A friend lives in a low-lying area near the Chesapeake Bay. She tells me that you just can't find any rocks, stones, or even pebbles in her soil, and it isn't because she's gardened carefully over the years. They just aren't there.
While I envy the lack of pesky stones in her garden soil, I feel sorry for her, in a way. Stones can really add character to a yard and even save you money in the long run while being kind to Mother Earth. For example, stonework can help with watering costs. The more stones you have as a conscious part of your yard and garden, the less you have to water it. It isn't just the desert these days that has problems with getting enough water; areas that historically suffered drought rarely are now finding that they need to curtail their water use.
This gorgeous yard has used stones and water-sipping perennials to wonderful effect. Note the whimsical roadrunner. Way to make lemonade out of lemons!
Even in areas where water is abundant, careful use of stones can be absolutely stunning. The driveway steps on this property fit into the design of the house so completely that one would never guess that they hadn't been there originally.
Note the use of boulders to edge the yard and further separate it from the driveway. Oddly enough, they make the yard distinctly different from the driveway, but the stones are similar and so they feel tied together. Judicious planting completes this picture and finishes the picture. Have you ever seen a better use of stone?
A place for quiet meditation can re-energize gardeners and visitors alike.
The creators of this garden obtained a special permit to gather stone from a nearby national forest, but you can also find a variety of stones in a good garden center. The log rounds function as stone here, as they will never need watering and will stay the same in all seasons. And look, see those lights around the edge of the circle? Not only have the gardeners used xeriscaping to cut down on the trouble and expense of watering, they also installed solar-powered lanterns to enable them to use this little haven at any time of the day or night. That isn't just smart it's green, even though it's gray!
It's true that stone isn't a renewable resource in that you can't make or easily catch more of it, as you can with mulch and sunpower. However, it's very kind to the planet to use it as part of your landscaping. It requires little to no upkeep you might have to weed around it, but that's it. No harmful chemicals are necessary to keep it looking beautiful. No extra water is used for it unless you put in a pond, but that's another matter. It doesn't emit anything harmful, and it's completely safe to be around. In addition, gardening with stone can create beauty, and the world can always use more of that.
Indeed, creating beauty is one of the most worthwhile activities possible. Giving peace and happiness back to the world gives us all a better spirit to do everything else. So be the first to cast those stones, but be sure you use them in harmony with all around them!