You have seen landscape boulders in parks and business locations. Perhaps you have seen these giant rocks in front of a neighbor’s house. But how does one go about acquiring landscape boulders? And how are they arranged and installed? Can you enhance your yard with these large rocks? In this edition of the School of Rock, we will answer those questions and others. This guide will show you that landscape boulders are the essential element your outdoor space is missing. Read on and become bolder with boulders!

Join us as we look into why landscape boulders are the yard element you didn’t know you needed

We’ll cover:

  • Why landscape boulders enhance your front or backyard
  • Uses for decorative boulders
  • Differences in large landscaping rocks
  • How to choose the right sized boulders
  • Crucial tips on arranging and installing boulders (and how to avoid common mistakes)
  • The most popular boulder choices

Large Landscape Rocks Are the Center of Your Outdoor Design

Landscape Boulders can serve as focal points to anchor a landscape and are also commonly used as natural seating, for instance. When you have decorative boulders installed in your landscape you add height and texture to an otherwise flat space. Remember to use an odd number of boulders for an organic, natural look. If you use an even number of rocks, it will look “landscaped” and artificial. Our best-selling landscape boulders are the angular Gray Cresta and the round, smooth Sierra.

Draw the Eye and Create Interest

Boulders elevate and highlight your landscape

With nearly endless applications, these large hand-picked rocks usually serve as a focal point in your landscape. Because of this, they serve well as a height-adding backdrop for any foliage you need to highlight. Also, a large boulder adds gravitas and permanence to your design, creating a sense of calm eternality to the space you create. After all, these big landscape stones have been around for millions of years!

Angular Versus Rounded Boulders

Angular-style large rocks are just that, angular, chunky, with lumpy or jagged edges and sides. They are usually created and are struck, chiseled, or cut out of the ground. Rounded large boulders are usually smooth, with few angles, edges, or extraneous shapes. These are “found” stones and are round because of natural erosion and weathering. In other words, round boulders are sort of like giant pebbles. Depending on your landscape design, you will want to adjust the style, shape, size, and type of large rock to match.

“Boulders add dimension and depth to any landscape design”

– Michelle McLeod

Landscape Boulders Must be Set Down Lower Than You Think

When you visit one of our rock yards, it’s easy to think that one of these big rocks is big enough at first glance. Yet anywhere you look, natural boulders don’t sit on top of the landscape. They are always buried a few inches to a few feet. Therefore we recommend digging low enough to bury a third of the boulder. When you set your stones in the pit you create it will ensure a natural look.

Because of this, we recommend you buy varieties that are larger than you think you need. Using a larger boulder will make certain that your choice of rock will always end up sized properly once installed. It also makes it look as though you designed the landscape around them. That perception leads to the rest of your landscape looking as though mother nature designed it. That is usually the goal for more natural landscape styles.

Arrange Your Boulders in a Variety of Ways

Try to randomize the setting of boulders so that the tops are asymmetrical in height from each other. Different heights will look great, but keep in mind that different angles can look unnatural. After all, if the large rocks are jutting out in completely different directions, it will be obvious that someone placed them there.

However, there are a few exceptions to this. One exception to this is our bench boulders, which you want to be more or less level for greatest seating comfort. Another exception would be if you wish to use one single large stone as the main focal point, or even as the centerpiece of your landscape design. Make sure you have a plan for each boulder before it is set. Wise planning is crucial for a great result. We advise that you incorporate them into your landscape plans or drawings ahead of time. After all, it is hard to rearrange them once the heavy equipment is gone!

Pro Tip:

Use trash bags inflated to different sizes and place them where you would want to place your boulder. This will allow you to get a sense of size and scale before you purchase.

Popular Decorative Boulders

Our best-selling landscape boulders are the chunky Gray Cresta and the round, smooth Sierra. Other popular large boulders include the Kino Blue and the Gambler’s Gold. We have over 43 main varieties of large rocks to choose from!

Landscape Boulder Inspiration

For more resources and information regarding how to landscape with boulders, Check out our other School of Rock guides. We recommend you start with our video series, Landscaping with Boulders episode 1 and episode 2.

For other resources and inspirations to help with your new landscape boulder project, start with 5 Landscape Rock Projects to Transform Your Yard. Then we recommend you visit our project inspirations page. Whether you are creating a water-wise landscape or transforming your front yard, view the projects and get bold inspiration for designing your landscape with boulders!