Decorative stones against plants

How Decorative Stone Products are Sized

Dec 26, '19

Do-it-yourself doesn’t have to mean that you go it alone. Take decorative stones for example. It makes things a lot easier and less stressful if you have a reliable partner and trusted resource like Online Stone Solutions to help get you up to speed. In this blog-post we’re going to look behind the scenes at how decorative stones are sorted and sized, so you know exactly what you’re getting and why.

Choosing the proper stone size is important for both practical and aesthetic reasons. But it’s important to keep in mind that stone product sizing is not an exact science. In other words, when you order a shipment of rocks, not all the rocks are going to be the same size. For example, if you purchase 1”-2" Black Beach Pebbles, that is the average size; when you open up your pallets, there may be some stones that are smaller, and there may be some that are bigger. To understand why this is, it’s helpful to know how decorative landscape rock is sorted and screened to size.

There are three main methods that we use, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

1) Static “Grizzly” Screen

Static screens are commonly referred to as Grizzlies and are the most basic and simple of all screens used to sort rock sizes. Grizzlies are made of parallel bars running at an angle from front to back. The Grizzly screen can process very large rock without damaging the screen: up to ¼ ton rip rap. The drawback to this method is that there is a higher possibility of getting material that is larger or smaller than desired.

2) Vibrating Deck Screen Mesh

This type of screen is placed at an angle and is mechanically shaken, or vibrated, so that material moves across the screen. A vibrating screen is typically limited to only handling smaller material (4”-6” maximum). However, there is still some size variation to be expected with this method.

3) Hand Sorted and Palletized

In this scenario, decorative rocks, such as beach pebbles, are gathered and sorted for color, shape, and size by hand, and then assembled in pallets. Our workers are literally picking these rocks up off the beaches of Baja Mexico, just south of our U.S. headquarters in San Diego County. They are then brought to a sorting facility where they are bagged up. This is a more labor intensive and costly way to sort rock that results in a more consistent and higher quality product. Because the rocks are hand sorted, slight size variation can be expected from pallet to pallet. One worker’s version of a 2”-3” rock may be slightly different than the next worker. In other words, a pallet of 2”-3” hand sorted pebble will include some rocks that are smaller than that range and some that are larger. As we’ve seen, this is true even with mechanically screened gravels that are sorted and sized using the Grizzly or Vibrating Decks methods.

Now you know what happens behind the scenes, and all the work that goes into it. If this is your first time ordering decorative stones online, you’re probably wondering what you need to do on your end to be prepared for your delivery. That’s covered here.

Do-it-yourself home landscapers rely on Online Stone Solutions as their trusted partner because of the variety of attractive stones that we offer, and the unparalleled service, convenience, and value. If you have any questions about size or any other matter, be sure to ask your friends at OSS. In the meantime, browse our gallery to see the wide variety of decorative stones that we offer.