15 Black Lava Rock Landscaping Ideas

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Black lava rock landscaping ideas are becoming increasingly popular. The decorative black rock adds a great contrast to the greens and other colorful plants and help them stand out.

This decorative rock adds texture and makes for a beautiful display. Lava rock can be found in large boulders, small pieces, or even crushed.

If you like the look of lava rock, you might want to consider it for your next landscape makeover. Or, toss in your flower garden when it’s time to add new mulch.

Is Black Lava Rock Good for Landscaping?

Black lava rocks can be a great addition to any beautiful landscape design.

You might be wondering if they’re actually suitable for that purpose.

There are many different uses for lava rock in your landscaping. The most common is probably in flower beds and around the base of trees.

Most people use lava rock much the same way they would use mulch. This is why it is also known as rock mulch. 

There are several factors that make lava rock a good option and some that you should consider as possible downsides. People seem to be split on the benefits; as it seems that lava rock used in landscaping is still being explored.

Lava rock is lightweight

Since it’s so lightweight, lava rock tends to stay above ground.

Unlike an alternative like pebbles or stones that are denser and tend to sink into the dirt over time. This, of course, wouldn’t be an issue if you’re using landscaping cloth underneath.

A downside to how lightweight lava rock is would be the possibility that it could easily be washed away by heavy rain or even possibly blow away in high winds. However, on the flip side, if you’re buying landscaping material by weight, you’ll end up getting more lava rock than any other type of rock for the same price.

If you’re having it delivered, that may cost less, because it isn’t as heavy as other rock. Lava rock generally costs anywhere from $80 to $240 per ton, or $50 to $180 per cubic yard. It depends the location and color.

Lava rock is porous

A porous stone in your flower bed or around trees could be advantageous. This is because the water its soaks up will be slowly released back into the surface beneath it.

In theory, this is good for keeping your plants hydrated and for soil drainage. The rocks absorb water in their air pockets and slowly release it over time.

If it’s not able to dry out quickly, lava rock has been known to grow moss over time. Therefore, if you plan to use black lava rock in mostly shaded areas, it may quickly become green lava rock.

I’m sure this varies depending on your climate. It still seems to be agreed upon. It is best to use lava rock in a place that gets plenty of sunlight. 

Lava rock protects against soil erosion

Rock in general will help prevent soil erosion from the elements, like rain and wind.

Over time, everything outdoors experiences some erosion naturally, no matter what you do to try to prevent it.

Lava rock will keep your soil where it should be for longer, while still allowing water through to the soil. It will also slow down the evaporation of water from the soil so it could reduce water needs.

Lava rock is low maintenance

Unlike mulch, lava rock does not disintegrate or decompose. That means you don’t need to freshen it up every year and you don’t have to replace it entirely for a very long time, possibly ever. 

The downside of that is that it may be difficult to remove if you decide to change it. Bark mulch is an organic compound that breaks down.

While lava rock is an organic compound, it doesn’t decompose. It also won’t improve the soil structure or add nutrients to the soil like mulch does as it breaks down. 

Lava rock as mulch is an effective weed preventative

Much like any type of mulch you use, if you’re installing a fabric weed barrier under the lava rock, you will enjoy little to no weeds making their way through.

That lends itself to the the low maintenance factor as well. 

Is Lava Rock Natural?

Lava rock is a natural product. It really does come from where all lava comes from, volcanos! Although it’s called lava rock, it’s not really lava. It’s created in a process that stems from the hot lava. It’s technically a volcanic rock. 

Most of the lava rock you find in the US is mined from ancient volcanos in the western part of the country. The lava rock at your local landscaping store is probably from Utah, New Mexico, California, or Colorado.

They are very old and the lava rocks you use for your landscaping could have come from a 20,000-year-old volcanic eruption, which is actually pretty neat.

Water Features with Black Lava Rock

Black lava rock seems to still be fairly new as a landscape rock. It’s a bold choice to use lava rock in general in your garden design, but an excellent choice if you want interesting patterns and textures in your space.

As a design concept, it’s easy to see how black lava rock’s dark color can add more of a visual appeal to your landscaping than some other materials.

