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What are the Best Tips for Landscaping with Boulders?

Article Details
  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Landscaping with boulders requires a good bit of advance planning due to the heaviness of these objects. Among the best tips include considering the permanency of these landscaping structures along with any necessary infrastructure before their placement begins. Creating a design based on the local availability of boulders is also important with these landscaping projects. Man-made boulders should be considered as a light-weight alternative to natural rocks. When landscaping with boulders, the main objective should be creating a natural looking structure that compliments the surrounding area.

Landscaping with boulders usually creates a somewhat permanent structure. Sufficient planning is needed to prevent unnecessary relocation of large, heavy boulders. Keep in mind that these boulders may be the only feature of the landscape during the winter months. If these rocks are going to be used as a waterfall or pond border, make sure that the necessary infrastructure is in place before positioning the rocks.

Ideas for landscaping with boulders can found in many different places. Online images, magazines, and landscaping design books can be a good place to search for ideas. Taking photographs of naturally occurring rock formations in nearby areas can sometimes be helpful when planning a design. Landscaping designs used for the entrances to upscale neighborhoods are also a good place to find ideas.

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Before making any final design plans, it is a good idea to check for the availability of boulders locally. Unlike plants and small rocks, boulders cannot be shipped easily. Shipping costs for such heavy stones are likely to be somewhat prohibitive. It is best to make design plans based on the type of boulders that are sold locally.

Boulders are typically very heavy, however, and plenty of help will be needed to put them in place. Many people choose to use lightweight, man-made boulders in place of natural rocks. Man-made boulders generally have a natural appearance and often include features such as moss or discolorations. This product is often the best option for do-it-yourself landscaping projects.

When making plans, consider the entire landscape and try to design the most natural looking structure possible. Sloping sections of the landscape are often the best location for boulders. Varying sizes of the same type of boulder usually look the best. If different types of boulders will be used, remember to balance the shapes and colors with any nearby plants.

The weight of the boulders may cause them to settle over time. Tamp the soil or gravel base before placing the boulders into position to avoid any future settling problems. Remember to position the boulders so that their best side is facing forward. Make certain that all necessary preparations have been completed before positioning the boulders to avoid the trouble of repositioning them later.

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