Learn How To Remove Rocks From Yard With 6 Steps

Rocks can be part of your landscape. Homeowners love to surround their home with beautiful rocks. You can use rocks as a focal point or build pathways with rocks. There are dozens of ways to use rocks in your landscape.

However, chances are you don’t want sporadic rocks throughout your garden beds or yard. They look unsightly. Also, rocks in your yard can become a hazard, being thrown by your lawn mower. A rock could easily hurt someone or break a window. It is best to get rid of them, but you are probably wondering how to remove rocks from yard. Removing all of the rocks from your yard requires a few tools to make it a little bit easier.​


Tools You May Need



Tool Name

When to use

How to use


Use to remove medium-sized boulders

To use, maneuver the digging bar under an edge of the boulder. Then, use force to lift the boulder out of the ground with the tapered end.


Use to gather rocks

Once you bring rocks up to the surface of your yard, use a landscape rake to gather all the rocks into a pile, just like you would gather leaves.


Use to move rocks

If you have small rocks, use a shovel scoop to scoop up the rocks and move them. You can also use the shovel scoop to place into the screening attachment. It is also used to dig out medium-sized rocks.


Use to break up earth and dig out rocks

A trowel can be used to dig out small rocks from your yard. A crevice trowel is great for digging rocks out of small, tight spaces.


Use to break up larger rocks

Sometimes, it is easy to break up larger rocks than it is to move them whole. Use a pick and upper body strength to break the rock into pieces.


Use to move rocks

Use your shovel to place rocks into the wheelbarrow to move them out of your yard. You can use it to transfer the rocks to your driveway.


Use to find rocks in the soil

Push the rototiller over the area or garden bed. Stop and pick up any rocks you find.


Use when you have a lot of smaller rocks on your property

A box blade is a tractor attachment. You attach it to your tractor and use it to loosen the soil and bring rocks to the surface.


Rock Screening Bucket

Use to screen rocks

If your soil has a lot of rocks mixed in, a rock screening bucket attaches to your front-end loader. You place the soil into the bucket attachment, and it allows the soil to fall out, leaving just the rocks.


Use if you have huge, heavy boulders on your property

An attachment to your backhoe allows you to dig and lift large stones out of your yard that would be impossible to do by hand.

10 Ways To Remove Rocks From Yard

There is no one perfect way to remove rocks from yard. The method you use is going to depend on what type of rocks and the amount. You must then select the process that works the best for you.

1. Use Hand Tools

The first method you will want to try is to use simple hand tools to remove the rocks. A rake can be used to move gravel from one part of your yard to the other side. It also is great at spreading the gravel evenly in the area that you do want it. Rakes will miss the smaller stones. Shovels are also an essential tool to use to dig out medium-sized rocks that are buried in your yard.


Source: blogspot.com

2. Know What Type Of Gravel

If you have gravel in your yard, it is important to know what type of gravel you are dealing with to make the process easier. The two most common choices are the screened gravel, which could be 3/8 inch wide or pea gravel which is typically ¾ inches. These types of gravel are usually used as a decorative ground cover or as a substitute for paving. Some types of gravel, such as screen gravel, don’t pack down as easily, allowing you to use the rake as we mentioned above.


Source: wikimedia.org

3. Check If There Is Landscape Fabric

Sometimes you luck out, and the homeowners before you used a landscape fabric or geotextile cloth underneath of their decorative gravel. In these circumstances, the best way to remove the rocks from your yard is by hand or by machine. So long as it isn’t compactible gravel, you can use the hand tools mentioned above. Shovel it into a wheelbarrow and haul it away as you can. If there is a cloth underneath, you can often lift it up and remove large portions of the gravel at one time.

4. Dealing With Compactible Gravel

Compactible gravel is more difficult to remove by hand. You are going to need to use a pick and shovel if you want to work by hand. However, it is only suggested to use the manual method if you just a small area of rocks to remove.

If you are faced with a big project of compactible gravel, you need to move to a compact machine, such as a skid steer loader or a bobcat. Typically, you rent these machines per hour unless you happen to have a friend with one in his backyard. These machines allow you to scoop up all the unwanted rocks and gravel and dump them into the bed of a truck to be hauled away.​

Compactible gravel can be packed down, creating a firm, stable surface. You can walk or roll a cart over the surface easily. Some people use it as their driveway.

