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The use of boulders in landscape design

When we think of design, we’re apt to think of brilliant colors, striking elements, cool shapes, etc. The last thing we think of is something as non-descript as a boulder. But maybe we should!

You might say: what place could a simple rock have in the colorful and expressive world of design?

As we all know, rocks are so simple that there are idioms in our vernacular that impart this. For example: He is as dumb as a box of rocks.

But listen!

All great designers know that in many cases (but not all), that less is more, and that simplicity is sexy.

Just take Ikea for instance. Pioneers of minimal design and simplicity, and they are by far the most popular home furnishing company in the world. That really is saying something about the power of simplicity.

But it doesn’t stop in the home. The power of simplicity of design extends also into outdoor spaces, from residential backyards to commercial grounds, and even to municipal spaces (like retention ponds, highways, etc).

How to use boulders in your landscape design

Boulders for borders & edging

Boulders are a great way to separate out spaces, helping to define areas, showing where sections end and sections start. For instance, you can use a line of boulders to help separate out a walkway, or a plant bed, or a patio. Whenever your space feels too open and undefined, try using boulders to help add that missing definition.

Boulders for a focal point

A wide expanse can be rather boring to look at, depending on the overall surroundings. You could handle this by putting a small tree, but depending on your climate, you may not be able to support something that requires as much water as a tree. Lucky for you, stone does not require ANY watering at all! A large boulder can be effectively used as a focal point in an open space. Japanese landscape designers have known and used this for hundreds of years.

Boulders for seating

Boulders can be engineered so that their tops are cut down, until they have a flat, and smooth top. These engineered ‘boulder seats’ can be placed in a circular fashion around a focal point, or they can be used to border and separate out a space. Either way, they add some aesthetic and function, as additional short-term seating (emphasis on ‘short-term’ since they are stone after all, which can get uncomfortable after a while).  

Boulders for walls

When we think of landscaping walls, we’re apt to think about interlocking concrete blocks, which look great. But if you want to have a more natural and organic look, having a simple two-row stack of boulders can help you achieve that effect. Another added benefit is that the installation is much less technical, and less time consuming, which ends up costing you less.

Your source for boulders At Kalamazoo we have a wide selection of boulders for your landscaping needs. Check out our catalogs, we’re confident we have the size and color that you need, no matter what type of project you have!



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