Wheelbarrow Helps in carrying heavy things around or to transport soil. Use this for removing stones or rocks from the site.
Pick Breaks large rocks into small pieces. Use it to remove large rocks from soil. You can break down large stones with it and then remove the smaller parts easily.

– Remove Small Rocks From Yard

Remove Small Rocks From Yard

While laying out a plan for your yard and preparing for a new garden, small rocks can cause a major problem. Usually, these small rocks are on the surface and can be removed without much effort, unlike bigger rocks that need to be dug out.

To save time collecting small rocks from a big yard, you can make a sieve that can filter rocks from sand or gravel. The sieve can be made to fit a wheelbarrow and save time. Here is what you will need for this project:

  1. Staple gun
  2. Four 2×4 lumber pieces
  3. Four 1×4 lumber pieces
  4. Four 1.5 inch thick lumber strips
  5. Hardware fabric

Once you have gathered the supplies, follow this step-by-step guide to build your sieve and to get rid of rocks in yard.

  1. Measure your wheelbarrow for its dimensions.
  2. Take the 2×4 lumbers and cut them equal to the length of the wheelbarrow. Cut the remaining two lumbers 3 inches shorter than the width. 
  3. Create a frame by securing this with nails and screws at the ends of the board.
  4. Staple the hardware fabric on the sides of the boxed frame with screws or small nails that do not poke out from the other end.
  5. Once the sieve is ready, place it on the wheelbarrow.

The soil will have to be sieved through this method to separate the small rocks from the sand. It is important to remove these small stones because even though the grass may grow over the rocky soil of the yard, your lawnmower can be damaged by running over these small rocks. 

– Remove Medium and Large-sized Rocks From Yard

Removing medium and large-sized rocks from the soil could be a little bit more time-consuming than removing small rocks. If you use the right tools and techniques, however, it becomes much easier.

A rototiller can be used to do this job, and, alternatively, a rake can also be used. A rototiller is used to loosen the soil, which breaks up the dirt and makes it easy to find medium-sized rocks.

– Using a Rototiller

One has to pick them and carry them in a wheelbarrow to a different location. After rototilling the yard, a garden rake is used to move stones from soil and collect them in a pile. The collected rocks can be recycled through creative projects in the garden. Here are some tips that will help you do this more effectively:

  1. Begin slowly and push the rototiller gently into the soil to loosen it up.
  2. Pause in between to pick up the rocks as you progress.
  3. Collect the rocks in a wheelbarrow to make it easy to remove them. This way, you can distribute the task over several days as well.
  4. Use a garden rake to loosen the soil and to move smaller rocks.
  5. You can collect them on the ground and scoop them up to be shifted into the wheelbarrow using a shovel.

– Using a Tractor

Remove Landscape Rock Using a Tractor

You can also rent a tractor to remove landscape rock if you have a big property or yard. Plowing paired with a screen can help in separating rocks. Although renting a tractor or a plow can be very expensive in some cases, this method will need less manpower.

If you choose this option for removing medium-sized rocks, then here are some steps to follow:

  1. Attach the plow to the tractor.
  2. Loosen the soil using the proper setting.
  3. With the help of a plow, move the medium-sized rocks and collect them in a wheelbarrow.
  4. You can use a sifter to pick up the rocks later.

If you do not want to move whole rocks using the above methods, here are some more ideas for you:

Bigger rocks can be removed by first using a shovel to remove the surrounding soil. Once the rock is completely visible, remove it by yourself or ask someone to help you with it. Bigger rocks can be broken down too, which is one of the best way to remove rocks from yard.

– Use a Roll-off Dumpster

The dumpster can be rented easily to help you dispose of big or small rocks. These big dumpsters can carry 10 tons of weight and can remove rocks from the site in less time. It is a very efficient method if you have loads of rocks and only a few people to remove them. 

Make sure you order or book your dumpster for the time that is suitable for you to use it. Load material on it at your own pace, and when your task is done, you can return it.

