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How to Prepare the Ground for Laying a Rock Bed

A rock bed can make an otherwise plain area of your yard interesting and attractive. Building a creek rock bed is a good way to drain water from an area that's naturally soggy too. Like every successful project, a good foundation is essential. It's the same with a rock bed. Before the actual construction can take place, you must make the ground ready. It will take some time, elbow grease, and a few tools and materials.

Things You'll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Landscaping Fabric
  • Garden Staples
  • Shovel
  • Pick
  • Rake
  • Turf-Marking Paint

Determine the layout of the rock bed. Keep in mind that curves or slopes, for example, will make the finished bed look more interesting than simply straight lines or a circle. Mark it out with turf-marking paint.

Use a shovel (and possibly a pick if the ground is hard or rocky) to remove the sod from inside the marked area. Remove the soil. If you're digging to make a creek rock bed, a good rule of thumb to follow is, make it half as deep as it is wide. That means, a bed that's 6 feet wide should be 3 feet deep. Pile the soil along the sides of the bed to make the sides higher. When you're done digging, tamp the soil down with the back of the shovel.

Rake the ground of the rock bed to remove rocks, sticks and other debris. Then, lay down landscaping fabric to keep grass and weeds from growing. Basically, you roll the fabric out to cover the entire area. Stretch it out so it's flat and wrinkle-free before you cut the excess off.

Anchor down the landscaping fabric with garden staples. Stick the staples through the fabric along the edges of the rock bed approximately every 5 feet. Push the staples all the way into the ground. The ground is now prepared and ready to add rocks.


Using turf-marking paint, as opposed to common spray paint, is a better choice. It won't damage the grass or hurt the roots.

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