5. Moving Gravel Out of Your Lawn

Over time, gravel might make its way into your lawn rather than staying in your driveway. Gravel is expensive and can become a projectile if you hit it with a lawnmower. Here is how you might want to remove the gravel from your yard.

  • 1
    Use a bow rake to rake up as much of the gravel as possible by using the tine side. Then, use the back side of the rake to gather the gravel into manageable piles. The back side is the straight, metal bar.
  • 2
    Using a scoop shovel, scoop up the piles you created with the bow rake. You might have to push some of the gravel onto the shovel with your hand.
  • 3
    Then, use a stiff bristled push broom to push as much of the remaining gravel into your driveway.
  • 4
    Last, use a shop vacuum to suck up as much of the remaining gravel as possible. Start along the edges of your driveway or walkway, then work your way out to other areas. It is best to clean out the shop vacuum and hose beforehand to make sure there is enough suction to remove the gravel from the law.

6. Tips for Removing Small Rocks in Your Yard

  • 1
    Start by using a rototiller to move over the ground, especially if you are trying to remove rocks from your garden bed. A rototiller will lift smaller rocks out of the soil, allowing you to pick them up by hand.
  • 2
    Place all of the rocks you find into your wheelbarrow.
  • 3
    Next, use a rake to move the loosened soil to find and sift out smaller rocks. Rake all of them into a pile, and use the shovel scoop to lift the rocks into your wheelbarrow.
  • 4
    After you’ve moved the soil and rock to the wheelbarrow, you can use a hand screen to sift the rocks out of the soil. Hand screening is easy!

7. Machinery Or Not

The idea of using a bobcat or other machinery can seem intimidating at first. If you’ve never used something like this, it is best to ask for a lesson or to find someone to do it for you. Another factor to consider is the cost. You need to rent the machine, and you might need to pay someone to do it for you. However, a bobcat can accomplish a complex job that would take hours by hand in just a few hours. Gravel is heavy and hard to move. It also allows you to prepare the surface underneath after removing the gravel.

8. Tips for Removing Large Boulders

  • 1
    Use a hand shovel or trowel to dig around the edges of the rock, which helps to loosen it. Then, you can use the digging bar to pry it out of the soil. Once you’ve lifted up the rock, put the flat piece of wood under the digging bar to use as a fulcrum. Doing so will push the rock out of place entirely.
  • 2
    For rocks that are very large, try drilling holes into the rocks with a hammer drill. Then, insert feathers and wedges and drive the wedges into the rock with a hammer or mallet. Doing so will cause the rock to split into smaller pieces that are easier to move.

9. Dealing With Large Rocks By Using Dexpan

The rocks in your yard may not be gravel. You could be dealing with large rocks. Here are some tips to getting them out without losing your sanity.


Source: timeinc.net

    • Use a shovel to dig around the sides of the rock until you reach the bottom. Doing so allows some wiggle room, making it easy to get a loose rock from the ground. After that, you might be able to lift it into a wheelbarrow.
    • If the rock is too big to lift, dig a gradual slope to the side of the rock, allowing you to roll the rock out of its location.
    • Think back to your days in school and create a fulcrum with a rock or brick and a piece of plywood. Use them together to help pry the rock from its location. Then, you can use the process to remove it from its location.
    • Break larger rocks. There is a way to break large rocks is using Dexpand. It is easy by using this with 3 steps: Drill, Mix and Pour. The below link is for recommended Dexpan product made by USA and it will make your life easier when dealing with large rocks.

10. Rock Separator by Using Lumber and Wire


Learning how to remove rocks from yard isn’t a hard process to understand, but it does involve a lot of manual labor. If you have a lot of gravel in your yard, you either will need to shovel it or use a bobcat to lift all the gravel to be hauled away. If you just have sporadic rocks throughout your yard, you could just use hand tools to remove them. Boulders can be lifted with a fulcrum or broken into multiple rocks to make the process easier. Whatever method you pick, expect to be working hard that day!

Have you removed rocks from your yard before? What method worked best for you? Let us know in the comments!

Learn How To Remove Rocks From Yard With 6 Steps
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Tina Martino

My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.

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