April 11, 2022

Pros and Cons of Riprap Rock

Which is better: natural edge, or riprap? Let’s break down the pros and cons of both!

Ponds with natural edge are wonderful for the ecosystem and are less work and maintenance than a pond with rock edging (riprap). All you need to do to create a good natural edge is to let the grass grow a little longer around the edge of the pond. Always mow your grass clippings AWAY from the water! Native plants will eventually grow in along with the grass and create a perimeter around your shoreline, which serve as homes for insects and small animals that like to hide near the water. The tall grasses act as a filter to keep the water clean and there is very little maintenance required. You can choose to periodically tidy up the edges for any undesirable weeds.  The downside of a natural edge pond is that it can look more “wild” than ponds with rock edges.

Riprap around a pond offers a clean, tidy, resort-like look to your pond. While the rock does a superb job of protecting your banks from erosion, there will be more maintenance required. Weeds will eventually work their way through the rocks and will need to be eliminated if the goal is to keep things looking clean and tidy. Your success with riprap depends on how it was installed. If the riprap is poorly installed, the rocks will shift as the water comes in, causing the structure to move around and weaken quickly.  A well set riprap border with both large and small stones will last many years before needing true reconstruction and will help keep the weeds down to a minimum.

Remember that while riprap looks gorgeous, it’s not a suitable habitat for insects or small creatures that would normally reside near grass and vegetation by a pond. Eliminating vegetation along the banks of the pond will also provide less shade and coverage for fish and other critters in the pond. Whether you should choose riprap, natural edge, or a little bit of both will depend on your preferences and how you choose to use the pond. There is no right or wrong answer when it is all said and done. If you are on the Silver or Gold plan, we will spray all your riprap and your beach area to keep it looking clean! We do not spray natural edge unless a waiver is signed with us.

We do not install riprap, but know of a few companies who do. Contact the office for information!

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