Using river rock (rounded rocks) to simulate a dry creek running out of the house, through the front yard, and to the street has become very popular in desert cities. However, other than colour contrast with ground cover decorative rock, it serves no purpose and looks phony.
The dry creek should blend in better and look more natural. It should also serve some water retention purposes, which could possibly support higher water use plants. Using river rock in the landscape can be a good landscaping idea. However, it should serve multiple purposes, not just look good. Desert washes (dry creeks) are very complex landscaping devices that change over time. They have varying widths, stones of all sizes, and plenty of sand near the end of the wash. Specialized plants, such as Mesquite trees, may grow in and on the edge of the wash to take advantage of the seasonal water. Deserts washes attract a hierarchy of predator and prey.
|Water loving plants grow near desert washes.||Rocks of many sizes and shapes in washes.||Some Desert Washes are Sandy.|
Some general ideas for using river rock in the landscape are make it look natural, use different sizes and shapes, make sure the wet lands area serves some water retention purpose, and use varying widths to your dry creek. Here's a good example of a landscaped river rock dry creek that has many turns, mixes with other types of stone, and has low pockets that retain rain water on site.
There are many ideas for river rock landscaping and you may have your own. This slide show should help trigger more ideas of how you can design with river rock in your landscape. You can view the slide show full screen.