31 Wonderful Dry River Bed Landscaping Ideas You Will Love

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links.

If you’re anything like us, you sure know that good landscaping can turn your garden from lifeless to enchanting and it’s not just the inside of your house that matters, don’t you agree?

A dry river bed is one of the most fascinating ways to add life to your garden. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also fix many garden issues, like poor soil and drainage problems.

It can also be a great way to deal with dirt in your backyard (see more ideas here) or to re-use the rocks that you removed from your yard.

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or you prefer hiring a professional to do it for you, there are many dry river bed landscaping ideas to choose from. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve put together this article with amazing ways in which you can add a dry river bed to your backyard.

Looking For Help From a Professional Company?

If you’re looking for someone to help you with your landscaping, you can get a free quote from top local contractors here:

31 Beautiful Dry River Bed Ideas

Precious Pebbles

Gray Pebble Walk

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:Gray Pebble Walk

Image credit: gardentherapy.ca

Pebbles are a classic choice when creating a dry river bed and ark and light gray pebbles contrast beautifully with green plants. Place larger stones along the sides to define the riverbed. If you choose to go for dark-colored pebbles, make sure you add a few light-toned stones on the side, for a bright look. Take a look at this idea from gardentherapy.ca.  

Curvy Course

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: Curvy Course  with white pebbles

Image credit: pinterest.com

Pebbles are made smooth and round by the action of water, so they’re a perfect match for dry river beds. You can use beige and white pebbles if you prefer lighter tones and they go exceptionally well with the green grass, dark mulch, or black rock mulch around the dry river bed. Check out this design from Pinterest.com.

Rocky Roads

Tan Cobbles

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:Tan Cobbles

Image credit: diynetwork.com

River cobbles come in many different sizes and shapes. When various stones are combined, they create a perfectly natural look. If you’re aiming for a warm looking dry river, opt for a mixture of tan and gray rocks. Plant colorful flowers on the side for a picture perfect dry river bed. Learn more about how to create a dry river bed using cobbles from diynetwork.com.

Lush Green

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: different kinds of plants around the dry river

Image credit: houzz.com

Nothing looks more serene than granitic rocks resting between green bushes. You can grow all different kinds of plants around the dry river, depending on the weather conditions and nature of the soil in your garden.

Make sure you keep the dry river narrow with many plants on either edge if you want the green grass and plants to dominate. Discover all about rocky dry river beds at Houzz.com.

Rocks And Stones

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:Rocks And Stones

Image credit: goodsgn.com

This dry river bed design is best used in larger yards. If you have a rather large backyard, you can try this layout using big, smooth rocks along the side of the river bed. Curve the path and then fill it with rocks and stones of different sizes and textures. Check out goodsgn.com for more details on how to create this look.

Blossoms All The Way

Flower Aisle

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: Flower Aisle

Image credit: serenityinthegarden.blogspot.ca

Nothing complements a blossoming flowerbed more than a dry river bed. If your garden has flowerbeds, a simple yet charming dry river bed is a great idea. Make sure you use simple pebbles or rocks of the same color and size, so they don’t overshadow your flowers. Get some inspiration from serenityinthegarden.blogspot.com.

Rock Line

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: Rock Line

Image credit: ximplahspace.club

Looking to line your entire garden with a dry river bed but don’t want to overdo it? Go with a simple design like this one, with simple, neutral-colored stones. Use an assortment of rocks and pebbles and line the river bed with larger stones. Check out this idea from ximplahspace.club.

Space Saver

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: Small river beds look fantastic and solve drainage problems

Image credit: pinterest.com

You may not have much space in your yard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a dry river bed. Small river beds look fantastic and solve drainage problems. Keep it classic with small rocks and a few small bushes around it. Take a look at this dry river bed from Pinterest.com.

Less Is More

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:drainage canal in a beautiful dry river bed

Image credit: insidexterior.com

No one will notice your drainage canal if it’s in a beautiful dry river bed! Use smooth pebbles for the border and different stones and a few small plants to fill up the bed. If you want to get fancy, add a spotlight for a beautiful night view. Learn more about how to do this at insideexterior.com.

Stepping Stones

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: simple dry river bed idea

Image credit: decorrea.com

Channel excess water with this simple dry river bed idea. To achieve this design, use small-sized pebbles of the same color and add a kick with square-shaped stones. Get inspired by decorrea.com.

Glass River Beds

Sparkly Garden

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:recycled colored glass pebbles

Image credit: exterior-designs.net

If you’re looking for a unique dry river bed idea, this is the one. Use recycled colored glass pebbles to fill up your creek and line pebbles on the sides. Add a fancy fountain along the way. Check this out at exterior-designs.net.

