Calculate Exactly How Much Landscaping Stone You Need (No Overspending!)

Calculate Exactly How Much Landscaping Stone You Need (No Overspending!)

Landscaping stones are a versatile and durable option for enhancing the aesthetic appeal and functionality of outdoor spaces. Whether for creating inviting pathways, elegant patios, or serene garden borders, the right amount of stone can transform your property. However, calculating the exact amount of landscaping stone needed can be daunting. This guide, brought to you by Nasim Landscape, aims to simplify the process. We’ll share insights to ensure you purchase just the right quantity for your project, avoiding waste and unexpected costs.

Deep Dive into Landscaping Stone Types

Before embarking on your landscaping project, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the diverse range of landscaping stones available. Each type of stone possesses unique characteristics, serving specific purposes and offering a myriad of shapes and sizes. These factors significantly influence the quantity of stones you’ll require. Some of the most commonly used landscaping stones include:

1. Pea Gravel:

Pea gravel is a popular choice due to its versatility and affordability. Composed of small, rounded stones, typically ranging from 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch in diameter, pea gravel is ideal for pathways, driveways, and ground cover. Its smooth surface provides a comfortable walking surface and helps suppress weed growth.

2. River Rocks:

River rocks, also known as natural stones, are sourced from riverbeds and possess a smooth, water-worn appearance. These stones are larger in size, generally ranging from 1 inch to 6 inches in diameter. River rocks add a natural and rustic touch to landscaping projects and are commonly used for dry creek beds, retaining walls, and borders.

3. Crushed Stone:

Crushed stone, as the name suggests, is produced by mechanically crushing larger rocks into smaller, angular pieces. It’s available in a range of sizes, from fine screenings to coarse aggregates. Crushed stone is commonly used as a base material for driveways, patios, and walkways, providing a solid and stable foundation.

4. Decorative Rocks:

Decorative rocks, such as lava rocks and marble chips, offer a unique and visually appealing element to landscaping designs. Lava rocks, with their distinct reddish-black hue and porous texture, are often used in contemporary and modern landscapes. On the other hand, marble chips, known for their polished appearance and wide array of colors, add elegance and sophistication to garden beds and borders.

Selecting the right type of landscaping stone is a crucial step in realizing your landscaping vision. By carefully considering the purpose, shape, size, and aesthetics of the stones, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that enhances the curb appeal of your property.

Step 1: Define Your Project Area

Accurately Measuring Your Landscaping Area for Stone Coverage:

Before you embark on your landscaping project, it’s crucial to identify and measure the specific area where you plan to lay down landscaping stone. This step is fundamental as it will serve as the basis for all subsequent calculations and material estimations.

Start by measuring the length and width of the space in feet. Make sure to include any curves or irregular edges, as they will need to be accounted for as well. If you’re dealing with an irregularly shaped area, don’t worry about getting exact measurements. Instead, try to approximate the dimensions to the nearest square foot.

Here’s why accurate measurements are so important:

  1. Precise Calculations: By having accurate measurements, you can calculate the exact amount of landscaping stone you need. This eliminates the risk of over- or under-buying, saving you both time and money.
  2. Efficient Material Usage: Accurate measurements help you optimize the layout of the stones, minimizing wastage and ensuring that you have just the right amount of material.
  3. Visual Consistency: When your measurements are accurate, you can maintain a consistent pattern or design throughout the entire landscaped area, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.

Remember, it’s better to spend a little more time measuring and calculating accurately at the beginning than to face potential issues and adjustments later on. So, grab a measuring tape, take your time, and get those measurements right!

Step 2: Determine the Desired Depth

The depth of stone required for a project varies significantly based on its intended use and desired outcome. Here are some general guidelines and considerations:

Pathways and Patios: For areas that experience regular foot traffic, such as pathways and patios, a depth of 2-3 inches is typically recommended. This depth provides a stable base for the stones, helps prevent shifting or sinking, and effectively suppresses weed growth. The larger stone size helps to create a more robust and durable surface.

Driveways and Parking Areas: In areas where vehicles will be driving or parking, such as driveways and parking lots, a greater depth of stone is necessary. A depth of 4-6 inches is commonly used to ensure proper support and stability for vehicles. This added depth helps distribute the weight more evenly, reducing the risk of cracking or shifting over time.

Decorative Areas: For decorative areas, such as garden beds or landscaping features, the required depth of stone can vary based on the desired effect. If you’re using larger stones or creating a more natural look, a depth of 1-2 inches may be sufficient. This allows the stones to settle into the soil and create a cohesive, seamless appearance.

It’s important to determine the depth of stone early in your planning process, as it can impact other aspects of the project, such as excavation, materials needed, and overall budget. By considering the intended use and desired outcome, you can choose the appropriate depth of stone to ensure a successful and visually appealing result.

