Landscaping with Small Boulders

If you want to give your plot a natural aspect, landscaping with small rocks will give your outside area a striking new appearance. There are many ingenious methods to introduce an amazing sense of scale and form, from serene Zen-inspired designs to useful retaining borders and massive stone monoliths.

Although moving a little boulder into your yard or planning a whole garden around one that is already there may sound radical, it is nothing new for people to be fascinated by and venerate these natural building blocks.

Draw Shapes With Boulders

Discovering a spiral or circle of stones in a garden has a certain allure. It draws you in and entices you to explore the surroundings and the nearby flora despite being deliberately created to be interesting and intriguing. The stones themselves give the whole design a timeless feel because they are present year after year, through all the seasons, while the plants and flowers around them change and deteriorate.

Examine potential locations for your boulders on your plot. It might be a clearing where you can use creative landscaping to encircle trees, a grassy area with a view, or even a section of a patio.

Designer Jo Fenton states that the rocks and surrounding cobble circle in this Fenton Roberts(opens in new tab) project “are meant to bring emphasis and order into what would otherwise be a wide area of planting in tough growth circumstances beneath mature oak trees.”

When the photo was taken, the garden had just been established, but the low ground cover plants within the cobble circle were meant to expand out and encircle the Acer tree, which will also get much bigger. By putting in a mix of perennials and shrubs with much taller flowers beyond the circle, we created a contrast. The circle area will develop into a serene, meditative spot nestled amid the larger planting after it has reached maturity.

Add Some Bling

You may appreciate the look without having a sizable rock garden. You can experiment with mulches and plant placement in a tiny rock garden to make changes over time. The gold-tinted “Angelina” sedum (Sedum rupestre “Angelina”) and prickly agave plants in this extravagant rock garden are surrounded by a tumbled glass mulch.

Create a Dry River Bed

In addition to being a lovely addition to your landscape, establishing a dry river bed can help if your property has drainage problems or sloping regions where run-off is a problem. This variant uses rivers of various widths to make a stable substrate that is further stabilized by dense vegetation.

Dry Creek Bed

Welsh quartz stones at Bainbridge Island, Washington, define this rock garden. The dry creek bed is made up of smaller boulders and stones that have been strewn about. Color is added by various shrubs and grasses.

Embed Boulders Into Patios And Pavers

A terrific method to make your patio feel natural and peaceful is to carefully lay pebbles and stones there and around it. A seamless transition from the rock garden to the patio will not only make the area appear more unified and designed, but it can also make it feel bigger.

Along with producing an intriguing play of textures, combining modern plank pavement concepts with shingle, cobbles, and boulders also makes the distinction between functional paved parts and planted areas less distinct.

As described by Amanda Buckland of Greencube Design, “Boulders and a variety of Scottish pebbles of all sizes lend a natural sculptural aesthetic and structure to this little garden.” Within this courtyard garden, they serve as stepping stones. Do not make the error of putting them on the surface; instead, we bury 30% of them to make them appear natural, like an outcrop.

Low maintenance ground cover plants and durable, slow-growing grasses provide height to the landscaping and require very little upkeep all year long.

Find Your Zen

The first rock garden was a Zen garden in Japan. The calming environment of a Zen garden is greatly enhanced by the use of rocks. A Zen garden creates a space for reflection and meditation with huge stones to set the scene and pebbles or gravel for walks. Evergreens and plants with prominent seasonal beauty, like azaleas or Japanese maples, are frequently used in plantings.

Rock Garden with Creeping Groundcovers

Pea gravel, larger river rocks, and an assortment of creeping groundcovers can be used to create a simple yet beautiful garden design. Choose groundcovers like creeping phlox, creeping sedums, dianthus, and creeping bellflowers/campanula that appreciate good drainage and don’t require a lot of water. All of these perennial plants are simple to divide and deadhead.

Bubbling Boulder

Install a water feature in your backyard that is surrounded by various-sized river boulders to give the area a zen-like atmosphere. Make sure to give your rock garden’s water feature the attention it needs to seem natural when you add it.

Incorporate Boulders As Impromptu Seats And Perches

Incorporating boulder landscaping into a hard landscaping design can be useful in addition to making a striking design statement. They can influence how people utilize the outdoor space by doing double duty as practical side tables, ad hoc sitting, diving plinths, and even play areas.

