Are you thinking about including rocks and boulders in your landscape? If you’ve looked around, you’ve probably come to appreciate that a rock is not just a rock. At Southwest Boulder & Stone, our inventory includes boulders of every shape, color and size you could ever imagine; Baja Cresta, Desert Marble, Apache Sunset, Malibu, Palm Springs Gold, Santa Fe, Sierra… Round, Craggy, even large slab-like shapes.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
Boulders, (anything larger than 16”), are generally available in two styles:
- Round boulders are usually water washed or river run granite and surface stones of usually granite and sandstone worn over the eons by wind, sand and rain.
- Angular boulders have jagged, blasted edges and flat faces. They are columnar, boxy or rectangular shapes and may be composed of but not limited to granite, quartzite, sandstone and basalt.
Choosing the Color of your boulder may be the hardest part of the process. Contrary to what you might think, boulders are available in many colors, including various shades of pink, gold, brown, gray, tan, green and every combination in between. To make things a littler easier perhaps, not all colors are available each style, so finding a combination of colors and shape/style that suits your needs will narrow your choices.
The next ‘big’ question is, “How Big?” This is may be the most important factor to consider. If the boulders you choose are too small, they may be lost once surrounding plant material reaches it’s mature size or your boulders may look insignificant compared to other features of the landscape. If you choose boulders that are too big, they may dwarf other landscape features or just look out of place.
So how do you determine what size boulder will work best for your landscape? Here’s a simple way to “size up” your landscape rock. Before coming out to choose your boulders, fill plastic trash bags of various sizes with crumpled newspaper creating ‘boulders’ of the size you think would work into your landscape design. Place these in the areas where you want to use the boulders. This will give you a very good idea of what various size boulders will look like in scale as well as how many boulders you need and where you actually want them placed. And you can move them around as much as you like!
A good rule of thumb is placing your boulders in odd numbers and groupings. And vary your sizes.
Just as important as the color and shape of your stone is the look of stability and permanence in your garden. The general rule is to place approximately 1/3 of the boulder below grade. However, this isn’t always necessary – you just want to achieve the look that your boulders are laying naturally in the soil – not sitting on top.
Now, how do you get your boulders into place? Once you’ve determined the shape, color, size and quantity of your boulders, Delivery and Placement is the next question. If the boulders are small enough you may be able to use a wheelbarrow or one of our ‘Rock Dollies’, (similar to an appliance dolly only bigger and designed to move trees). For larger boulders, as long as access is available, Southwest Boulder & Stone’s experienced crane operators will deliver and place the boulders in your landscape, twisting and turning each piece to meet your exact specifications. For more information on our cranes and how we place boulders, visit our FAQ’s page or find us on Facebook where you can scroll through pictures, videos, and much more!
Good luck and remember, we are just a phone call away!