Where do you all get your rocks?

Karen in 4April 13, 2001

I am rock crazy. Just ask my husband. On a recent trip to Seattle he threatened to divorce me if I talked about all the rocks available there just one more time. (Little does he know I put about four potato-sized rocks from there in our luggage to bring home. I just about burst out laughing when he kept complaining about how heavy the suitcase was!)

So my question is, where do you all get your rocks for your rock gardens? I was lucky enough to have a small amount--maybe 10 pieces--of lovely fieldstone in my yard to get me started. But I want more, more, more! I live in the middle of Minneapolis, and I really am loathe to BUY rocks, but is that the best way? I did scrounge a few pieces from a park along the Mississippi River, but I was paranoid that (a) I was doing something ecologically evil, and (b) that the cops would pull up and give me a citation for removing property from a city park.

So what are your sources?

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Trusted places - roadworks sites - especially where they landscape with rocks under overpasses etc. Building sites - 'specially where new suburbs are being built. Where ever they're laying underground pipes - excavation rocks, sometimes a little shaley - depends how deep they hafta go. At any of these sites, there is always a few mountains of waste rubble if you're prepared to pic thru. Hilly country roads - amazing how many rocks roll down and just lay there for the picking, 'specially after a good rain. I hate driving on a trip - can't keep my eye out. Have fun.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2001 at 10:56AM
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I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of the So. Platte River (nr. Denver) and its greenbelt hiking paths. We started landscaping a brand new place 3 summers ago, doing rock gardens around the whole property. And walking along the river banks affords us a fantastic opportunity to collect gorgeous river rock (water-worn rocks of just about any size you might want, from little pebbles to huge boulders). My usual Saturday/Sunday morning routine is a sunrise walk somewhere along the river to pile up a few rocks that we go back later and pick up in the van. Forces me to get out and exercise a little too.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2001 at 2:30PM
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I agree with your comment about BUYING rocks, but you might want to consider it for just a couple of really spectacular ones to use as a focal point in your garden. We did go out and pay a fortune (several hundred $$$) for 2 huge ones (about a half ton apiece) -- that were trucked in from Wyoming for us. They're beautiful Moss Rock boulders, covered with lichen and several kinds of mosses, and together they are real conversation pieces in our front yard landscaping. I wouldn't want to spend more money that way, but the ones we DID buy were worth it for the effect they create. And the river rock that we're collecting makes a perfect complement to the big boulders.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2001 at 2:52PM
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So when you go to construction sites and the like, are the rocks there basically free game, or is that considered stealing? (Mind you, I'm not ACCUSING you of anything--I just don't want to get in trouble.) For instance, I was scavenging some bricks from a construction site once, and when I went back the next day the site was all taped off. I wonder if that happened because of what I was doing.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2001 at 6:13PM
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Hey, I think we all would like to see pics. If anyone has some, Let's see!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2001 at 11:59PM
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I am so psyched now! My dumpster-diving best friend found the PERFECT construction site from which to pilfer. It's in the middle of an urban neighborhood, where poking around a rock pile is the least of anyone's worries, it's right on the street for easy access, and it's LOADED with field stone of all sorts of sizes, from pebbles to boulders! I got a whole bunch of stuff and hope to get back before they close it off with a fence!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2001 at 6:09PM
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Wow, I wish all you people lived near me. We just bought 8 acres of ground in the woods and had a new home put in but the entire place is surrounded with rocks and boulders of all sizes. I would dearly love to give them away.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2001 at 8:22AM
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Don't overlook paying for rocks w/o checking it out. I refused to "buy rocks" for 14 years until recently I drove into a rock yard just to look. I ended up buying enough beautiful blue grey stone at 4 cents a pound to build a nice alpine rockery and make over my front yard.I regret I didn't do it years ago. I told this to a friend and he said they'd found a rock quarry outside of town and had bought rock at one cent a pound. Oh well...

Dont think about wasting money on rocks, think about the years of enjoyment you will have!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2001 at 4:08PM
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I have picked up rock from construction sites--from those piles laying around the site from the big hole that they dug for the foundation--I have always assumed that it was "garbage" and not stealing. I would never take actual brick or building materials, though.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2001 at 8:37PM
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Kentucky is also full of rocks. I am a geologist (of sorts), so I know where to collect what I need without paying a cent. My front yard garden uses rock extensively and my favorites come from mines, quarries or construction sites. Generally I try to pick out material without scratch marks (i.e. from a bulldozer). Most of the mine and quarry rock goes through a crusher or was blasted, but does not have scratches. Among my personal favorites are boulders that are covered with purple or deep metallic red crystals.
In MN and WI there are iron mines that can produce some spectacular banded rocks - but they are very heavy! Take advantage of any glacial boulders you can obtain. They can have a nice array of colors and textures. There are very few colors than rock cannot be found in, although some are difficult and or very expensive!
Unless you own a bulldozer and truck to haul focal point landscape boulders, your best bet is to either buy them or build up something with smaller stones. We have a company in Louisville that sells rock imported from around the country. If you live in a metropolitan area, check them out. Sand and gravel pits may produce a large amount of large cobbles or boulders. Look for limestone or sandstone quarries in your area, too. Keep your eyes peeled for slabs with fossils, too.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2001 at 9:35PM
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runt1970(z7a MD)