According to Gavin McWilliam of McWilliam Studio, “Boulders run throughout this concept to provide casual chairs, diving plinths, and sculptural forms combining with the intended flora” (opens in new tab). The terraces and the boulders were both made of Crossland Hill stone. These were hand-selected, sawn into shape, and brought to the site where they were mounted with the help of a spider crane and some expert scribing by the team.

Rockin’ Some Color

Sometimes a rock garden has a more significant impact, such as when it aids in catching and reducing storm runoff from hardscape elements like this raised patio. In this rugged scene, large, wide containers add a much-needed dash of color. King Tut’s towering Egyptian papyrus is tall enough to decorate the terrace with its umbrella-topped stalks. The container garden is finished off with a skirt of ColorBlaze Dipt in Wine coleus, Superbells Dreamsicle calibrachoa, and fiber optic grass.

Neutral Stone and Color

Russian sage and red bee balm are planted in this pollinator-friendly garden, and the gravel and granite boulders in this seating area provide as a neutral backdrop for the vibrant red chairs.

Make An Impact With Stone-Filled Gabions

A sturdy and textured wall with accents of various colours of red, plum, and rust is made of galvanized wire gabions filled with reddish Bayfield stone. Gabions can be filled with rocks and boulders of any shape or size, as well as planted with succulents and creepers for variation. They are inexpensive and ideal as a solo or retaining wall.

They are excellent for supporting slopes and terraces and allow rainfall to drain through, which is crucial, especially in exposed or densely populated locations or climates susceptible to tropical downpours.

Locally quarried stone is always the most economical because it is frequently accessible and less expensive to transport, but if you’re looking for inexpensive landscaping ideas and really want to keep material costs low, why not fill the middle of each gabion basket with bricks, hardcore, or broken paving and use your chosen stone to clad the visible sides and top?

Nothing can be used as a cover in this plan, according to designer Karl Harrison. “The materials, like the building’s architecture, have a natural synergy that was reduced to its fundamental essentials. A statement of function above sympathetic design is conveyed by the combination of rocks, steel, unfinished wood, and concrete in its most basic form.

Calming Streams

Want to design a water feature that is wholly original? Try using rocks in your landscaping, like in this scene from nature. It uses stones from New Mexico that are a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes to produce a calming waterfall or stream appearance.

Combine River Rocks and Clumping Grasses

A straightforward, low-maintenance, and eye-catching garden design incorporates clumping native grasses with river rock gravel and small stones. This one features edging made of smooth pea gravel and rocks, with rougher boulders positioned amid the plants to add texture.

Focal Point Boulders

Garden beds that float in the midst of the lawn like an island or garden beds that line the driveway are frequent examples of front yard landscaping. A large boulder or two can anchor the area and provide extra dimension and interest to your landscaping. Rockland gives you the choice to personalize your boulder by adding metal letters or numbers for your street name or house number. Select from black, gold, or silver. Additionally, the numbers can be illuminated to make them easier to see at night.

Blooms by the Bunch

It’s difficult to match the blooming power of creeping phlox for a springtime display. This ground-hugging perennial is a great option for rock gardens because it opens pink, lavender, and white blooms. The bushes azalea and hypericum are among the other flowers in this rock garden. The key to giving a rock garden a natural look is to mix different stone sizes.

Design Rock Garden Terraces

The inclusion of large rocks in a natural terrace works nicely. Your terrace will look attractive in every season if you plant perennials that flourish without a lot of your assistance.

Terraces can be useful in more ways than merely from an aesthetic one. In hilly locations, rocks can stop topsoil loss and assist keep the dirt in place.

Arrange the Boulders in Different Ways

Always keep in mind that no two boulders will ever resemble the same while landscaping with large rocks. Use various boulder shapes and position them such that different sides are facing up to imitate what nature would have done naturally.

Plant a Wall

A stone wall is the ideal location for setting up a rock garden with a lot of elegance. Before erecting the stone walls on either side of the mound, create a raised bed of mounded dirt to achieve the same appearance. A variety of succulents, including agave, sedum, cactus, and hens-and-chicks, are present in this rock garden.

Enhance Small Bodies Of Water

If you already have a pond in your yard, you can enhance and define it by placing big boulders around the perimeter. Why not dig a pond if you don’t already have one? Water features are great additions to a landscape.

You must bury large rocks deeper than halfway into the soil for them to be most effective as pond edging. The rocks will look more natural as a result. Securely arrange the rocks so that they surround the pond’s edge.

Having rocks around your pond will benefit you by attracting animals like birds, frogs, and turtles.