Advantages Disadvantages
These can be rented for a long duration. The size of dumpsters may vary in your region.
It can be picked up and dropped off without your presence. It is suitable for large rocks.
These usually have low rental rates and saves time. Materials need to be loaded manually.

– Hire a Waste Removal Company

Hire a Waste Removal Company

If you do not have time to do this yourself, you can always hire a company that removes junk or waste to remove the collected rocks for you. The waste removal company will send someone to calculate the weight and volume of the rocks from your yard. 

They will suggest how much time it will require to do the task, and what will be the cost of it. Take note that the presence of large rocks means more labor will be used, which will make this venture expensive. That is why it is best to use this option for smaller rocks.

Advantages Disadvantages
Someone else will pick the rocks for you and you do not have to do the work. You have to be present at the site.
Price will vary depending on the waste that you have.
Can be costly if there are bigger rocks in the yard.

– Dispose of the Rocks Yourself

If you have a truck that can carry the rocks to a disposal site then this could work for you. However, this method does have some limitations.

If you do not have a truck you may have to rent it, which may be not easy to source. The disposal site could be far away, and it will take time to reach there unless you are already going in that direction to save time. On the other hand, you can do this at your own pace.

Advantages Limitations
This is a low-cost option. Fuel may be costly depending on the number of trips you make.
You can work at a suitable pace. Finding a site to dispose of the rocks can be tricky.
You will need to rent a truck for this.

– Give It Away for Free

It is an excellent idea to pile up medium to large-sized rocks where people can see them. You can even put up a sign to encourage people to take some for free. This can take away the load from your shoulders and help someone source free rocks for their gardens. However, if you have a yard that has rocks in an urban area, this could be a problem. 

We advise you to use websites to post about the availability of rocks in your yard so that people close to you can locate you and pick them up. This might work for small amounts of rocks.

Advantages Limitations
You can help others receive free materials. Pick up is not always guaranteed. 
This is a potential way of removing rocks with less effort. This method might not be useful in neighborhoods.

Use Rocks From the Yard

Rocks from the yard can be used creatively for gardening projects, as materials for crafts, landscaping or even donated. Some artists use pebbles to paint, some make jewelry out of smaller ones, and even gardeners create beautiful arrangements using pebbles.

On the other hand, there will be many other businesses, charities and individuals interested in getting free material for their projects. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

– Donate the Rocks 

Donate the Rocks for Charity

You can find a local charity that creates art and crafts goods for collecting donations for their work. It can be useful for them to get free materials to work with. Some NGOs run schools and gardens for their community, and pebbles, rocks, or even gravel can be useful for them. You can search for local networks to find suitable options. 

It is worth asking them if they can collect the rocks. Alternatively, you will have to drop it off. It can save time for you in both cases and help you avoid going to a long-distance drop-off site.

Besides NGOs and charities, you can also reach out to community schools, local parks, or even landscaping shops. If your rocks are good-looking, landscaping shops can definitely make use of them.

– Design Landscape With Rocks

You can always use the rocks for your landscape projects. Many things can be done with small, medium, or big rocks. Let us share some ideas for you to utilize rocks from your site.

– Create a Rock Garden

Rock gardens or gravel gardens are popular in Japan. It needs fewer plants, and all of its attractiveness is in the way the rocks are arranged. Look at inspiration from the internet and make use of the rocks you already have. 

The plants that are usually used for such projects are evergreens. Succulents also pair well if the rocks you have are yellowish. A sandy garden can adopt a desert garden theme. Big rocks can be placed creatively, and plants can be grown around them to highlight them.

– Make a Water Feature

Pebbles and rocks can be used to create water features or to upgrade an existing one. Rocks change color when water touches them, and it gives a very soothing look. It also looks very close to nature if your water features have rocks. 

– Create a Walkway

Gravel and small rocks can be arranged on a pathway to create a more natural-looking trail. Pair it with wood that is black in between to make walking easy. You can also add bigger rocks on the sides of it and combine them with low-height plants to create a natural look.