Got ours from a drainage ditch outside a local fire station. Just pulled over one day in the truck, went inside and asked for the Head Guy and asked if we could have 8 or 10. He said, "sure" and we just loaded 'em up.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2001 at 1:20PM
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We live on a farm of several hundred acres in *Stone County* Arkansas, if that gives you an idea. In fact, we have one field on our farm called the *rock field* My husband and I are getting ready to make a rock garden, and we use them to edge borders. We have lots of limestone, really flat ones perfect for flagstones, etc., and lots of fossils and whatnot. We also have several old rock walls on our property so I think we're going to borrow some of those and try to build a little rock wall around our garden. If you're ever passing through northern Arkansas, let me know. Seriously.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2001 at 1:08AM
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Thanks, everyone for all the good rock source suggestions. Believe me, if I'm ever in one of the areas like "Rock County" that some of you are blessed with, you'll be getting a call from me! :-)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2001 at 8:15AM
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Checking in here from Juneau, Alaska, where we sit among the mountains and on land where glaciers roamed. During the three years I have lived in my house, I have planted various bushes, perennials, and annuals, and have amassed piles and piles of stones from quarter size up to 20 pounders. In fact, in parts of my yard, digging with a shovel is impossible. I planted roses with a friend: he used the pitchfork to bring the rocks to the surface, and I took them out by hand. The roses, by the way, are flourishing in their "well-drained" (read that sandy, rocky) location. Anyway, this thread has heartened me. The rock piles were growing and I wasn't sure what to do with them. Now I can look on them as an asset rather than a liability and start scouting around for a rock garden site on my property. Thanks for the ideas.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2001 at 4:13PM
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cecile(z6 OR)

I mostly pay for rocks. WE ahve several rock yards nearby and when I am in the rock mood I will swing by weekly and pick up about a dozen basketball (and bigger) size rocks. I can get consistent look and the price is never a killer. I usually drive away with about 500 to 800 puonds and a cost of less than ten bucks. It can be pricey tho so do some price shopping. for straight rock walls I buy granite, for decorator spots I buy moss rock which cost 3 to 5 times as much.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2001 at 11:48AM
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wildbillgt(Z8 WA ST)

Im as bad as you folk! I live close to Mount St. Helens, and yes there is alot of volcanic rock all over the country side, I went up on some private land and found some boulders that where black lava rock that had been smoothed by water over time. they where down in a gulley so I had to set up a block and tackle, with cable line. I took my truck with its cargo rack, beefed up the rack with wood for support, connected it to the line and pulled the rocks up by block and tackle to the road, these rocks are three feet tall and four foot diameter!! I had made a ramp of wood to get them up in the truck, using a chain comelong I hoisted them up, my ramp almost gave away on the last one! Luckily I had a small crane waiting for me at home. All this talk is giving me the urge to head out again. :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2001 at 1:39AM
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I sure am glad I'm not the only rock-nut! I had the good fortune to have access to a gravel pit on our Sacramento River where I collected lots of water worn Serpentinite, Porphyry, granite, 3 5 to 10 lb cobbles of beautiful jaspers, and other wonderful rocks. I have calcite crystal, pyrite and olivine collected from the tailings from the local cement quarry, water sculpted limestone which became the backbone for my rock garden, lots of smaller stuff collected from all over, some I know,some I don't. The creeks next door have small blood red rocks and some fossils.
I do purchase rock occasionally, I bought some 'Mexican Pot Rock' which has natural cavities to plant succulents, pumice(feather-rock)for fountains, and limestone from the local quarries to build walls. Even that has fossilized coral in it.
But most is collected and hauled from all over! We are blessed with the convergence of three mountain ranges here in the north state, so there are lots of different things to find.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2001 at 4:25PM
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In our area, lots of people have old fallen down stone walls running through the woods on their properties. We get rocks from friends that have such a bounty. Also, there is an abandoned granite quarry nearby.

Rock nuts in Pennsylvannia should head over to Hickory Run state park, they have a neat 400 ft X 1800 ft boulder field. Just rocks, no plants! But please don't take them home!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2001 at 11:45AM
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Just remember...you are just relocating rocks.

That is what I tell all my friends.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2001 at 6:32PM
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When my husband and I moved from Boston to Maryland 12 years ago I had milk crates full of beautiful rocks I had collected mostly along the New England seacoast over a 20 year period. My husband looked at all my rocks, then me, and said,"I'm sorry I'm not moving rocks." I explained that these were really special rocks, from Maine and..and The White Mountains of New Hampshire> NO,he insisted that I would have to find "NEW ROCKS" in Maryland.
Well, I just took my rocks and hid them among other boxes. He did complain that some of the boxes were heavy.

He caught me. He was not happy but he forgave me.

We're still married.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 26, 2001 at 10:11PM
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Penny, that's hilarious. My husband would NEVER move rocks for me, either, especially since the ones I have are not special. I'd have to be very, very creative, indeed! Thanks for the laugh!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2001 at 8:20AM
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I can't help laughing! One solution, move to New England!!! Landlord had a guy come in with a backhoe to clear the new garden site! He hauled off tons of boulders! Now I'm digging the beds and pulling out rocks, rocks, and more rocks!!!!!! It's driving me nuts!!! I've been lineing the path with rocks, circling small plants and seeded spots with rocks, throwing rocks, dreaming of rocks!!!!! This is the reason New England is full of beautiful stone walls, they had to do something with the flippin' ROCKS!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2001 at 8:46PM
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fishies(Ottawa z4a or 5)

