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How to Dye or Stain Landscape Rocks the Right Way

Do you have landscaping rocks that you want to stain or dye? There are various approaches to accomplishing this enjoyable task.

You can dye or stain landscape rocks using an acid stain wash to darken and make the rocks look richer, use food dye to make the rocks more colorful, or even use a patio stain and seal to color the rocks and make them shine.

You can use acrylic or oil-based paint to make your rocks look colorful if you want to learn further about how to correctly dye or stain landscape rocks, check out this article.

How Do You Stain Landscape Stones?

Staining landscaping rocks around your garden is the most simple way to spruce up your outdoor living space. You can create new colors and textures that will look great. Limestone and travertine are ideal for staining because they pick it up better than many other landscaping rocks. Some tips for staining rocks:

  • Clean the rocks by using a pressure washer and concrete or TSP. Cleaning ensures you do not risk staining dirt or debris on the stone.
  • Use a scrub brush to help you clean and then dry. Allow the stones to dry overnight.
  • Spray acid stain on each stoneto give them a wet look, and use a paintbrush to work in a pattern.
  • Let the stain dry for 24 hours, and the stones will have a residue on top.
  • Mix half a pound of baking soda in five gallons of water, then rub it lightly using a brush.
  • Rinse the stone and wash off the baking soda and allow it to dry overnight
  • Use a sealer to “seal the deal.” The sealant holds the darker color. Apply a thin coat of sealer and let it dry for 24 hours
  • Apply another thin coat of sealer and allow it to dry for the last time before putting the rocks onto the ground

You should clean your landscaping rocks regularly so they remain polished and ensure that dirt and debris do not discolor the rocks. Ensure that whatever solution you clean them in is completely wiped away to keep them in good condition.

Can You Change the Color of the Landscaping Rocks?

If you want to change up the color of your landscaping rocks, apply a sealant, or use fabric dye or food coloring, or acid to stain them. You can also use acrylic or oil-based paint. You have a lot of freedom in the viable choices for changing your rocks’ color and overall appearance.

Here’s a cool video showing the use of a stone color enhancer:

Check out the deals on Landscape Rock Found Here on Amazon. Don’t forget to use a Quality Landscape Barrier Like This under the rock to prevent weed growth.

How Do You Dye Outside Rocks

It is time to get creative with your landscaping stones, as you can change the color of the stones with paint. This process can be a fun and colorful craft project with the kids, or you can experience some DIY home improvement in your outdoor living space. Outdoor rocks need to be cleaned before putting paint on them.

Food Coloring with the Kids

Choose your dye, such as liquid, gel, or powdered dye. The dye will be mixed with vinegar and warm water. For little rocks, you can take the stones and dye them. Porous rocks absorb the food dye when they are heated.

Put the small stones in a cup or cooking bowl with the dye. Leave them in the dye overnight, as the longer they stay in the dye, the more the rocks will present with the color. Place the rocks on a cookie sheet and let them bake.

For a More Adult Approach

If this is a serious DIY project, you must up your game. You may be looking for an inexpensive but effective way to make your rocks pop with color.

Here’s an article with instructions on how to Paint Your Landscape Rocks.

Pick Out Your Colors

Decorating rocks is inexpensive but incredibly cool, and the best part is that it is like an art project. Food coloring is safe and easy to use. However, you can also use acrylic or oil-based paint for a more sleek and sophisticated appearance. Earth tones look fantastic when painted onto landscaping rocks.

Some suggestions:

  • Gray
  • Beige
  • Brown
  • Green

You can visit a Home Depot or Lowe’s hardware store and check their paint selection. Along with the paint, you will also need a can of sealant for a more accurate, deeper color.

Check out our How To Seal Landscape Rocks article to see the different methods that could work for you.

Again, this is a fun project, so you can take your kids to help you choose your colors.

Create a Workspace

Use several newspaper sheets, open them up, and layer them on the ground. You can also use a drop cloth. Place the rocks in the work area. Wear clothes you do not mind getting paint on them. Put on protective eyewear and a mask.

Paint the Rocks

Spray the paint on the rocks and allow each rock to be coated in an eye-catching color. You should apply two coats of paint. Acrylic paints will dry faster than oil-based paints.

Take a spatula to turn the rocks over to paint the other side. Have someone hold two corners, and you hold two corners as you carefully and delicately shake the gravel to turn it over.

The rocks should be in a single layer again after turning it. Apply the next coat and wait for it to dry. There should be two coats of paint, just like the first side. Keep turning until the color is evenly spread. The outcome should be fully painted rocks.

Finally, spray on a sealant to hold the color and give them that great wet appearance. Let each layer dry before turning it over. Your rocks should be beautifully painted, and the color should be even and polished.

Play with the Rocks

“Play” means you want to find the best place to show them off in your garden. You can create a walkway with stones or craft the perfect rock garden.

Rock gardens look great with lush greenery beside it. It creates the ideal opportunity to showcase your garden. If you have a fairy garden, you can place it there for added decoration.

Check out the deals on Landscape Rock Found Here on Amazon. Don’t forget to use a Quality Landscape Barrier Like This under the rock to prevent weed growth.


There are different ways you can stain or dye your landscaping rocks. You can use food dye or acid to stain them or paint your rocks for a more adult DIY  approach. Whichever way you do it, give yourself permission to have fun and get creative.

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