Using boulders on your property is not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also help create boundaries. If you have a flat yard, you’re helping add height and texture. However, when moving boulders to a new location, it can be challenging to make them look native to their new surroundings.
For example, if you don’t integrate and plan your flower beds or other landscape details, a random boulder will look out of place. You can find native stones at local stone quarries. Because they can weigh several hundred or thousands of pounds, you must prepare the ground for their delivery.
One of the best ways of preventing erosion on your property is by using rocks and boulders. Not only are you boosting your home’s curb appeal, but these landscaping features will also retain moisture in your garden beds as well. We’re going to discuss using landscape bed boulders for anchoring your landscape bed. That way, you know for sure how to integrate these landscaping materials to achieve the best possible results.
About Landscaping with Boulders
Many landscape architects use boulders for anchoring designs. When plants are in groupings by rocks, this instantly creates a natural focal point. Even if your home is new, the addition of boulders anchoring the landscape makes it appear timeless.
Landscaping with boulders imparts an aura of weight and age. They accomplish this by elevating the human-made materials and surrounding plants. You can also help bring harmony to your garden by using boulders. For example, when a stone is well-set, it breaks up irregular edges between beds and lawns.
If you’re experiencing landscaping issues, adding boulders might be the answer. For example, your land may have a slop that you’re struggling to utilize. Adding landscape bed boulders can act as a retainer while creating pockets for planting ground covers, ferns, or ornamental grasses.
Do you think your entry walkway is boring? If so, use boulders set on either side to act as columns. That way, they’re elevating what you believe is a drab entrance. You can also use the broken face of a boulder as an exciting feature to illuminate your property.
What Type of Boulder is Best?
Before you can anchor your landscape with boulders, you must select the right ones. Setting boulders involves understanding a few principles first.
- Select the biggest boulders you can manage
- Don’t let the size of the boulder intimidate you when you see it at the quarry
- Boulders always look smaller when set in your landscape
- Always bury the base of the boulder several inches underground
- Don’t let the boulder look like it dropped out of the sky
- Burying a portion of it makes it look natural and permanent
- Always think of boulders in groupings
- Set several of them together when anchoring your landscape
It may be useful to hire a landscape professional for setting your boulders. The main reason is that large rocks require heavy-duty equipment for placing them. Using a landscape professional also means they have a keen eye for the placement of the boulder.
Planning to Anchor Your Landscape Bed with Boulders
The next phase of the process, after the selection process, is developing a plan for your landscape bed boulders. You may have a lot of landscaping ideas using rocks and boulders, but they can’t come to fruition without a plan.
- Using graph paper, draw a rough sketch of your landscape plan. That way, you can test where you would like the boulders to be throughout different locations of your landscape bed without having to move anything physically.
- Prepare the ground before the boulders arrive by digging out the soil. Remember, you’re burying a portion of the stone to help make it look natural following placement. Some rocks require burying up to one-third or one-half of them due to their size.
- You must pack the soil securely around the base of the boulder to prevent it from moving or shifting. If you’re working with a rock on a hill, anchor it to prevent it from slipping.
- Prevent your boulders from looking foreign by placing them in a natural position. That way, their most-attractive side is facing outward.
- It’s best to use more massive boulders as the focal point when anchoring your garden bed.
- Complete the look of the space by adding other rocks in a variety of sizes, as well as native plants.
Don’t Forget About Scale
Even though the recommendation is to use the biggest landscape bed boulders you can manage, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be to scale regarding the rest of your landscape bed. What does this mean? Look at the scale of the space with which you’re working. Then, take into consideration the size of the overall space, the boulder will be contributing to beyond that of the landscape bed. You may need a professional’s help in this area.
Under most circumstances, homeowners will select a boulder that’s too small. They’ll make these selections because they believe the weight of larger rocks makes them too expensive for delivery and placement. However, this isn’t the case.
Over time, if the scale of the rocks you’re choosing is wrong, you won’t be happy with how it’s anchoring your landscape. Therefore, you’ll likely end up selecting the larger one later on and completing this project over again. Not only is this a costly error, but it’s also time-consuming.
Think About Arrangement Options
When you’re landscaping with rocks, you’ll find there are a wide variety of arrangement options. This reality can make using landscape bed boulders in your design overwhelming. However, this doesn’t have to be your experience.
Think about when you see rocks, stones, and boulders in nature. You rarely see them alone, correct? So, that means your landscape design shouldn’t contain one boulder, rock, or stone. That wouldn’t make sense, and it wouldn’t look natural.
Instead, think about your arrangement similarly to how you see natural groupings. For example, you’ll typically find a large boulder in nature with several other small rocks. That kind of arrangement would work well for anchoring your garden bed.
NOTE: It never looks good to have a single boulder in a landscape or lawn design. Doing this makes it look like construction material is on your property, and you’re waiting to use it for something else. The main reason is that there’s no other context. You must include additional elements to help it look natural. To help avoid this look, arrange boulders in odd-numbered groupings.
Are You Looking for a Natural Fence?
Instead of completing a fence installation, you can line your property with boulders. Use these large stones that are up to three or four feet tall. Make sure you’re placing them at least one foot apart from each other. That way, you’re creating boundary lines while simultaneously allowing safe passage. This natural fence is optimal if you’re living on a busy street and would prefer not to have a privacy fence.
Using Plants and Nesting Options
When adding rocks, boulders, and stones to your landscape bed, you’re creating numerous opportunities for planting. Look at natural opportunities to see how plants are growing along the edges of these massive stones. Then, use those cues for how to incorporate plantings into your landscaping.
Because access moisture is available under boulders and they offer protection from the elements, these are prime areas for planting shrubs and perennials. These plants naturally anchor this massive stone while simultaneously adding natural beauty.
Consider the Boulder’s Shape
As you look at the various landscape bed boulders available, the first thing you’re going to notice is the wide variety of shapes. Here are some options you can consider:
- Arching: these are oddly shaped stones that overhang either on the right or left. It’s also referred to as a “thrusting” stone. Landscape architects use it to add stability and strength to the corners of a stone bridge or when planting at an angle.
- Flat: this stone is typically less than one foot tall, but its length and width had unlimited options. You’ll find that, above all, it has a flat surface on the top.
- Low-vertical: these stones have a width that’s greater than they are tall. These massive stones typically in use as a companion to tall-vertical boulders.
- Tall-vertical: like the low-vertical, it’s taller than its width. You’ll typically find them as the focal point in a landscape’s composition.
- Reclining: when you see these stones, you’ll find they resemble a reclining animal. The main reason is that their shape mimics the animal’s head on one end and hips narrowing at the other.
Looking through these options will help you figure out which stone will work best as your focal point, as well as what to use as complementary rocks.
Using landscape bed boulders to anchor your landscape bed creates natural beauty, curb appeal, and natural boundaries. You’re also creating opportunities for adding beautiful perennials and shrubs. If you have concerns regarding moving and placing these massive stones, consult with a professional landscape architect. They’ll also help you determine which stones are best for your landscape.