Definitely construction sites! A friend of mine is building a series of flagstone pathways through her backyard - flagstone being so gosh-darnit expensive we went to a construction site dump-ground (where they dump all the stuff after the construction is over), and pilfered pilfered pilfered. We've been going back for months now, and no one has stopped us. If the cops do stop by, just tell them you're part of the Rock Relocation Program. Chances are they'll be so busy laughing at you that you'll be able to make a clean getaway.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2001 at 11:05AM
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This posts rocks!!!!! (sorry had to be said)
Anyway i've managed to bring stones home from just about everywhere I've traveled, out've mountainsides in KY, OH & WV. From river beds in VA, SC & NC. Even brought small/ordinary rocks home from the Irish Sea & CZ Rep.
My uncle has a house in Utah, he brings back all sorts or beautiful rocks. Just recently we started obtaining rocks from construction sites. I do not believe it's illegal to take rocks that are going to be paved over but it's always best to ask permission first.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2001 at 4:09PM
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I'm Lucky Enough to Live here in Michigan Where the Farmers
Grow Potatoes!
In the Fall During Harvest time they Gather the Potatoes on a Conveyer Belt Which Bounces
The heavy rocks to the Bottom of a Vat.
When the Vat is Full they Empty it at the Side of the fields.
And Every Farmer I Have asked Always Has answered Help Yourself!
Music to My Ears!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2001 at 1:52AM
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This subject is too funny. Of course you would have to know that my husband and I bought ou house three years ago, and it was the last lot in the development. We now are the proud owner of 1.28 acres of rock that never stops popping up through the surface! The builders had evidently pushed all of the rock in the neighborhood to this sight,in extremely rocky Conowingo MD, covered it with a few inches of soil, and WHALA! sold it to us! It didn't look so bad BEFORE they started building... Anyway, I still wouldn't trade it for the world, we are just building the FINEST wall of rock you have ever seen, beautiful with the wooded area and my tiger lilies popping their cheery faces over it, stretching about 300 feet. It's my favorite part of the yard. And back breaking isn't even the word, both my husband and I are permanently hunched over!!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2001 at 1:25PM
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dayleann(z4 VT)

Another New Englander checking in. I laughed out loud when I read this post. We're building a rock garden on a slope along one side of the property with rocks we're digging out of the rest of the property. The slope is about 100 feet long and ten feet high. Does that give you an idea of what we're dealing with here? %^)

Dayle Ann

    Bookmark   July 12, 2001 at 10:40PM
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I really like the words...Rock Relocation Program....sure beats my Rustling rocks.

Got new tires on the truck this weekend and will go to large empty lots next to the freeway and look for trash dumped. It's amazing what people dump. I found large amounts of white tile some dumped along with their grout and cement litter. Got a lot of good tile.

I have found a secret location in Reno that some dumped a large amount of small pea gravel. That what I am going for this week.

Happy Relocating/rustling.....That is not stealing.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2001 at 4:07PM
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Living in the Seattle area I wonder if anyone knows where one can 'pick up' those rocks which have natural indentations which collect water. I just came from a rock store and they are charging $140 for one smallish one with a natural bowl. She called them 'dish rocks'.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2001 at 4:09PM
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Does anyone know any formulas for making featherock??

    Bookmark   August 24, 2001 at 11:09AM
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Firs off it's not illegal if your not caught. and second if you just go to a farm and ask they will have tons that they have collected allong the years usually along the side of there feild.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2001 at 6:36PM
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My next door neighbor's twenty-something son asked us if we'd take his. He has a retaining wall built with huge, flat slabs and would rather have railroad ties. Of course we said yes! Woo-hoo!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2001 at 10:45AM
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How refreshing to 'meet' so many fellow "Rock-Relocators" - (good one, Arline1938).
I carry a small hand pic in the car, just in case I see a pile of illegally dumped rubble on my travels.
Re: The contructions sites - the guys are usually more than happy for me to help clear away their rubbish - costs them nearly $30 a ton to dump!!! Maybe I should be charging THEM?! Hmmmmm.......

    Bookmark   August 28, 2001 at 10:18PM
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For those of you in the Seattle area, I lived there for a decade and can tell you of a few areas. For river rock go to the town of INDEX where it is free at the river.

For blue/green/grey quarry rock, go to the AAA Quarry in Monroe (west side of Monroe). See the yellow pages under Quarry and ask for directions. We bought a 1600 lb rock for $12.00.

For cobblestones, the next time you are out at the ocean, explore Rialto Beach (near La Push/Forks).

Wish I knew of a place near Boise where I've relocated.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2001 at 7:56PM
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Rocks! Rocks! Rocks!
If you guys are ever out this way you can have as many as you want. New Hampshire grows some really good rocks. I wish somebody would come take some.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2001 at 3:13PM
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I am looking for Mexican River Pebbles approximately 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" flat smooth and light coloured. I am in British Columbia Canada and would like to find a source for quantities of these?


    Bookmark   October 24, 2001 at 1:45AM
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I took several milk crates of your NH rocks, Suenh, didn't you read my post? Chuckle, chuckle.
I just love the rocks of NH and Maine has some awesome rocks along the coast.

Happy rock hunting!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2001 at 1:00PM
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Anybody out in CA, close to the Bay Area who wants to get rid of some rocks? I need 4-8" rocks and of course would preffer to help somebody dispose of them instead of buying them.
I am afraid that I am getting the "rock fever" also..:)


    Bookmark   November 7, 2001 at 12:01PM
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For you seriously rock crazy people who need a large quantity (read yards of rock): Check out a few of the excavating companies in your locale. Cruise new developments where preliminary grading is going on. More often than not, allot of rock/dirt is taken out and dumped in landfills or on other sites to boost grades. For the price of hiring an end dump (about $65-75/hr here in the Reno area) you can get quite a pile. Invite your friends! Have a party! Rent a skid steer!

There is allot of development going on in this area, and it's no joke when I say that there is more rock in the ground here than soil. (I laugh whenever a client asks when/if will we be rototilling the soil amendments into the ground in anticipation of their lawn; I stop and stare as if I am seeing a dinosauer whenever I see a TroyBuilt...)

