How to incorporate large boulders and boulders into landscaping


Over the years there has been a continuing trend towards more naturalistic landscaping with the use of large boulders and boulders. But incorporating these materials on a client’s property isn’t exactly easy. This may require specialized equipment and a lot of maneuvering. Yet, when done right, the payoff can be incredible.

Blanchford Landscape Group based in Bozeman, MT, has always used a lot of boulders and large slabs of stone in their designs. In their location in southwest Montana, these types of additions really fit the region. But garden designer Mason Shaffer says the investment in a pneumatic paver lift has made those big boulders a lot easier to manage. This gave them more opportunities to incorporate boulders and rocks into their landscaping.

Creative Ways to Use Rocks in Landscaping

Natural stone is the perfect material for steps.Blanchford Landscape Group

Using boulders for a rock face or even a statement piece on its own are two ways these materials are commonly used in the landscape. Shaffer says they often build retaining walls or border walls from large boulders or boulders because it really blends into the surrounding natural landscape.

“A rock face often serves as an overflow seat around our patio designs,” Shaffer adds. “They also become a place to incorporate container gardens

Blanchford also commonly uses large rock slabs for the stairs, Shaffer says.

“Rather than using an artificial paving stone, a slab staircase integrates much more harmoniously into the natural environment,” he explains.

Custom designs with rocks

outdoor seating area on rock patioA sculpted boulder is a personalized fire element for this client of Blanchford Landscape Group.Blanchford Landscape Group

The company also got creative and custom-designed pieces. A boulder fire feature was designed and built for a mountain property that needed something very naturalistic to fit the space. The other features of the fire that customers had studied looked too modern.

Blanchford also used boulders to create unique bodies of water. A rock carved out with bubbling water can add a natural look to the landscape. A waterfall without a pond can also be an attractive addition. With this feature, the water flow disappears into an underground reservoir.

Shaffer says they’ve also incorporated landscape lighting into the rocks so it’s somewhat “hidden,” but still offers the functionality of lighting up the space.

“With landscape lighting, less is more,” he says. “This is true everywhere, but especially in areas like ours where the night sky is a big part of the area’s appeal. The last thing we want to do is pollute the sky with light and take that sight away from it. “

Preserving the natural habitat

Ultimately, Shaffer says their use of boulders and boulders go a long way in preserving the natural environment that is so important to Montana homeowners.

“The use of natural materials goes a long way in creating a design that blends in perfectly with the surrounding habitat,” he says. “It’s always a very important goal for us.

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