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Landscaping & Design/Rocks next to cement patio.



I am digging out some banana trees next to my cement patio. I noticed there is a couple of inches of river rock next to the cement. I was going to remove them because I am wanting to plant grass, but wondered if they are for drainage purposes? The dirt is heavy on the clay, and it does slant slightly towards the patio.

Am I ok to remove, or should I leave them and plant grass around?


Hard to say, from a distance.  The rocks could be there just for decoration, or to catch the runoff of the patio and into a french drain of some sort.  If you scrape them off and they are only an inch or two deep, then go ahead and replace them with grass - they are just for show.  If however they go down into the soil significantly (8 to 12 inches) or you hit a pipe when you remove them, then they are there for structural drainage.  So, you'll have to probe down a little to see what is underneath.

As to grass on top of a gravel drain, I have installed it like that, but the grass above the drain is constantly dry (imagine that!) and requires more frequent watering to look good.

Hope it helped. ~Marc

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Marc Chapelle, RLA


I am a licensed Landscape Architect. I can answer general questions about style and design, give you ideas and suggestions for site amenities, help with larger site-planning issues, or perhaps give guidance for recreational amenities & park design. IF YOU ARE GOING TO ASK FOR A PLANT SUGGESTION GO HERE: I prefer you ask somebody else why your petunias are not as perky as they should be; I'd LOVE to tell you how those petunias can increase your home's value!


20+ years of working with homeowners, contractors, developers and local civil engineering/architecture firms. I am located in the dry Great Basin area (Greater Nevada/Utah), so the use of landscape materials OTHER than plants is emphasized. As a licensed Landscape Architect I've worked on both the East and West Coasts.


BSLA in Landscape Architecture,Licensed in NV, CA, & VA - but can answer Q's across the country Many additional seminars, educational venues, and classes (both taught & attended)

Awards and Honors
Best Multifamily project, Reno/Sparks Builder's Association Best Model Home Landscaping, Reno/Sparks Builder's Association

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