Using Boulders to Elevate your Landscaping

Homeowners have a variety of preferences when it comes to their landscaping in terms of image, statement, theme, and aesthetic appeal. All of which are realized through the0creative use of a variety of landscaping options available. One such option is the use of boulders.

Granted, boulders have a couple downsides. They are very heavy which makes them potentially expensive and because they’re so heavy they’re not very flexible. Once you choose its placement, a boulder pretty much needs to stay there unless you don’t mind a lot of additional heavy lifting.

But, aside from that, boulders also offer many benefits beyond their appearance and function.

Here are 5 main benefits of boulders: 

  1. Boulders add visual appeal – used as a focal point, boulders add height and texture, particularly in flower beds.
  2. Boulders protect slopes from erosion
  3. Boulders can be used to function in retaining walls similarly to bricks or concrete walls
  4. Boulders, when local, can blend your yard into the natural environment around your property
  5. Boulders are maintenance free!

If you find that the benefits of boulder outweigh the downsides, here are 7 things you can do get the most from them:  

Bury at least a third of the boulder. Before you place it, the soil should be dug out to accommodate a third of the boulder being buried.

Identify the rock faces of the boulders that are most attractive or intriguing.  Place those faces in the location where they will be seen, not hidden; for instance, toward your walkway. You can also highlight the most appealing rock faces with creative lighting.

Position rocks in groups, ideally in odd amounts – 3, 5 etc. The idea is to make the array appear as close as possible to how they would appear in their natural environment. Blend different types of rocks and boulders rather than group ones that all look the same.

However, make an effort to stay within a similar color scheme if your overall landscaping is of a natural stone theme. You want the boulders to beautifully blend in, not stick out as if they really don’t belong.

Place plants at the bases of the boulders. Plants of all kinds – ground cover, flowers or shrubs – will give the edges of the boulders a softer look. Another added benefit of doing this is that the boulders protect the plants and help them retain more moisture.

In your plant beds, use mulch to spotlight individual boulders that are not part of an array of boulders.

If you’re looking for some elevation- or additional elevation – in your yard, boulders will provide it. Boulders, when coupled with things like mulch, flowers, grasses and soil – literally heighten the illusion of elevation.