In the last 3 years rockery walls (dry laid) have become the big landscaping rage/cliche in this area. OMG, if I see one more wall made by nothing but mechanical means, I will scream! In some instances, I cannot see why the building dept. permits them, as they are just stacking rock, and don't have much of a batter, backfill or good excavated footing. I don't want to see what I think will happen if we get a serious earthquake in this region. In some yards, the walls are over 12' high, and the backyards are less than 20' deep!
IMO, the only saving grace these ugly & ill constructed walls provide is that they have so many huge head-sized gaps, they are perfect for planting in, and in this town, I am making quite a rep on my "wall plantings" alone. Plants thrive in walls here, making a silk purse out of a you-know-what...

    Bookmark   November 11, 2001 at 2:01AM
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Texana(Zone 8b Austin)

I'm a rock nut too! Fortunately, I live in the Hill Country of Texas and we have got rocks - all sizes, shapes and colors. One of my favorite ways to spend a day is to go rock collecting at the low water bridges. When it's too cold to go water rock collecting, I go to area ranches that are subdividing. Rock heaven! My favorite vacation was out to Big Bend with a rock hound friend. I came home with a trunkload of rocks and cactus. I usually end up bringing home more rocks than I need and have to think up another project to use them. I found a place a few weeks ago that I can get flat limestone. At the bottom of the hill they are digging it up to sell to homebuilders and such. At the top of the hill they have done alot of digging and everything up there is free for the taking. As soon as it warms up, dries up and I can start working in the yard again, I am so there!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 11:10AM
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Dayle Ann I hear you. Living in Vermont to you can't dig a one foot sq hole without coming up with rocks. Just when you clear you ground of rocks for mowing more pop up after the snow melts. To bad rocks don't sell for a penny a pound we all be rich in Vermont. Would not live anywhere else rocks and all.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 10:05PM
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Wow! I'm amazed this thread is still going!
My grandmother used to bring home rocks from every trip she took to her LI, NY rock garden. She did have some neat ones.

Up in the woods just off my property is an old abandoned mica mine. The slag piles are huge. Lots of big nice white quartz with pretty glittery mica in them. I do hate to admit that one of these days I'm going up the hill and bringing a bunch back. Only thing that has stopped me is the road has grown back over. Not easy lugging rocks back on the hilly terrain. But it just occured to me I could use my daughters pony to pack a bunch out. I have a big draft horse and I know she won't fit through some of the brush but the pony would scoot into just about anything. She can't carry the load the draft horse can but she can carry more than me with a lot less trouble.
The rocks would be perfect for the rock gardens at the base of my driveway. The mica will reflect the headlights warning unfamiliar cars away from the beds.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2002 at 5:04PM
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eggy(z5-6 S.E. MI US)

What a relief! I thought I was losing my mind, I need some rocks for garden borders and everywhere I drive (and I drive a lot for work), I can't stop looking for rocks! It's nice to know that if I am going insane, at least I'm not the only one!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2002 at 11:28PM
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woodyswife(z5 OH)

Go to a quarry and you can buy any kind you need relatively cheap.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2002 at 12:49PM
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I've bought a couple of rocks that were way too big to carry (1000 lbs, light grey granite and 700 lbs, flat black slate.) Some were given to me by a neighbor down the street who he didn't want them. But most I collected - from construction sites, old fence rows and abandoned (or mostly abandoned) quarries. I keep a rock notebook, with a rock rating system to help me remember where I saw choicest specimens. This way I can go back and collect 'em when it's more convenient. My wife thinks I'm nuts but she still asks me to go find specific types for the garden (like flagstones.)

Best rock collecting stories - When we got the rocks from our neighbor, a couple were too big to lift. Neighbor lived 4 houses down the block, so I borrowed a red plastic sled from my kids and cut up a bunch old broom handles for rollers. We rolled the rock onto the sled which was on top of the broomstick pieces. We then played Egyptian pyramid slaves. My sons and their friend took the rollers as they came out from the back of the sled and ran them around in front again. It took ten minutes a rock to get them down to our yard.

Got some rocks from a rock dump in a middle of the field - Great lichen covered boulders. I could barely lift them. I took out the seats of our minivan and brought the wheelbarrow. Lunch time at work, I go out to the site and load up the minivan. After work on the way home I notice the van's riding a little low. Cost of rocks - two new rear struts.

Finally - Quarry rocks. There's a quarry I know of that has fossils. Mostly brachiopods, but also snails and rarely, a trilobite. The quarry is for road rock; the limestone is crushed into gravel. It isn't being actively quarried but still has gravel piles the quarry company uses. Decided to do a flagstone run. Got to the quarry early on a Sunday morning. The main entrance was chained, but I know of a farm access road that snakes it's way in from the side. Sneaking down the dirt road (in the minivan, again!) I realize that the ruts, which were bad before, are now two feet deep in places. My choice now is to continue on this steep, muddy road, trying to avoid slipping into the ruts or to back back up this steep, muddy road on which I've come. Visions of explaining to a farmer and tow truck driver and wife how I got the van hung up made me choose backing back up.

I made it so I drive back to the entrance of the quarry and figure I'll have to schlep anything I find to the van. Looking at the chain across the entrance, I realize it's NOT LOCKED! Drop the chain, drive in, find and load my rocks, put the chain back up and I'm on my way home!

So, Karen, the rocks are there if you look for them. You're in the middle of glaciated country, too and there's plenty of building going on around you. Look for construction sites and quarries and you should find lots of pretty rocks to take home.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2002 at 11:47AM
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deusse(Z7 Brooklyn)

"I have a rock garden. Last week, three of them died."

wish i could remember who said that.
anyone know a quarry near NYC?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2002 at 5:45PM
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wolfgang(z8 Texas)

I live in the beautiful South Texas Hill Country. Rocks galore. We just have to start digging and we find great big rocks. We get rocks with crystals, rocks with holes, grey rocks, rocks with red streaks. I too am a rock lover. People bring me rocks from different countries when they travel. I have incorporated them into my cactus and succulent collection.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2002 at 11:35AM
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>I have a rock garden. Last week three of them died.

