11 Helpful Ideas for Landscaping With Rocks And Boulders | Pictures, Tips, & Inspiration

OKC boulder retaining wall

11 Helpful Ideas for Landscaping With Rocks And Boulders

Are you looking to give your outdoor space a touch of high-quality luxury and sophistication? Rocks and boulders are a great way to freshen up the landscaping around your outdoor space, bringing in a touch of nature while providing amazing visual appeal. If you’re considering incorporating rocks or boulders into your landscaping but don’t know where to start, this blog is the perfect place to start.

With over 25 years of Oklahoma City landscaping experience, we know a thing or two when it comes to using rockwork in landscaping. We’ll walk you through all the tips and tricks to give you some awesome inspiration for arranging your landscape with rocks and boulders.

Landscaping with Rocks and Boulders

Using rocks and boulders as part of your landscape is becoming increasingly popular to improve your outdoor space’s appearance. Rocks and boulders can introduce a new dynamic of natural beauty to your landscaping. 

Rock and boulder landscaping is a smart, valid investment because of its functionality and requiring minimal maintenance. Adding rocks and boulders to your yard’s landscaping can help with drainage, hide problem areas like foundation walls or utility equipment, and give your yard new dimensions and natural focal points.

Before planning your new landscaping, you should know that rocks and boulders differ in important ways.

Boulders are larger and heavier rocks, making them landscape anchors. They may make the scenery look natural or dramatic. Boulders are best utilized for focal points, retaining walls, and statement pieces.

Landscape with boulders in OKC by Nelson Landscaping
Dry creek riverbed in OKC by Nelson Landscaping

Rocks create a natural aesthetic but are less noticeable than boulders. Rocks are best utilized for drainage, pathways, edging, and rock gardens.

Your yard will benefit from boulders and rocks for a variety of reasons. The choice between using rocks, boulders, or both, depends on your aesthetics, space, and budget.

What are the features of Rock and Boulder Landscaping? 

In Oklahoma, for example, homeowners have a range of boulder placement options. Below are some common ideas frequently utilized in OKC landscaping:

  • Highlight a single boulder as a focal point.
  • Incorporate rocks or boulders into your water features, such as a pond or fountain.
  • Build a retaining wall using boulders to define different levels of your landscape.
  • Group boulders together to create a cohesive and natural look.
  • Accent rocks and boulders with landscape lighting that highlights their natural beauty.
  • Incorporate boulders into your patio design to add texture and visual interest.
  • Use rocks and boulders to add height and dimension to your front or backyard.
  • Surround boulders with pebbles and gravel to create a cohesive look.
  • Use boulders and rocks to create borders separating your lawn from your flower beds.
  • Create a pathway that guides traffic.
  • Keep your pets from digging and destroying your lawn!
  • And more!
Landscaping Boulder Edging OKC

What are the advantages of Rock and Boulder Landscaping?

Here are a few specific advantages to landscaping with rocks and boulders:

  • Low maintenance: Unlike plants and grass, rocks and boulders do not need to be watered, fertilized, or trimmed, making them a low-maintenance option for landscaping.
  • Durability: Rocks and Boulders are durable and can last many years with minimal wear and tear. This makes them a good choice for areas of the landscape that receive a lot of foot traffic. They are resistant to pests and diseases, which makes them a long-lasting option for your landscape.
  • Versatility: Rocks and boulders can be a versatile advantage for creating focal points, defining boundaries, and adding texture and visual interest when designing any Oklahoma landscape.
  • Water conservation: Using rocks and boulders in landscaping can help reduce the water and upkeep needed to maintain your lawn and landscape.
  • Cost-effective: Depending on the size and type of rocks or boulders, landscaping with rocks and boulders can be cost-effective compared to materials and labor. Large boulders can be utilized to build water features, retaining walls, and patio surfaces, reducing the need for other materials and labor.
  • Climate adaptability: Rocks and boulders can tolerate extreme temperatures and weather conditions, making them a good choice for your landscape in harsh climates.
  • Environmental benefits: Landscaping with rocks and boulders can have environmental benefits, as they can help to reduce erosion and prevent landslides.

What are the benefits of Landscaping with Rocks and Boulders?

Rocks and boulders can be used in residential OKC landscaping to add natural beauty and a stately look to the outside of your home.

  • Natural beauty: Rocks and boulders add natural beauty to a landscape by incorporating elements of the natural environment. They can create a sense of drama and visual interest, enhancing your landscape’s overall look and feel.
  • Incorporate your style: Coming in various forms of shapes, sizes, and colors, the creative potential that boulders can add to your landscape is unlimited.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Landscaping with rocks and boulders can add texture to the landscape, creating a visually pleasing environment for homeowners and guests.
  • Increased curb appeal: By improving your home’s exterior look, you can boost your home’s curb appeal, allowing it to have more value. Improved landscaping is associated with higher OKC property values.