Step 3: Calculate the Volume Needed

Calculating the volume of stone needed for your project is a simple process once you have determined the area you want to cover and the desired depth of the stone. The formula to use is:

Volume = Area (in square feet) × Depth (in inches) / 12

Here, the depth is converted from inches to feet by dividing it by 12, ensuring that the units for area and depth are consistent. As a result, the final volume will be in cubic feet.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you calculate the volume of stone needed:

Step 1: Determine the Area

Measure the length and width of the area where you want to install the stone. Multiply these two measurements to get the area in square feet. For example, if the area is 10 feet long and 8 feet wide, the area would be 10 x 8 = 80 square feet.

Step 2: Decide on the Depth

Choose the desired depth of the stone. This can vary depending on the type of project and the look you want to achieve. Common depths for stone installations include 2 inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches.

Step 3: Calculate the Volume

Plug the area measurement and the chosen depth into the formula:

Volume = Area (in square feet) × Depth (in inches) / 12

For example, if the area is 80 square feet and the depth is 4 inches:

  • Volume = 80 square feet x 4 inches / 12
  • Volume = 320 cubic feet

This means you will need 320 cubic feet of stone to cover the desired area to the specified depth. Remember to double-check your measurements and calculations to ensure accuracy. It’s also advisable to add a little extra stone to account for any potential wastage during the installation process.

Step 4: Consider Stone Coverage

The coverage area of different types of stones can vary significantly due to variations in their size and shape. Stone suppliers often provide coverage estimates to assist customers in determining the quantity of stones required for their projects. These estimates are typically expressed in terms of cubic feet per ton or square footage per cubic yard. By utilizing these estimates, you can convert the volume of stones needed for your project into actual quantities that you can order.

For instance, if you are planning to cover a patio area of 100 square feet and the supplier provides a coverage estimate of 80 square feet per cubic yard, you can calculate the required volume of stones as follows:

  • Volume of stones needed = Area to be covered / Coverage estimate
  • Volume of stones needed = 100 square feet / 80 square feet per cubic yard
  • Volume of stones needed = 1.25 cubic yards

Based on this calculation, you would need approximately 1.25 cubic yards of stones to cover your patio area. It’s important to note that these coverage estimates are approximate and can vary depending on the specific characteristics of the stones and the installation method used.

When seeking coverage estimates from suppliers, it’s advisable to inquire about the specific type and size of stones included in the estimate. Additionally, consider factors such as the thickness of the stone layer and any potential gaps or spaces between the stones that may affect the overall coverage area.

By carefully considering the coverage estimates provided by stone suppliers and taking into account the specific requirements of your project, you can ensure that you order the appropriate quantity of stones, minimizing both overages and shortages.

Step 5: Account for Compaction and Settling

Over time, landscaping stones are prone to settling, with some types experiencing greater compaction compared to others. To address this, it’s advisable to incorporate an additional 10-20% to your calculated volume. This buffer serves as a safeguard against potential shortages during the installation process or any future maintenance requirements.

By accounting for settling, you ensure that you have sufficient stones at hand to complete your project without any hiccups. It’s a wise and proactive measure that saves you from the inconvenience and hassle of having to procure additional stones later on.

So, when determining the quantity of landscaping stones you need, consider adding the extra 10-20% to your calculations. It’s a small adjustment that can make a significant difference in ensuring the success and longevity of your landscaping project.

Conversion and Purchasing Tips

Conversion to Tons or Cubic Yards:

Landscaping stone is often sold by the ton or cubic yard. You may need to convert your volume from cubic feet to these units, using standard conversion factors (1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet, and 1 ton varies by stone type but is roughly 2000 pounds).

Consult with Suppliers:

Share your calculations with your supplier. Experienced professionals, like those at Nasim Landscape, can offer valuable advice on adjustments for your specific stone choice or project nuances.

Order in Bulk:

Consider ordering a bit more than calculated to account for irregular shapes or unexpected adjustments. Bulk orders can also be more cost-effective and reduce the need for future purchases.

Why Choose Nasim Landscape for Your Stone Needs

At Nasim Landscape, we pride ourselves on not just our award-winning landscaping and irrigation management services but also on being a trusted partner in your landscaping projects. Since 1998, our family-owned and operated business has served the South Sound region, offering expert advice, high-quality materials, and personalized service.

Our extensive experience with both commercial and residential landscaping projects means we understand the nuances of planning and executing stone landscaping features. We’re here to help you calculate the exact amount of landscaping stone you need, ensuring your project’s success without unnecessary expense.


Calculating the exact amount of landscaping stone required for your project can initially seem complex, but by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can approach the task with confidence. Remember, the key to success lies in accurate measurements, understanding the properties of your chosen stone, and considering factors like depth and compaction.

Whether you’re embarking on a DIY project or planning a professional landscaping overhaul, Nasim Landscape is here to support you every step of the way. From selection to calculation to execution, rely on us to turn your outdoor space into a testament to beauty and precision.