*Some people get real attached to their rocks, I know I do.

i'm sorry~

    Bookmark   April 4, 2002 at 10:04PM
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I have read all the strings to th orginal post... I can relate to all those that live in rock or stone fields. I too live in a river rock zone. We have removed a few tons in the last 3 years. I am sure we have more to get out, beings that ours are special, they multiply like rabbits at night. My husband is having a fit, I want to BUY some pretty rocks... ours are ugly IMO. So, next time you come to WA state, take the 150 mile drive to Yakima & I will fILL your suitcases for FREE. Then I can go buy my "special pretty" rocks. LOLOLOLOL

PS -- have you ever seen the Lucy & Desi movie, The Long Long Trailor? Talk about a rock nut!!!LOLOL

    Bookmark   April 14, 2002 at 1:07PM
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Where else? "The Rock Man". Yeah, costs me a little coin, but for the big ones, that's a must. I let them load them in the truck, then I drop them out, and flip them into position.

Also, pallet loads that come out of Kentucky are usually not a bad buy at 65 bucks a pallet.

Currently, I am building a water course, and have lots of rock planned for this project. This started as a pond idea with flowing water down to the pond, but I am about to back out of that due to liability. Instead I am going to fill the water basin with rock where the pump is, and then the only water exposed will be the stream like area.

So far, I am at 50.00 invested, in addition to a couple of pallet loads of stacking stone I already had. I expect to go to 200 invested, then start looking for soms smaller rocks for free I hope. In the hills of TN, there should be plenty laying around. :)

Sorry, I had to laugh at the person with a rock rating system! Come on, get a life, lol.

Oh, here's a picture of my 50.00 of rocks:



The 50.00 does not include the upper walls:)


    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 2:35PM
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gigi_70056(z9 louisiana)

oh man i can't believe you guys pay 1 cent to 4 cent a pound... i have to pay 20-25 cents a pound.. and it does add up... but it is worth it...in louisiana it is a fine up to $200.00 for doing the relocation gig... so i would rather put my $200.00 into some beauitful hand picked prizes of rock that call out to me to take them home....lol...gigi

    Bookmark   May 17, 2002 at 4:46AM
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Karen_in_4(Mpls 4)


Is that because New Orleans is so swampy and low-lying and rocks are not exactly common? I was deeply amused during a visit there in December to learn that the highest spot in the city is a rock pile built at the New Orleans zoo--and built specifically so that the kids in the city could have a "mountain" to climb. Heck, worked for us--my son loved it, and I did too!

We're contemplating a move to West Virginia if I get a teaching job there, and I'm loathe to think of leaving my rock babies. But I guess I can only assume that the mountain state would have rocks! :-)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2002 at 7:57AM
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juniorballoon(Z8a WA)

Sorry to be such a wet blanket, but it sounds like many of you are stealing. It's one thing to get them from neighbors, or construction sites where you've asked, but to drive into a quarry through the back way when it's closed is stealing. Taking rock from along public water ways is also stealing. They may look nicer than the ones you get honestly at the construction site, but that is the reason they cost money at the rock yard.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2002 at 2:33PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

When I was a lad back in the 30's & 40's my dad would collect rocks from the roadsides and it was my brother's and my job to unload the trunk and carry them up the hill to where he wanted them.

We built our house in the early 60's and by the side of the creek about a half mile away was a humungous rock 3 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft. We talked our plumber to use his backhoe to bring it over to our yard. I had a hole dug for it, but in the excitement and worrying about our young boys and the neighbor's boys, it was planted upended and I had to maneuver it so it was horizontal.

Thirty years ago I decided to build a rock wall. there was another creek directly across from us that supplied most of the rocks. This was after a disastrous flood that hit our area and a house with a stone foundation was destroyed. That was a wonderful source of rocks. I also located an old stone wall and paid to have them trucked. All my other rocks have been unearthed while digging planting holes. One huge flat slab was next to the garage foundation and it made a beautiful stone above my small pond.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 7:58AM
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To Junior Balloon - You're right that taking from active quarries is stealing. I don't think about it much at the one I go to because it is a gravel producing limestone quarry. The rock is blasted from the walls and then run through a crusher to produce limestone gravel for construction use. The rocks I take are from the overburden pile. This has the uppermost layer of rocks which are weathered and do not meet the criteria for gravel. I don't think the quarry operators care if I take some this stone as it is the stuff they would leave anyway.

The obvious question is, Why don't I ask the owners for permission? Because they can't give it for safety and insurance reasons. The property is posted and states that no one is allowed on the premises unless they have completed a specific OSHA safety course. This is a good idea. Quarries are extremely dangerous places even when they are not in active use. The walls are usually unstable and can drop rock pieces for no apparent reason. The best bet is to stay out of quarries unless you are with a trained quarry person.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 12:37PM
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microfarmer(z9 Sac-o-tomato)

Where did I get mine? Construction sites mostly and some side of the road finds for a couple special looking rocks. I am blessed to live close (3 miles) to great river rocks from left over dredge tailings of the gold rush. Also there is a LOT of construction here so just up the hill from me (about 10 miles) they are digging housing pads outta the side of the hills and paying to get rid of rocks. Then they pay to bring in manufactured stone for the gate posts (gated community)...go figure...

I just stay away from the building materials so no one thinks I'm stealing.

Here's my backyard...