Landscaping With Rocks

Here’s one idea for how you can renovate your Oklahoma City landscaping with rocks so that it has some artistic flair:

Custom Elegance

Our custom design offered front yard landscaping and hardscaping with rocks and boulders for this newly constructed home. The front yard slope offered a unique opportunity for a boulder retaining wall with dry creek riverbed drainage. The rocks created a unique focal point while also serving a practical purpose. The boulders added depth and natural beauty to the landscape. Check out the featured project here!

Custom rock landscaping in OKC
OKC custom rock landscaping.

Landscaping Ideas With Rocks

Landscape boulder design in OKC by Nelson Landscaping

Here are a few ideas:

  • Flower beds with stone or rock edging: Use rocks for flower beds to create a border around the edge of the front yard, separating the grass from the flowerbeds. This adds a natural and cohesive look to your landscape.
  • Stone or concrete pathways lined with rocks: Create a welcoming entrance to your home by adding a stone or concrete pathway leading up to the front door. Incorporate rocks along the path and line the edges with plants or shrubs surrounded by mulch for a natural and inviting look.
  • Driveway accents with stones, plants, and landscape lighting: Add visual interest to your driveway by incorporating accent stones and plants along the edges. Use mulch to fill in the space around the plants and add landscape lighting to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Rock garden: Create a rock garden in a sunny spot in your yard using a variety of sizes and types of rocks. Surround the rocks with mulch and add a few low-maintenance plants or succulents for added interest.
  • Rock water feature: Add a rock water feature to your yard, such as a small rock fountain or a pond with a rock border. Surround the feature with mulch and add a few plants or shrubs for a tranquil and inviting atmosphere.
  • Rock retaining wall: If your yard has a slope, consider building a rock retaining wall to add visual interest and help prevent erosion. Surround the rocks with mulch and add a few plants or shrubs along the top for added interest. If you want to upgrade your rock retaining wall, consider adding built-in seating to create an attractive and functional outdoor space.  In addition to adding visual interest to your yard, a rock retaining wall can serve several practical purposes. 
    • It can help to prevent erosion and protect against landslides, especially in areas with heavy rainfall or steep slopes.
    • A rock retaining wall can also create a level area in a sloping backyard, allowing for a patio or other outdoor living space.
    • It can also be used to create raised flower beds or define different backyard areas.
  • Rock fireplace or fire pit: Add a rock fireplace or fire pit to your yard for a cozy and inviting gathering space. 
  • Rock fountain: Add a rock fountain to your yard to provide water for birds and other wildlife and create a tranquil and soothing atmosphere.
  • Rock patio: Create a rock patio in your yard using a variety of sizes and types of rocks to provide a durable and attractive space for outdoor entertaining.
  • Pool landscaping ideas with rocks: Use rock landscaping around your inground pool that focuses on easy maintenance, increased property value, and good drainage.
    • Rock pool coping: Use rocks to create a coping around your pool’s edge to provide a durable, slip-resistant surface. This can be especially beneficial for older homeowners or those with mobility issues, as it can reduce the risk of falls and accidents.
    • Rock pool deck: Create a rock pool deck using a variety of sizes and types of rocks to provide a durable and attractive surface that is easy to maintain. This can be a good option for homeowners who want to reduce the time and effort required to maintain their pool area.
  •  Bring your dog-friendly yard to life with the help of boulders: Use the placement of hardscaping to reduce wear and tear.
    • Keep your pets out of your flower beds by using rocks and boulders as a barrier.

One of the primary differences between the front yard and backyard rock landscaping is that the backyard often has more significant space. This gives you more freedom and creativity in designing your backyard landscaping, which may mean using bigger rocks. On the other hand, the front yard is typically smaller. It might be more about making the entrance to your home look warm and inviting by using smaller rocks that fit in with the overall design. 

Are you looking for a way to incorporate rocks into your Oklahoma front or backyard landscape? Contact us today to see the potential in your space!

Residential Landscaping With Boulders

Boulders offer your landscape design an unpredictable and contrasted element, as each boulder is unique in shape and size. Each one-of-a-kind boulder will serve as a focal point by adding a touch of nature and artistic flair to your landscape.

Landsacping lighting with boulders by Nelson Landscaping in Oklahoma
Drone shot of front yard landscaping by Nelson Landscaping in Oklahoma
Front yard boulder landscape by Nelson Landscaping in Oklahoma

Classic Beauty

This timeless home is rooted in lasting beauty and the ideal space for a lavish landscape design. Our clients wished to draw attention to the home’s grandeur as well as the home’s excellent entertainment facilities.

