Sounds kind of stupid right…Shopping for Rocks?
Let me explain…my wife and I decided that it was time to add a stone patio over the giant dust bowl that has become the area right outside the backdoor of our house.
Current dust bowl backyard
Proposed new stone patio
For some reason I have serious reservations about buying rocks. I grew up on a farm in the middle of a desert that was filled with rocks. If I wanted, I could walk outside, pick up a rock and keep it. I don’t ever remember my dad sitting me down and saying “Son, when you get older, you are going to be in need of a stone patio and you will have to pay for rocks”. Yeah, don’t remember that one, but here I am. So, I did a little google search and found the closest stone yard for us to go check out the goods.
For some reason stone distributors are all huddled together in the same part of town (kind of like strip clubs usually are)…and in Dallas, the stone yards and the strip clubs are huddled together. So if you’re ever out shopping for stone you know that there’s probably a cheap buffet nearby (don’t buy the drinks, that’s where they make all of their money).
Check out that awesome pile of rocks
Here is a couple of things that I learned on my field trip.
- There are 4 basic types of stone…
Ledge Stone (long thin and randomly shaped)
Fieldstone (random shapes and sizes)
Chopped Stone (rectangular random sizes)
Flagstone (flat and irregular, mainly used for walkways and patios)
- Everything is measured and sold by the ton (much to contrary belief, they don’t sell gravel by the pebble).
- Stone costs vary considerably…at the place I visited they had stone from $100 a ton to $890 a ton. I’m sure these prices will vary by region as well. If you live next door to a quarry I am sure you’ll find it cheaper. If you live in a quarry then you probably don’t need a stone patio to begin with.
- Flagstone comes in 2 thicknesses, thin at 1 ½” and thick at 2” – 2-1/2”. Thin stone is typically more expensive per ton because it is more costly to remove from the quarry (or so the guy trying to up-sell said) however it weighs less than thicker stone resulting in more surface area per ton.
- Thin stone typically yields about 100-150 sq ft per ton and thick stone covers 70-100 sq ft per ton. Your local supplier will have more specific estimates based on the stone.
Have you ever wanted your own boulder? I found out that this place sells boulders too!
This picture doesn’t really do these rocks justice….most of them are around 3′ wide and some are up to 6′ wide. And if you’ve ever wanted to know how much a boulder costs, well, these stones start at $150 and go on up from there.
This trip was a great opportunity for me to see what stone products are locally available and it will help me make appropriate stone recommendations on future projects. I suggest you go check out your local stone yard.
If I would have known how much rocks sell for I would have started selling them when I was a kid. At hundreds of dollars per ton it depresses me to know that I use to literally throw dollars worth of rocks at my sister every day.