    Bookmark   June 15, 2002 at 12:42PM
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Thanks for your posts. I have really enjoyed reading all of them. Especially the lady that sneaked the rocks into her stuff when she moved. That was a hoot.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2002 at 11:05PM
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sbeuerlein(zone 6)

I estimate that in my rock walls and rock gardens I have amassed about thirty tons of rock, all gathered at construction sites or along the freeway cuts. Killed one Toyota pick-up and have about half killed my GMC. I consider this activity an indication of some type of mental illness, especially in that I find myself doing it half the time in winter rain and snow. Can't do much with plants then, so I start doing stuff with rocks. I always thought it was my Catholic guilt that makes me paranoid everytime I collect, but it seems that others on these pages feel it too. Rationally, I know that the rocks that come from foundation holes are of no value to anyone (but me) and that construction people are probably glad to have them out of their way, but still I find myself collecting them only on weekends or evenings. I don't know what the law says about stopping along the freeways to collect the rocks that fall from the cuts, but I haven't been cuffed yet. But then again, I work fast and get the hell out of there, so who knows?


    Bookmark   June 29, 2002 at 12:13AM
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Karen - I collect rocks as vacation souvenirs too - I brought a hunk of nice Canadian Shield feldspar back in my duffle from a fly-in fishing trip, thought we'd never lift off the lake because of me... I could just visualize the headlines when they salvaged the plane: Poacher Attempts Escape, Loses Rock, Life ...

Out here in Eagan every shovel I turn is like the rock lottery. Layers of clay alternate with rocky layers of sand, I think it was streambed at one time. I have piles of I rocks I've dug in our yard while landscaping, saved so as to maintain the kharma. I use them around the pond and yard.

But I look for good construction projects, road work etc - there's lots of it in Dakota Cty - and ask the foreman if anyone cares if I take any. Bringing a sack of Chips Ahoy doesn't hurt either. Got some great finds by driving around, though I have bought one or two that called to me...


    Bookmark   June 29, 2002 at 9:41AM
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Karen_in_4(Mpls 4)

It's too funny that this post is still going! I love it how half of us are keeping an eye to the road, searching for rocks for the easy taking whenever we drive, and the other have are utterly SICK of the rocks that infest the ground.

I've unfortunately not been able to incorporate the many rocks I have lining the inside of one side of my garage this summer. Two children under age 3 and rheumatoid arthritis have hampered my efforts! Damn! My husband GLARES at me every time he walks by the garage wall of rocks since I PROMISED him last fall I would move them all out of there come spring.

The link below will be updated (it's really filled in!) as soon as I can get my upload program to work again. Grr.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of how some of my rocks are incorporated -- much in progress

    Bookmark   July 1, 2002 at 10:00AM
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Awww, man! You mean there are actually others out there just like ME?? LOL I loved the story of moving the rocks smuggled into boxes. My DH, bless his soul, will move (or try to!) any rock that I want! How many of you have tons of photos of interesting rocks? I do that, too! LOL

Interesting post - now I need to be outside cleaning on my own yard (and trying to decide where I want to relocate rocks!)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2002 at 2:41PM
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I loved reading about all the rock collectors. I'm not sure I'd want to get caught collecting rocks out of a quarry. Seems too much like their primary product!!

I want to know how to move heavy rocks. I saw the terms block and tackle in a post and have researched the web and found one good example. Can canyone give me ideas on how to pull rocks out of a creek without killing myself in the process?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2002 at 1:56AM
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sbeuerlein(zone 6)

Know any Egyptians?


    Bookmark   September 10, 2002 at 8:55AM
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I just joined Garden Web and I too am a rock nut! I have destroyed a child's red wagon and the passenger side of my station wagon by bringing boulders home for my garden. The largest rock I ever "collected" was about the size of a small ottoman. I usually "casually" walk around the neighbourhood looking for a newly-excavated site where a new home would be built, and then return early on a weekend morning with my car. I find you have to be quick because as soon as the old house is torn down, the dirt (and rocks) is hauled away within two days to make room for the pouring of the foundation. Timing is everything! A new home built two streets over in my neighbourhood had 5, count-'em-- 5 huge boulders (2 1/2 feet high) lined up gingerly on the sidewalk, as if begging for someone to come claim them -- otherwise the developer has to haul them away to the dump and is charged by the weight, not to mention the time and manpower to make at least two trips. Unfortunately, I was unable to bring any of them home and the last time I walked past the newly-finished, landscaped home, the developer had kept only one of the boulders as a focal point for the front lawn!

Talk about missed opportunities!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 7:45PM
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oh man I am SOOOOOO JEALOUS!!!!! I live in central Illinois and there aren't any rocks around for MILES. Well not sizable (bigger than fist size) anyway. Even the river banks are barren - no Rocks.

I have to buy every rock I have and they aren't cheap either - 22 cents a pound for Colorado roundstone, and 15 dollars a square foot for flagstone!!!!!

I used to live in Southern California - Rocks were abundant, just take a hike through the dessert. Boy how I miss that....

Makes a fella (and a bank account) wanna cry >:(

    Bookmark   September 12, 2002 at 4:09PM
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It was so refreshing to read that other people are rock lovers too. My husband and I hauled rocks from a construction site near our house this past summer. The neighbors would come over just to see what we were doing with all the rocks we hauled over in our 16 quart cooler. There were just there for the taking. We did three sides of our yard, redid the side yard, put in a little rock garden and even put some out front. It was great. And now we both just love rocks and notice them wherever we go.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2002 at 1:01AM
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mtmermaid(MT zone 3, 4)

what a great thread!

i come by my 'rock love' quite naturally. alot of sunday afternoons were spent walking gravel roads as a family collecting agates when i was growing up. dad had a tumbler and made gorgeous table tops with them.

i in turn, passed this on to the next generation ;-) youngest son is a rock hound that took the bottoms out of all his dresser drawers with the rocks he stored there in lieu of clothes.

we (DH and i) farm and are 'blessed' (my words, lol, not his!) with an abundance of great rock piles that over many years he cleared off the fields! now i'm bringing them home

what i haven't noticed mention of here ..... and i find indispensable ..... in the long run, cheaper than replacing vehicles ..... is a trailer. i'm fortunate in that i'm able to use our 4 x 8 foot garbage trailer that sits about a foot off the ground. makes it alot easier to get some of the bigger rocks. and, joy oh joy, have a friend that just got a prairie wagon with a tommy lift!!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2003 at 11:47AM
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Oh my! I don't believe this thread is still alive.
I priced a pallet of fieldstone last summer and just can't see paying $250. when there are so many great rocks all around where I live.