The following water feature ideas use other black rocks, but you can use these ideas with different landscaping rocks and use lava rocks in their place. There are no strict rules to a landscaping project other than bringing out the natural beauty in the materials.

Succulent garden fountain

This centerpiece garden fountain would look great with black lava rock instead of river stone, or even having the two mixed together. You can even use a combination or larger rocks and smaller rocks to create a unique look.

DIY water fountain

This water fountain feature near a front entrance is a beautiful focal point. Filling the base of this DIY water fountain with black lava rock would make the water feature stand out even more.

Japanese garden fountain

This natural rock fountain is a beautiful addition to an outdoor space. You could recreate this space with lava rock to make it more affordable and to have more contrast in colors.

Rock garden fountain

This water feature has a stream and a mixture of elements. Lava rock would be a great addition to or replacement for. The use of rocks in a variety of sizes really gives this a natural look.

Black Lava Rock as Ground Cover

In those areas where you either can’t or don’t want to grow grass, lava rock can be used to cover large areas of the ground. It’s durable, affordable and one of the best ways to cover the ground.

Lava rock is good for preventing weeds and erosion. This makes a great option for hillsides or any difficult-to-maintain areas on your property. Not to mention, it’s unique and adds a nice aesthetic to your outdoor space. 

Covering hillsides

This landscaping with black lava rock helps cover a small decline in the yard. Without it, the grass would be difficult to maintain.  Black lava rock is a great choice for an area like this where a lot of rock is needed.

Walking path

You can also use black lava rock to fill in around stepping stones. This helps keep the growth of unwanted grass and weeds in those areas down.

Again, the contrasting colors helps highlight the pavers that make the walkway.

Landscaping trees

Using black lava rock around the base of trees instead of mulch is also a popular idea. This landscaper used a mix of lava rock colors for a unique design. 

Flowerbed ground cover

A garden bed is the perfect place to get creative with using lava rock in your landscaping design. The sort of yin and yang look in this small garden area is gorgeous. The contrast of the white stones with the black lava rock is unique.

Unique yard designs

There is no end to creativity with rock garden ideas. Look at this awesome design made into this yard. The lava rock is not only visually interesting, it also reduces maintenance on their yard. And, it is probably a great talking point when company comes over).

More Black Lava Rock Landscaping Ideas

Red lava rock is also a great option for landscaping and seems to be a little more commonly used. You can get lava rock in a variety of colors like reddish-brown, black, gray, or a mix.

Raised flower bed

This raised flower bed at the house’s entrance gives a striking look to an otherwise normal flower bed. The black rock looks great against the grey retaining wall.

Highlighting greenery

This flowerbed of all greenery pops with the contrast of the black lava rock. Even in a space that doesn’t seem to get very much sunlight, it looks beautiful. 

Lined fire pit space

The black lava rock, below, used to outline the stone patio serves as ground covering. It is a really unique way to make the design stand out. 

Red Lava Rock Landscaping Ideas 

Stone and lava rock flower landscaping

It’s a popular concept to mix different types and different colors of stone. The contrast of the two types of stone in this landscaping design makes it a really interesting and low-maintenance space. 

More mixed stone

This flower bed and stepping stone area fit well together while still being separated. For low maintenance, you can cover any ground that could be grass with decorative stone.

Lava rock and other stone mixes like river rocks, pea gravel, and other natural stone options are low maintenance.

Layered with mulch

Layering mulch with a line of lava rock is a good way to keep your bark mulch in place.

Mulch tends to slowly spread as it is exposed to the elements and starts to settle. The addition of the rock border also adds a little dimension to the design.

Black lava rock landscaping ideas are endless. All you need is a little creativity to transform an empty space in your yard to a beautiful focal point.

The addition, black lava rock can increase the value of your property, reduce weed growth, and assist with good drainage.

You don’t need to be a professional landscape or hire expensive landscape designers. Just use these creative ideas to get you started.

You can start small by adding lava rock around a palm tree, creating a zen garden in a small space, or lining a small pond.

Have fun getting creative!

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

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30 Cheap Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget

8 Amazing Benefits of Walking Barefoot

Black Lava Rock Landscaping Ideas