Monday, April 22, 2013


Rocks are the easiest sculptural elements to incorporate into a garden, creating natural-looking landscapes. They add color, contrast, interest, and require no maintenance.

When strategically placed they will keep vehicles from driving over driveway edges and harming plants or grass located in areas susceptible to damage. Large boulders can be incorporated into the landscape providing a great deal of aesthetic appeal.
Two Ton Rock Placed As Outcropping
Now is the perfect time to design and place landscape boulders. Arrange around plants to determine where they will fit best. They come in all sizes and colors, from giant Stonehenge-type slabs to tiny pebbles the size of peas in colors including brown, tan, red, pink, blue, green, white, black and gray.

The big concern with rocks is their weight. You will need equipment and assistance to transport and place them. Positioning is very important; everyone involved must be extremely patient and willing to take as much time as necessary. Sculptural boulder elements can be expensive to buy, transport and place, limiting your use of them in the landscape.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when adding boulders, rocks or smaller stones to your property.

• In nature, rocks repeat naturally. If you have only one rock outcropping in your yard, add more to create a theme. Vary sizes and spread them throughout garden beds. Use two to three per bed at most, arranged in random patterns simulating nature.
• Allow large specimens to complement nearby plants. Smooth flat rocks are natural seats.
• Measure the area where they're going so you know what size to look for. Quarries and stone yards often let you choose your own.
• Select landscape stone as carefully as your plants. Check size, color, texture and shape. Be innovative in utilizing specimens. Stagger largest ones for partial screening and a dramatic effect. Install in the soil as steps, using large flat slabs horizontally arranged on slopes.
• Smaller rocks can be used for low retaining walls creating charming additions and a manicured look to rustic, natural gardens. Flat rocks, up to a foot or so wide, can be stacked without mortar for low walls.
Sitting Walls
• Rockscaping enhances water features like small ponds. Create waterfalls in natural or artificial streams or ponds.

• Imply a riverbed and establish an effective, ornamental drainage swale. Cover soil surface of a meandering U-shaped or V- shaped depression with consistent aggregate material like rounded river gravel. Vary rock sizes for a natural stream design.
Drainage Swale
Consider these books,, for working with landscape stone:
“Listening to Stone: Hardy Structures, Perilous Follies and other Tangles with Nature,” by Dan Snow (Artisan, 2008)
“In the Company of Stone: The Art of the Stone Wall,” by Dan Snow (Artisan, 2001)

Search the Internet for other books on using stone in the landscape.

©2013 Joel M. Lerner
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Editor, Sandra Leavitt Lerner

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