I'll probably get nailed for this by those who have a distain for us "rock thieves" but I went out rock hunting last summer and found a great spot that was over run with some excellent rocks. It was on a quiet rural road and there was no one around.

I had just rolled a large rock down a steep hill when I realized there was a person on horseback at the bottom of the hill. She was staring at me as if to say, lady, WHAT ARE YA DOING?

I just grinned and said, "I'm relocating rocks." She shook her head and said, "uh huh, to your yard no doubt."

No one could truly enjoy the beauty of those rocks up on that hill. Now thay are much admired by anyone that passes my house.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2003 at 11:39AM
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oldieRI(z5/6 RI)

My grandson, aged 7, and I moved a big pile of granite boulders into a more satisfactory configuration 50 feet away using a pry bar, some log rollers and a come-along which has got to be the greatest invention ever for a rock lover. Some of the stones were over 300 lbs. We put a log chain around them and hauled, slow but sure.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2003 at 6:08PM
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rhine59(5 WI)

I make my own or at least am starting to. I got the idea about a week ago and tried it and it worked. Go to the Garden Junk forum and click on the "Picture of my rock" thread. There is a picture of the finished project. If you scroll down from there you should find another thread titled "Rock Project". I give instructions on how I did it.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2003 at 3:33PM
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rleibman(z9a CA)

To those taking rocks from construction sites:
Ask first. Most builders and/or owners would love for you to take their rocks, others may be rock-nuts like you and consider taking them without asking stealing. But most importantly, they have a potential liability if you hurt yourself at the construction site (including back injuries from moving rocks!).

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 7:02PM
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well_rooted(5, BC Canada)

I am about to head out down the road for a little "rock relocating". Love this thread!

My biggest rocks were brought in by backhoe. The biggest was 4'x4'x3'. He is a friend and into rocks himself. I just walked along an old road on the mountainside above us, pushed rocks into his path and pointed them out to him as he drove along. Then he made trips down to our house. Had to arrange with neighbours on both sides to cross their property. The rocks look great!!

Today I go for smaller rocks along a road allowance, the downhill side. They are not part of the support for the road. One needs to be careful of that. Also rocks along a riverbank are important to prevent erosion.

I just can't imagine not having rocks at one's disposal. Here in British Columbia they are everywhere!!

Those of you concerned about paying for rocks, be sure to take into account that those of us who go out on rock finding expeditions are spending money on gas, and have mishaps that cost us money (yes, I was out on a rock reconnaissance mission in the boondocks on a logging road and drove over a rock rather than swerving - hey gotta watch out for logging trucks! I was driving our car that day. Low carriage. To my relief I didn't damage anything. But there is a permanent large bulge on the floor and my two sons will never let me live it down!).

    Bookmark   May 19, 2003 at 3:59PM
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time_to_grow(z4/5 WI)

Does anyone know how to get giant rocks (that are too big to manually lift) into the trunk of a car and out? I've been trying to think of all these ways to take this beautiful giant rock home, but need advice. I don't know anyone with a backhoe!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 12:49AM
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hannamyluv(5 N.E. OH)

When I was younger, my mother would embarass the living daylights out of my siblings and me by pulling over to the side of the highway where the road had been blasted through a hill/mountain. There would be just mounds and mounds of flat shale rock. She make us load up the van with the shale to make the paths and patios that now meander and dot her property. I would be SOOO embarassed. What if someone saw me!

Now that I am all grown up with a garden of my own, you can find me at the side of the highway with my kids gathering up rocks. I think it's in the blood.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2003 at 8:37PM
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MeMyselfAndI(5/6 central OH)

