Using Boulders in the Landscape
Natural stone is among one of the most beautiful additions to any landscape. Using it as a landscape element is very common and very popular in our region of the US. Since the Lehigh Valley is nestled between several mountainous areas, where rivers pass through, access to boulders and other natural stone is easy and affordable.
Boulders add a natural touch to any landscape. Using them as part of the landscape makes sense for our region because boulders can be found naturally not too far from the Lehigh Valley. The only reason boulders wouldn’t be used is because a particular garden or landscape is going by a particular theme. For example, a farm or ranch home in a flat valley area where the coastal plain begins in Bucks Count or in New Jersey may be less likely to add boulders. A region such as the Poconos may have landscapes planned where boulders dominate the design.
Boulders can be used for a variety of reasons. They can be used to build walls for steeper slopes or to help retain areas where slopes are less dramatic. They are an excellent choice for filling in gaps between plantings. They can be used as focal point or incorporated into a focal point area that has plants or a water feature. They are also great to use in the forefront of beds or lawns as a boundary stone that will prevent plow trucks from going onto your property.
The size and shape of the boulder will depend how and where it should be used to best fit into the landscape. Larger boulders should be used for steep slopes and along driveways or near roadways. Flatter boulders, whether large or small, are better for stacking when building walls or tier and stack them to use them as steppers. Smaller boulders can fit into areas among plants to fill in gaps. Grouping the boulders in odd numbers, just like you would with plants, makes them look like they fit in more naturally.
When adding boulders into the landscape you should make sure that they are nested into the terrain, almost like being planted. Whether it be against a slope or in flat planting beds, boulders should never sit on top of the terrain like is was hand-placed there. The area where boulders go should be dug out in a way where the boulder can be perfectly positioned into the specific area.
Check out some of the ways we use boulders throughout our landscapes: