Yes, covering areas of a yard or garden with rock is one of the best plans for low-maintenance. To ensure the least amount of work to keep it looking attractive though, it must be installed correctly:
1.Pull out all vegetation, then apply weed killer on remaining roots and weeds.
2.Lay down quality brand, heavy weight landscaping fabric. The thicker the pieces and the more the individual pieces overlap, the more effective it will be in preventing weeds from popping through.
3.Cover completely with rock or landscaping gravel of your choice.
Rock is not light by any means. Moving and arranging requires a strong back, a great deal of bending, and a certain amount of physical agility. Risk of becoming injured is high if you are not familiar with doing these types of projects.
If you are planning to continue living at the property for some time, then the cost of hiring out to complete the job will be money well spent in the long run.
The majority of establish homes here has gravel to help keep down dirt. There is more up keep with weeds unless you have a good black plastic layer between your ground and rock. We’re shoveling 1/3 of our backyard up so we can put in some grass. Can’t wait for that to happen because any type of wind makes the dirt come into our home.
Yes “weed cloth” or landscaping cloth is essential.
In addition to rocks (which can get expensive) I would consider adding a big piece of driftwood, a bird bath and some kinetic or wind-blown yard art.
Check out a book on Japanese gardening for techniques on how to set the large stones, how to design a balanced composition of textures and colors, to be viewed at all angles.
Look into Xeriscaping - uses low maintenance native plants.