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How to Make Landscaping Rocks Look Wet

Landscaping rocks often add beauty and character to your lawn. Nowadays people are more focused on creating zen-looking gardens that create a calm and pristine atmosphere around your house.

Many other design elements in modern gardens require the use of rocks. If you pull up garden and lawn designs you will definitely see rocks of different shapes, colors, and designs. But, one other thing that you will notice is that most of these rocks are shiny.

Natural rocks are not wet and shiny all the time. So how do you get our rocks to look wet? The simple answer is a sealant. Spraying the rocks with a water-based silicone spray can give them a perpetual wet and shiny look.

But that is only one way of doing it. There are a ton of other ways of achieving the wet shiny look on your landscape rocks that we will discuss. Let’s go.

Prepare Your Rocks

It all begins with the first step – the prep. If you want your rocks to retain the wet shine firstly you need to prepare them well. Rocks that just came out of the ground will not get the shiny effect that you desire on them.

So the first step is to clean them. If you have a long bed of rocks, or tons of rocks in the walkway of your garden, cleaning them by hand might not be an option. However, we recommend going into the rock crevices with a discarded toothbrush for a cleaner result.

But, just for starters, get an acid wash meant for rocks and stones, and dilute it 1:1 with water. Then take a spray bottle and spray it all over the rock bed. Use a soft-bristled broom to sweep the acid wash over all of the rocks for the best results.

Make sure to do this when the sun is not directly overhead. 

Once the stone cleaner has been brushed all over the rocks, Let it sit for a while. After the specified time according to the cleaner you’re using, take a brush and scrub away at the rocks.

This will make sure you get the rocks as clean as possible. Then go ahead and rinse them with water. You have to then soak up the extra water with a mop. 

By this stage your rock should already be very clean, all that is left is polishing the rock and sealing it. 

Polishing The Rock

To get that wet slick shine on your rocks you need to polish them well enough. Many people buy rock tumblers just for this purpose. But that is quite impractical when you think about a bulk of rocks. 

Instead you can polish them with sandpaper. You should start out with medium-grit sandpaper and move to finer grains as you go. Focus on achieving the perfect smoothness first. 

Once you have sanded your rock down to the perfect desired smoothness, it is time to apply sustainable products. There are different kinds of products you can use for this purpose, let’s have a look, shall we?

Different Products That Make Rocks Look Wet

To understand what kind of product you need to shine your rocks, let’s talk a little bit about the science behind it. So, the goal is to shrink up the pores in the rocks.

The sealant or any kind of product that you put on top of the rock is supposed to penetrate the pores so it looks wet and then having the sealant on top will make sure the water doesn’t seep out and the rock stays looking wet perpetually. 

Oil Solutions

Now, oil solutions are a great, often cheap solution when you are kind of doing rock prep. But, there’s a problem with oil-based sprays and sealants. It’s that they turn the rock yellow, and it stains the rock over time. 

You can even use natural oils like jojoba if you are on a budget but this will have a very short-lived effect. So, we do not recommend this method for the permanent glossing of rocks.

Polyurethane Coating

Now polyurethane is the best middle ground when it comes to shiny rocks. Water-based polyurethane will go a long way in helping your rocks stay healthy as well as shiny. 

The staining problem is virtually nonexistent with water-based sealants. And they give a more natural sort of shine to your rocks. 

Resin Coating

Resin is the superior coating if all, we would say. It gives a mega shiny, almost mirror-like finish to your rocks. Many people do not like having that ultra-shiny glossy effect on their rocks as it can look quite artificial.

But these glossy rocks look pristine beside water beds and decorative structures. If you have a rain garden or even flower bed that you want to bring attention to, nothing beats resin-coated rocks for that purpose.

DIY Solutions to Make Rocks Look Wet

“Can I DIY a rock sealant?” is a question we get very frequently. It is also a question that we dread. To put it simply, of course, you can DIY it. You can DIY anything if you put your mind to it. But, that doesn’t mean you should always be doing it.

Especially with rock sealants and polishes, they often contain toxins so we do not recommend trying to shake up your own personal recipe of a rock shiner. 

But, if you are just doing it for the fun of it, or for a children’s project; something that doesn’t require large-scale polishing, there are a few things you can try.

Car Wax

Car wax is a quick fix if you want to do a fun little polishing session. It is definitely not the easiest to work with, and you need some serious elbow grease to get things done. But, it is definitely capable of getting the job done.

For this to work, your rock needs to be slick. It needs to be as smooth as a baby’s bottom. You need to sand your rock to get it as smooth as you can. 

On the final smoothened rock, put just a small touch of the wax and get rubbing. Use a cloth to buff in the car wax. The more you buff, the shinier the rock will get.

Put some effort into it and the end result will be a pile of shiny goodness.

Clear Nail Polish

Clear nail polish is the easiest way to go about this. A clear coating of your favorite transparent nail polish will give you a reflective rock. It will, of course, not be the same as an industrial polish. But if you place it near a light source, or in a place that gets tons of sunlight, it will have some shine.

But, with clear nail polish, it will chip very easily. Especially because rocks are not meant for fragile handling. So, it is not a very sustainable solution.

Final Verdict

And that brings us to the end of our rock polishing journey. We hope you found your ideal way of how you can make your landscape rocks look wet. This can be a fun little project you do with your kids over the summer or just a hobby you pick up in order to make your garden look unique. Many people have made a fine buck out of polishing rocks and selling them online. Once you get the hang of the craft, the possibilities are endless. Have fun!


Can I use vineg

You are on the right track of using an acid component to shine your rocks, but vinegar alone won’t do much. However, you can combine vinegar and baking soda to clean your rock thoroughly to give it a cleaner appearance.

Can I polish rocks by hand?

You most certainly can. And we even recommend it. By hand polishing, you can achieve a level of finesse and detail that you will miss from a piece of machinery. But, when you have a bulk of rocks to polish, hand polishing can be an impractical approach.

Can I polish any rock?

Yes, you can pretty much polish any rock you want to. But all rocks won’t have the same effect. Softer rocks will have a better and more attractive result.

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