Adding rock features to your landscaping can add a certain look of bold elegance and sophistication that can be hard to achieve any other way. From rock pathways and retaining walls, to waterfalls and fireplaces, the options for using rock elements in landscaping are almost limitless.
Choosing the correct stone features are just as important, or maybe even more important, than considering other landscaping features such as what plants are planted where, the overall color scheme of the plants, and use of the use of the open yard space. Rock can help emphasize other features already in the yard if done correctly. The wrong rock features can make the stone elements look out of place or even look like just a “great big rock in the way”. A competent landscaping architect can help design the proper feel of a yard.
Here are some of our favorite ways to add stone elements to your landscape:
Walkways: Stone walkways vary significantly. Some walkways are compacted with sand and others may be made with compacted gravel. Flat stone pavers can be used to make a smooth sidewalk. A combination of the two is also possible with stepping stones in a pathway of small pebbles. Color, shape, size, and other attributes of the stone should all be considered.
Retaining walls: Rough stone boulders can be stacked up for retaining walls on a terraced yard. More refined cut stone can be used to lay out planter boxes or walls of walkways. While some varieties of stone may last hundreds of years, other types may not last as long as anticipated. Choosing a suitable stone is crucial, as is the use of appropriate waterproofing and water drainage behind stone walls. A poorly designed project, with unsuitable stone that is used incorrectly, can dissolve within a few short years.
Water features and sculptures: Some stones can be stacked and used as waterfalls in ponds. Birdbaths, bubbling pools, and other features can bring about a relaxing and calming atmosphere. Shaped rocks or hand-sculpted stone statues can be carefully placed around the yard to add some character that plants alone cannot provide.
Benches, fire pits, fireplaces, and counter tops: A solid stone bench along a stone walkway and under a shade tree can be placed strategically for a relaxing afternoon retreat. Stone benches surrounding a fire pit or large central fireplace can be the focal point when you’re entertaining family and friends. You can even implement granite countertops with a built-in grill and other cooking elements.
When deciding which rock elements to implement in your landscaping and outdoor living spaces, scale is important to consider. A giant boulder on a tiny front lawn will look like you live on an unfortunate building lot. An undersized rock in a large yard will look like the landscaper tipped over their wheelbarrow and forgot to clean up. Appropriate scaling in your rock features will make the difference between a stunning finished product and an amateur looking one.
Rock elements can be heavy, require hard work, and therefore can be expensive. They can also be vitally permanent. They’re a big decision, but when done correctly, you won’t regret your design.