Do Rock Gardens Attract Bugs?

Rocks are an excellent way to add style to a garden, and there are so many options to choose from. However, one thing you may be worried about is attracting bugs. So, do rock gardens attract bugs?

Rock gardens don’t usually attract bugs, as they don’t supply any nutrients or water that will benefit a living species. However, regular soil around the rocks can still attract bugs as per usual.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss rock gardens and bugs in greater detail. I will also discuss which type of soil attracts bugs and how to keep them away.

Why Don’t Rocks Attract Bugs?

Rocks don’t attract bugs because bugs look for nutrients and water. Since rocks don’t provide either, the creatures will look elsewhere. However, some bugs may get in if there is soil underneath rocks. This usually isn’t a bad thing—bugs are necessary for gardens.

It’s likely that a rock garden also has some mulch or other types of soil nearby (or underneath the rocks). If that’s the case, it’s guaranteed that there’ll be some bugs around. 

However, if you’re specifically looking for something that won’t attract bugs, rocks are your best bet. 

Examples of Garden Rocks

There are many types of rocks you can choose from, and none of them will attract any pests, insects, or bugs. 

Some types of rocks you can buy for your garden include:

  • River rocks. These rocks have a smooth texture because they rub together in water streams. This eventually causes them to become round and smooth. These rocks are beautiful with a soft look and don’t attract any bugs or other pests.
  • Pea gravel. Pea gravel rocks are much smaller than river rocks and give any garden a warm, decorative feel. They also don’t attract bugs.
  • Lava rocks. Lava rocks come from volcanoes, so they often have a distinctive reddish color. These rocks will add some natural grit to a garden because of their rough edges. And as you may have guessed, they don’t attract bugs either!

What Soil Attracts Bugs?

All types of soil attract bugs, especially if the soil is moist. This is because all bugs need hydration to survive, and they can quickly get hydration from watered soil. Many bugs live deep within the soil, and they are often beneficial for the health and growth of plants.

Bugs that live in the soil are known as soil arthropods, and they come in different varieties. Some arthropods eat dead plants and fungus (which is a good thing). Others will help kill pests in and around the soil and plants.

However, sometimes they might eat away at live plants if there aren’t enough dead plants around. In this instance, they can become a problem.

You certainly will be less likely to face such a problem with a rock garden because there’ll be no reason for soil arthropods to go near rocks in the first place. Since rocks don’t harbor any moisture, you don’t have to worry about them causing any significant issues.

What Is the Point of a Rock Garden?

The point of a rock garden is to improve the style and overall look of an area. Since there are so many rock options, you can be more creative with your choices (compared to using mulch, for example). Rocks come in all shapes and sizes, so they can make gardens look unique.

Some gardens may feature rocks all over, whereas others may only include small sections with rock landscaping. Many people like to create rock gardens because they make the setup look more lively than using regular mulch. Since most mulch soils are generally dark brown, many consider them uninteresting to look at. 

Rocks help give a garden a classy, sophisticated look without requiring too much work. Plus, some plants can grow in rock gardens, particularly alpine plants. Alpine plants like dry weather and do well in cold conditions, so a rock garden is a perfect environment for them.

If plants are growing in your rock garden, you can expect to find bugs and insects. However, you shouldn’t notice many on the rocks specifically—they’ll be on the plants instead. This is because although rocks don’t attract bugs, plants often do.

Best Way To Keep Bugs Away From a Garden

The best way to keep bugs away from a garden is to regularly maintain the plants and soil. This includes watering, cutting back weeds, and using pesticides if necessary. However, it’s important to remember that not all bugs are harmful to plants.

Another way to keep bugs away from a garden is to create a rock garden or implement some rocks into your existing garden. This way, there won’t be enough moisture for bugs to thrive, so they’ll look elsewhere.

However, it’s difficult to keep bugs away from a garden entirely. As long as there is some soil or plants around, there will likely be bugs in the garden. This is a normal part of nature that you can’t avoid and is generally not harmful. 

Since bugs often help eliminate pests and eat dead plants, they can even be highly beneficial!

Does Mulch Attract Bugs?

Mulch attracts bugs because it generally contains lots of moisture. Additionally, mulch provides shelter to bugs, so many of them see it as a viable home. 

Because of these qualities, mulch attracts bugs more than rocks do. However, sometimes bugs can also get into the gaps of your rock landscaping if they’re looking for shelter. Even still, it’s less common to have bug or pest problems when you have a rock garden.

Moreover, mulch is made of decaying materials, such as leaves and compost. Many bugs feed off these kinds of materials, so it’s only natural that they’d be attracted to mulch.

Are Rocks Better Than Mulch in a Garden?

As you can imagine, it’s difficult to say which one is better than the other because it depends on what you’re looking for. Once you know what you want, you can decide whether rocks or mulch (or both) is better.

Rocks are better than mulch in a garden if you’re more focused on aesthetic appeal. Mulch is better if you’re more focused on growing plants, flowers, and trees. However, you can incorporate both into your garden for a nice balance.However, if you want to avoid bugs, rocks might be better.

Some people like to incorporate rocks into a section of their garden and then have regular soil in another area. This way, the rocks will give the garden some aesthetic appeal, while the plants will keep it looking fresh.

Furthermore, there shouldn’t be any significant bug issues in the rock section of your garden because bugs are more attracted to moist soil and plants!

Are Bugs Good for Gardens?

Bugs are good for gardens in many cases. Although not all bugs are beneficial, many of them help keep plants alive and thriving. Examples of beneficial bugs include ladybugs, spiders, and hoverflies. Bugs often help kill off other bugs that act as pests.

Bugs can be very beneficial to gardens. Without them, you may have to deal with pests on your own, and your plants would be more likely to die quicker.

Now, let’s look at some beneficial bugs in greater detail.


Ladybugs are predators because they feed off of aphids and other inconvenient plant-eaters. This is highly beneficial for plants because aphids can eat away at healthy plants, causing them to rot and die. Therefore, ladybugs protect plants while also giving a garden a colorful touch.

If you have rocks in your garden, they won’t attract ladybugs. You’ll usually only find ladybugs around soil and plants. So the only way a ladybug will be near rocky terrain is if there is a plant there too.


Like ladybugs, spiders also protect plants by eating aphids and other annoying pests. So even if you have a fear of spiders, it might make you feel better knowing they are helping to keep your plants alive and thriving!

However, one important thing to note about spiders is that they love shelter and warmth. Therefore, if a rock landscape has many gaps, it’s easy for spiders to get in and live there. 


Hoverflies are excellent pollinators and predators, similar to ladybugs. They like to feed on aphids, so they work well at protecting many garden plants. Hoverflies are not attracted to rocks, so you shouldn’t expect to find any hanging around the rocky landscape of your garden.


Rock gardens don’t attract bugs because they don’t offer any moisture. Bugs need moisture to survive, so they’re more attracted to soil. However, if there are plants growing in a rock garden, it’s more likely that there’ll be bugs present. Additionally, bugs might be attracted to gaps between rocks, especially if there is soil underneath.

But remember: bugs in a garden aren’t always a bad thing. One great benefit of bugs is that they can often act as predators, killing any pests that may endanger your plants. This helps keep them alive and thriving.

You can read my other article on decorating a rock garden without plants here: How To Decorate a Rock Garden Without Plants.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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