Mini Town

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: mini figurines and sculptures, like boats, houses, and benches

Image credit: worldofsucculents.com

Blue glass pebbles give this dry river bed a pop of color. Feel free to get creative with mini figurines and sculptures, like boats, houses, benches, and others. Throw in some succulents even if you live in a colder climate – some of these pretty plants can survive even in zone 7.​

If you’re a fan of detail, learn more from worldofsucculents.com.

Blue Lake

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: dry river bed idea resembles a lake

Image credit: decoratop.co

Missing the lake view? This dry river bed idea resembles a lake, by using two tones of glass pebbles and larger neutral-colored pebbles for the border. You can even add a fake fish or two. Find out more at decoratop.com.

Water Pump

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:water pump dry river bed

Image credit: earth911.com

Show off your artistic side with this water pump dry river bed. For the water effect, use a fishing line to attach the blue stones. If you want the water to look natural, use different shades of blue glass – you can even spray paint them to get the exact shade you want. Take a look at this dry river bed from earth911.com.

Blue Serenity

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: dry river bed with rockes and pebbles

Image credit: shareably.net

This simple dry river bed is so calming to look at. To get this look, place large pebbles along the border and smaller pebbles inside. On the corner, you can add a statement pot and use blue glass pebbles for a flowing water effect. Learn how to do it from shareabley.net.

Cross The River

Glossy Bridge

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:dry river bed bridge

Image credit:  homeownerlandscapingideas.com

Another great addition to your dry river bed is a bridge. Why not add a polished stone across your dry river bed for an edgy look? Use pebbles to fill up the creek and add a unique rock in a constrasting color. Check out more at homeownerlandscapingidea.com.

Double Up

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: long dry river bed with bridges

Image credit: pinterest.com

Why not make use of that extra space and build a long dry river bed with bridges? Use dark mulch around the riverbed and add a few small, green bushes. Include two or more wooden bridges, depending on how long the river is. Take a look at this dry river from Pinterest.com.

Broad Archway

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: bridge, with curved side rail

Image credit: balkanstudies.org

If you’re interested in creating a wide dry river bed, installing a bridge is a practical thing to do. This bridge, with curved side rails, will give your garden an authentic feel. Make sure you add a pop of color to your garden with flowers. Get more inspiration from balkanstudies.org.

Wooden Bridge

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: wooden bridge in your dry river bed

Image credit: ideipentrucasa.ro

Incorporating a wooden bridge in your dry river bed is a great idea if you’re looking for a rustic look. Line your creek with large stones on the sides and smaller pebbles in the middle. The wooden bridge and the bright green grass are a brilliant match. Check this out at ideipentrucasa.ro.

Classic And Elegant

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: classic and elegant wooden bridge

Image credit: pinterest.com

You can’t go wrong with a classic and elegant wooden bridge. To pull off this idea, all you need are a variety of stones and rocks and a wooden bridge. If you’re looking for an easy-to-do dry river bed landscaping idea, check this one out on Pinterest.com.

White Vintage

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:lassic white bridge

Image credit: decorating-hq.com

After filling your dry river bed with stones and rocks, go the extra mile and add this classic white bridge, for a vintage look. The striking white bridge and the green grass look gorgeous together. Take a look at this charming bridge at decorating-hq.com.

Pretty Pots

Pouring Pebbles

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:pot and some pebbles

Image credit: possibledecor.com

Creating an artistic display can be easily accomplished using a pot and some pebbles. Place a pot at the starting point of your dry river creek and fill it up with white and gray pebbles that trace all the way to the end. Check out this idea at possibledecor.com.

Showy Shrub

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:flowering bush that hugs a pot

Image credit: pinterest.tricksbeauty.com

As if a dry river bed isn’t cool enough already! For this design, you’ll need to plant a green, flowering bush that hugs a pot at the beginning of your creek. Use multicolor pebbles to fill the bed and line it with brown-colored stones. Explore this dry river bed idea at Pinterest.com.

Shells And Starfish

Dry river bed landscaping ideas:pot with white stones at the end of the creek

Image credit: katasiana.com

Who doesn’t like the thought of a mesmerizing beach? Bring that vibe into your yard with this idea. Place a pot with white stones at the end of the creek and scatter a few turquoise shells and starfish. Use brown mulch and rocks on the side to make the white stones pop. Learn more at katasiana.com.

Into The Woods

Nature’s Log

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: tree logs on the side of your dry river bed

Image credit: glamshelf.com

Making a statement couldn’t be more simple. Place tree logs on the side of your dry river bed together with cool-toned stones and rocks, for a nature-inspired look. Learn more about this idea at glamshelf.com.