With boulder rock landscaping, hardscaping, and carefully selected flowers to complement the natural greenery of the trees, our personalized landscape design brought attention to the home’s stunning front entrance. The backyard was given new life with fresh landscaping and boulders to highlight its unique features.

We started with a naturally charming space that was in need of fresh beauty. With our landscape design implemented, the home resembles a classic luxury!

Check out the featured project here!

Here are a few key tips about landscaping with boulders from our landscape architects.

Boulder Placement

Proper boulder placement is vital when creating an attractive and cohesive landscape design. Here are a few things to consider regarding boulder placement:

  • Size and shape of the boulders: Choose the right size and shape for the intended location. For example, larger landscape boulders may be more suitable for use as a focal point. In comparison, smaller boulders may be better suited for use as accents.
  • The overall landscape layout: Consider your landscape’s design when placing boulders. For example, you may want to group smaller boulders to create a cohesive look or spread them out to create a more natural and organic feel.
  • The function of the boulders: Determine their intended function before placing them. For example, suppose you want to use boulders as a water feature. In that case, you will need to ensure that they are placed where water can flow over them easily.
  • Balance and symmetry: Consider the balance and symmetry of the landscape when placing boulders. For example, you may want to put boulders on either side of a pathway or entryway to create a symmetrical look.
  • Complementary plants and materials: Choose plants and materials that complement the boulders and create a cohesive look. For example, you may want to pair big rocks for landscaping with shrubs or ground cover that have similar colors or textures.
  • Achieving a natural look: To create a natural appearance in your landscape, try using an odd number of rocks and combining different sizes. Placing the largest boulder off-center can also contribute to a more natural look.
  • Blending in with the landscape: To help the boulders blend in with the surrounding landscape, consider burying about a third of each rock below ground level. This can give the impression that the boulders are naturally occurring soil features. 

Boulder Sizes

One-man, two-man, and three-man boulders are terms used to describe the size of landscape boulders, and they refer to the amount of space the boulder occupies.

One-man boulder by Nelson Landscaping in Oklahoma
One-Man Boulder
Two-Man boulder by Nelson Landscaping in OKC
Two-Man Boulder
Three-Man boulder by Nelson Landscaping in OKC
Three-Man Boulder

One-Man Boulders

are relatively small, typically up to 12 inches in size, and weighing anywhere from 20 to 200+ pounds. People often use these boulders as part of small landscaping projects or as accents in bigger gardens.

Two-Man Boulders

are slightly larger, generally up to 18 inches in size, and weigh between 150 and 500+ pounds. These boulders can be used as focal points in a landscape or as part of a retaining wall.

Three-Man Boulders

the largest of the three, typically up to 36 inches in size and weighing up to 800 pounds or more. These boulders are often used as part of a large-scale landscaping project or as a dramatic focal point in a garden.

How Much Does A Boulder Cost?

The cost of a boulder can vary significantly depending on several factors, including:

The size

The rock type

The quality of the boulder

The location and the availability of the boulder

Some common types of boulders that are used in landscaping include:

  • Granite
  • Limestone
  • Sandstone
  • Quartz and more

The distance a boulder must be hauled, the cost of labor to move and place it, and any other materials or supplies needed can affect its price.

All of these factors can affect the price, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the specific characteristics of the boulder. 

To get a more accurate estimate of the cost of a boulder, it is best to consult with a professional landscaping company or a supplier of landscaping materials. These professionals can provide an estimate based on the specific characteristics of the boulder, as well as any additional costs associated with transportation, labor, and materials. 

DIY or Professional Landscaper For Boulder Placement?

Unlike rocks, boulders are much larger and heavier, which presents significant challenges when placing them in your residential landscape. Getting these large boulders to your home, transporting them to your backyard, and placing them in your desired location can be a difficult and labor-intensive task, even for those with strong backs and a lot of experience. Logistical difficulties include equipment availability, safety considerations, and the knowledge and expertise needed to arrange stones to be visually beautiful and structurally solid.

Given the task’s size, weight, and complexity, it is generally advisable to use a professional landscaping service for boulder placement. Professional landscapers have the necessary equipment, experience, and expertise to handle the job safely and efficiently. They can also provide valuable guidance and advice regarding selecting suitable boulders, determining the best placement, and ensuring that the final result is attractive and functional. While it may be tempting to try it yourself, the risks and challenges make it a much wiser choice to use a professional landscaper for boulder placement.

Why Choose Nelson Landscaping

Whether you want to add dimension to your landscape or create a natural focal point with boulders that adds a sense of permanence to your design, Nelson Landscaping can help you make your vision a reality.

Are you ready to see what we can do for you? Contact us today to get started on the landscape design of your dreams!

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