– Upgrade a Wall

Upgrade a Wall with Rocks

Rocks can be piled in the form of an old-fashioned wall or stuck on an existing wall to create a vintage look. Such walls are created in villages to make use of existing material and to save on costs. 

– Gravel Mulch

In some countries, it is common practice to use rock as mulch. A layer of small rocks helps prevent soil erosion. Sometimes, the rock mulch is used as a decorative element only as it looks attractive and is low maintenance. 

Some things to consider before you use rock mulch include:

  1. Rock mulches restrict plants from spreading. This can be useful in some cases. 
  2. This method alters soil acidity to alkalinity. 
  3. It is difficult to remove.
  4. This method increases soil temperature and increases the need for water for plants.

While bigger rocks can make a good border, using small rocks as a mulch might not be an ideal solution unless you are creating a rock garden. Rock gardens look beautiful if you know what to plant in them. Here is a list of plants that will suit your rock gardens and will love the rocky soil:

– Herbs

Herbs like rosemary, lavender, sage and catmint love growing in sandy soils. They look beautiful when they contrast with the colors and texture of the rocks underneath. These herbs also do not spread like a ground cover, which is why they adapt well to even rock mulches. The best thing is that they grow fast and fill up a space in no time.

– Succulents

Low-quality rocky soils can also host succulents and look beautiful. Aloe vera, copper spoon succulents, or any other local varieties that you have in your region can be creatively grown in your rock garden. They usually have stunning flowers and can invite pollinators besides looking eye-catching on seemingly barren spaces. 

Succulents need less water and grow easily without much care. They also grow slowly, which makes them ideal for spaces that are hard to work on.

– Grasses

Many ornamental types of grass can be grown in a rock garden. They need fewer nutrients and grow in poor soils as well. You might have to be mindful of the seeds that can spread and encourage grasses to grow all over the garden. 

– Trees

Trees like juniper grow well in rocky soil and are drought-tolerant too. Grow any local tree that fits the description. Some other trees for rocky gardens include:

  • Pine trees
  • Cider trees
  • Quaking aspens
  • Dwarf birch
  • Cherry Trees
  • Citrus Trees
  • Apricot trees
  • Jujube
  • Olive trees
  • Oaks

You can make use of the rocks removed from the yard in lots of creative ways. Making use of existing soil texture can have a high advantage for the gardeners. It is ideal to grow plants that are suitable to the native soil for best results.

Instead of making too many changes to the type of soil, try to work in favor of it and look for plants suitable to grow in your rocky yard.


Will a landscape rake remove large rocks from yard?

A landscape rake can remove some large rocks from a yard, but it depends on their size and weight.

What is the most efficient way to pick up boulders from yard?

Using heavy equipment such as a skid steer loader or excavator is the most efficient way to pick up boulders from a yard. However, if the boulders are smaller, a manual method like using a pry bar or rock bar may also work. Safety precautions should always be taken when handling heavy objects.

Can using a rototiller to remove small rocks damage the yard terrain?

A rototiller can potentially damage the yard terrain if the rocks are too small to be picked up by the machine. It’s best to remove them manually.


To remove rocks from soil you need some skills, specific tools, and more importantly, creativity. We discussed many options, solutions and ideas for doing this task, and here is a quick review:

  • The solution of removing rocks from the yard depends on the kind of rocks you need to remove. All kinds of rocks vary in size and appearance. 
  • Small rocks can be removed using hand tools and some other equipment, while medium rocks are removed manually and with machines.
  • Big rocks are usually removed by digging, lifting and transporting them away from the site. They can be broken into small pieces too.
  • Rocks from the yard can be donated, offered for free, or used in landscape projects.
  • There are many options of plants for rocky gardens and many options to remove the rocks from your property.

We discussed ideas to clear your yard is full of rocks and shared suggestions about the removal of rocks. We hope it helps you in making the right decision in successfully removing rocks from your garden.

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