Dry river bed landscaping ideas:empty space in your yard by filling it with small stones

Image credit: ovelyving.com

If you’re looking for an effortless dry river bed landscape, this is the one. Use up some empty space in your yard by filling it with small stones. Load your creek with some pebbles and line it with rocks. For an edgy touch, place a piece or two of driftwood on the sides. Get to know more at lovelyving.com.

Stylish Stones

Rock River

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: Perfectly arrange small stones in your creek

Image credit: z06.club

This landscaping idea is for minimalists. Who knew you could create a fabulous dry river bed using nothing but stones? Perfectly arrange small stones in your creek for a flowing river effect and scatter a few larger rocks around for a natural feel. Take a look at radiolinn.com for more inspiration.

Stunning Stones

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: stones in different shades of beige, gray, black, and brown

Image credit: pinterest.com

For this project, you’ll need stones in different shades of beige, gray, black, and brown, to achieve a flawless piece of art. Line the creek with a few unique-looking glossy stones. If you want to get in touch with your inner artist, check out this idea on Pinterest.com.

Cascading Rocks

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: waterfall effect using stones

Image credit: littlethings.com

If a nature-inspired landscape is what you prefer, try creating a beautiful waterfall effect using stones on two levels. Place some wooden logs between both steps and pebbles along the side to direct the flow of the creek. Learn more about stonework at littlethings.com.

Garden Haven

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: long, curved stone path using pebbles

Image credit: decoarchi.com

Who knew you could do so much with so little! If you have a multi-level garden, you can create a long, curved stone path using pebbles of various colors, ending in a circular pond-like stone arrangement. Learn more at decoarchi.com.

Picture Perfect

Dry river bed landscaping ideas: glossy stones to cover the ground

Image credit: windingpath.com

Your backyard doesn’t have to be green to be charming. Use glossy stones to cover the ground and plan a path for your dry river bed. Fill it with dazzling stones in a matching color and you can even go the extra mile by creating a spiral of stones. Add some bigger rocks and you’re good to go. Find more inspiration at windingpath.com.

DIY Guide For Dry River Bed

What Is A Dry River Bed?

A dry river bed is a trench or a gully lined with stones, rocks, and pebbles. It is surrounded by vegetation mimicking a natural riparian area. Gardeners often decorate dry creeks with logs, branches, clay pots, and even miniature bridges. 

A beautifully designed and adorned dry river bed will instantly improve the curb appeal of your home. It will make it look exclusive and unique. On top of this, a dry creek will help you solve your lawn draining troubles.

A dry river bed prevents rainwater from accumulating in one spot. The rocks disperse the water in different directions or direct it into a temporary stream. A dry creek is a budget -friendly way to get rid of puddles in your backyard and to stop the slow erosion of the landscape.  

How To Make A Dry River Bed?


First, you will have to precisely plan the layout of your dry creek. I recommend you take a good look at your yard, study its curves, and watch how the water flows when it rains. 

Decide where you want to direct the water. It is best if you drain it into a drainage system that’s on your property, like a French drain or a channel. Don’t divert the water into a public street or towards your house, your shed, gazebo, or any other structure, for that matter.  

How To Do It

  1. Excavate the site 

Using a strong digging shovel, like this Fiskars 397900-1001 , dig out 12 to 15 inches of soil. If you are making a large dry river bed, you may want to rent a backhoe to cut the manual work. 

  1. Flatten the surface 

Compact and flatten the soil using a manual tamper that you can buy on Amazon . Don’t forget to angle and smooth the sides, as well. 

  1. Lay the landscape fabric

Carefully lay the landscape fabric over the entire trench, even the sides. Secure it in place with sod staples you can buy here . This landscape fabric  will prevent the stones from moving and weeds from growing.  

  1. Lay gravel

Cover the bottom and sides of your creek bed with ½ inch thick layer of crushed pea gravel. You can buy it on Amazon  or get it from your local riverbank. 

  1. Define the edges

Place the rocks of various sizes along the edges of your dry river bed. You can create a single row of stones or create a more defined border with multiple layers. Get creative and use my listed ideas as inspiration.

  1. Decorate

Decorate your dry creek with shrubs, flowers, succulents, or other plants that reflect your style. Complete the look with potted herbs, few unique rocks, or an old dried branch that tells a story. 

This YouTube tutorial will help you visualize the process of making a dry river bed. Check it out!

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy this article and checking out some of our favorite dry river bed landscaping ideas? With so many ideas, it’s the perfect addition to any backyard or patio and can be implemented in so many ways to reflect your own style.

We hope we’ve helped you find some inspiration, let us know your thoughts in the comments and feel free to share this article with your friends!

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

Last update on 2021-05-17 at 17:49 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1 thought on “31 Wonderful Dry River Bed Landscaping Ideas You Will Love”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.