River Rock or Beach Pebbles – Similarities and Differences

River Rock or Beach Pebbles: Are They the Same?

Is there a difference between river rock and beach pebbles, or are they the same? This is a common question among people looking for smooth, round or oval landscaping pebbles. The answer is both yes and no. Read on to learn why beach pebbles are often called river rock pebbles, and whether or not you should care.

Beach Pebbles and River Rock: Similarities

Both beach pebbles are river rock pebbles are smooth stones commonly used for landscaping. People use various names to refer to these rocks: beach pebbles, river rock, egg rock, river pebbles, Mexican pebbles etc. Regardless of the name, these stones tend to be rounded, with mainly oval and round forms. Many are flat, but not all. Both types of stone come in a variety of colors, and they can be separated by color and size.

The color range depends on the location where landscaping pebbles come from: the Pacific Baja beaches in Mexico are rich in black and grey pebbles, as well as various shades of brown, red, and green. Very light pebbles (ivory pebbles) are found but they are rare. The Ohio river and dry old river beds in Arizona produce a plenitude of sand and brown-colored pebbles.

Beach pebbles and river rock are used for similar purposes. The most common application is as ground covering, either to cover large areas with uniform color, or to create accent zones around trees, shrubs, and flower beds. Both types of landscaping pebbles are also used o create dry river beds, walkways, various water features, and mosaic floor designs.

Mexican Beach Pebbles and River Rock: Differences

The main difference between river rock and beach pebbles is the source of stone. River rock is dredged from live or dry river beds, as well as rock queries along the river banks. Mexican beach pebbles are picked up by hand at the beaches in Mexico. Federal regulations in Mexico prohibit the use of any type of machinery on the beaches; therefore, pebbles are picked up by hand one-by-one. The sorting process also happens at the beach as each pebble is inspected by the person picking it up. This allows for a variety of shades to be sorted out, including custom colors.

While both beach pebbles and river rock are smoothed by a mix of water and tiny sediments, for river rock excavated along the banks this process might have ended thousands of years ago. On the other hand, beach pebbles are washed over by the waves until the day they are picked up. As a result, beach pebbles are often smoother, flatter, and more rounded than river rock. This is why many people choose beach pebbles for installation around pools and in other areas where they might frequently walk barefoot.

Summary: River Rock or Beach Pebbles?

In a word, beach pebbles represent the “high end” of the various types of landscaping pebbles commonly called river rock. If you envision an exquisite, elegant landscape that will add a lot of value to your property, or if your project requires very smooth stones, beach pebbles is the way to go. For many other projects, the more budget-conscious river rock might be a good option. For more information, contact us or call us at (760) 579-2871.

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