Housing development construction site! I'm so excited! You guys were right! All they have done so far is make the street (no basement holes yet.) We grabbed rocks from just 1 small part today and had to stop because of the weight in the truck. I found quite a few pretty pink granite ones, and several striking blue and green ones I don't know.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 9:17PM
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Go to the creek! If you're fortunate enough to live close to one. Some of the best rocks you'll ever find.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2003 at 8:48AM
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I find myself looking at every stone I see and picking up what I really like fortunately most people think it's kinda cool to help me. I have two great places to buy rocks as well. They are so inexpensive. They run a tab for me so we don't waste invoices. Cherryland Cut Stone and Blue Star Landscaping. I use them in the yard and also make stone birdhouses. It is good to see so many posts from all over the country. It feels good to know there are others out there. Rock on!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 3:03PM
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I would love to have the name of the place in Louisville for rocks.
I collect them to outline my goldfish pond. I also have some from old family farms. I always ask for these as I do my other hobby genealogy and I locate great great grandparent's farms.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 9:40AM
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My mother also sent us collecting rock along the highway. I also felt uncomfortable doing it. Now I have been collecting some rock that way myself. There are those rocky hills along the highway which rock slides down or falls off over time. I also have a friend who has a creek on her property it's at the bottom of a hill. Every time they get a really heavy rain more rocks, even bolders roll down into the creek bed. I have decided to limit my rock collecting to her place even though it's a 40 minute drive. I get a better variety they are easy to collect and I don't worry about whether someone might object to my collecting the rocks. My friend is begging for people to take them because sometimes they have to drive into the creek after the heavy rain because the bridge gets washed out. It make the creek easier to pass through. I currently doing a rock garden/dry stream. I am nearly done it's looking great. I am getting lots of complements from the neighbors. That makes all that heavy labor worthwhile. I get a good feeling from look at my handywork. I would like to post pictures but I have no idea how to do it on this website. Perhaps someone can fill me in.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2003 at 6:14PM
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this thread is amazing. lol
I started my own rock relocation program two summers ago. Luckily, my mom still lives on the old homestead with the most wonderful creek running thru it. I'm guessing I made at least 14 trips for rocks and small boulders and my little mazda truck will only take about half a ton at a time. Ol' MarvyTruck rode pretty low to the ground many many times that summer and he's still tickin' along.
This summer I finally put down rock "pavers" throughout the dogpen, dug my 16'x 9' pond, and layed my stone steps and patio. I can't believe how great it all looks. I've still got a huge pile for rock for future projects but I can't keep from wanting to go back for more. Even when my friends and I went on a cruise in Carribean I found myself lusting over boulders left haplessly along the roadside in Cozamel and Belize. So many beautiful boulders and no one to care... for shame for shame.
I am now recovering from knee surgery and feeling rock wrangling withdrawls(ugh). The doctor has strickly forbidden me from hauling rocks so of course I'm just biding my time and therefor ran across an item that alot of you might be interested in. It's called a spitzlift; you attatch it to your truck to lift the biggies in without breaking your back or ruining your knees(grin)and it's detatchable so you don't have drive around with it sticking up all the time. just tuck it behind the seat or in the truck box.
if interested go to-- http://spitzlift.com

keep writing guys!!! love your stories.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2003 at 12:30AM
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juju222(z9 AZ)

My brother lives down the street from a construction site and asked if they could "relocate" some rocks. Answer was yes - sooooooooo we joined in and now have a great collection of lovely white rocks!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2004 at 1:19PM
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Mitsy(z9 far No. CA)

Woo Hoo! I just made a wonderful score! I found some flowstone amongst the limestone rip rap alongside one of our creeks about a year ago, but had no way to bring the 40, 150 to 300 lb rocks home. We borrowed the neighbor's tractor and lifted them out with a strap and the loader bucket. Now I have three really cool-looking stones (gotta have that odd number)
Flowstone is formed inside limestone caverns which are then broken up in the process of mining the limestone. It has translucent brown bands and spots, almost petrified wood-like in some places and embedded with some sandstones. These stones won't be buried, but just set up as a focal point, since the detailing is all around the stones.
I took some photos this morning, but I doubt it'll do them justice.
I am jazzed!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Gardens and More

    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 4:46PM
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redblossom40(z8-9 sierra)

You guy's think you have it bad(the fever), but I work at a construction site running equiment and working as a gradechecker. So I spend my days looking at rock and picking them out to take home. My husband thinks I'm crazy. He also works with me. I'm always looking for the prefect rock. I have the fever so bad that I can go through a large pile and only find one I like. Working at conctruction site I see alot of people coming around without asking, If very dangerous. The guys running in equiment don't see you or me sometimes, so if you go there go after they are gone or ask.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 9:58AM
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: ) I live in rock country- my folks live on a shale outcropping, and I just moved 3 whole blocks from the delaware River, so it's not a matter of finding rocks- it's a matter of finding 'THE' Rocks... I'm confining myself to the local red shale, with a few accent rocks- but oh, the shapes I've found. almost perfect squares. dolems ready to be stood up- I made a curb for my in laws house out of one single stone- it was 3"x5"x4'+...it took two of us to get it into the car- but it's stunning looking with the dead nettles pouring over it :)

I used old concrete as the bottom tier of my walls- there was a fair bit of it on my property, and it's now hidden by the lawn from the front, the mulch from the back, and the shale slabs on the top- and the walls are tall enough to sit on in places :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2004 at 8:44AM
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I am needing to get a lot of basketball size smooth rocks like the ones from colorado rivers. they are expensive to buy in oklahoma where i live. does anyone know if it's illegal to pick them up along the rivers in colorado?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Funny story- we often gather rocks along a state highway where there are always rockslides and abundant debris. We are not the only people that go there- the entire stretch of road is frequented by rock scavengers.

The other day we were there with a pick up full of rocks and were even using a winch to pull a particularly large boulder onto a trailer when we saw a Department of Highways truck slowing down and pulling over.
We thought "Crap! We are so busted- our luck has finally run out."

The guy stopped, got out of the truck, approached us and said "Hey, guys- need any help?"
Happy day, indeed!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:48AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I'm surprised with all the posts about rocks no one has any pictures of what they have done with the rocks.
Here's what I've done with some quarry rock. I had it dumped at the top of the slope and then slid the rock down on steel rails and placed it,

1 Like    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:56AM
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Hugh Simpson

I will try again as this may not have gone through. Is there a Federal law against or North Carolina law against just taking out of a river as many stones and rocks you want? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 11, 2015 at 8:43AM
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There are laws against removing rocks from the streams in Washington State.
A friend of mine got busted for it a few years ago. Something to do with salmon spawning.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2015 at 11:43AM
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It is against the law to remove rocks from any river or wild place, its considered the same as picking wild flowers. However, you can find rocks in lots of different places, personally I have a quarry about 30 miles from where i live and if you just ask you can normally just help yourself, well as much as your car can take without breaking the suspension. The difficulty is finding the rocks that you like and want for your specific project and sometimes they are only available from that one place.

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 12:19PM
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