Rocks and boulders add a natural look to the landscape. However, the weight of rocks and boulders as well as site preparation makes placing them a challenge because you only have one chance to get it right if the boulders are really heavy. Soil must be compacted where large boulders are placed as they tend to settle and weed control is important where smaller rocks are located because you cannot mow over rocks. To get some ideas, look at area rocks to identify their types and see how they look naturally in the countryside or get some ideas from other projects in your area.
How to Landscape with Rocks and Boulders
Draw an aerial view of the garden including the desired location and size of landscape rocks and boulders. Boulders should be in scale. If they are too small, they will look insignificant and if they are too large, they will look out of balance with the rest of the landscaping. Also, draw in stone paths and any other features that involve stones or boulders. Draw in the location of utility lines that might be crushed by heavy trucks or boulders. Don't allow new rocks and boulders in landscape to unintentionally alter drainage channels.
Visit a landscape rock supply business to choose stones and boulders for your project. Ask about delivery methods and what kind of machines will be crossing your property to place the rocks and boulders in their final position. You will need to know what to expect on the day of delivery. Most rock supply businesses will allow you to choose your boulders and will hold them for several weeks before delivery.
Clear the desired location of weeds, and rake smooth and pack down soil. If the soil is soft and the boulders are large or heavy, raise the level of the soil slightly as rocks and boulders can settle over time. You can also bury the bottom of a large boulder for a more natural look.
Cover the area where the rocks and boulders will be located with a professional landscape cloth. You may also choose to cover the extending area depending on whether you are adding plants, mulch or grass around rock features. For example, you would not place grass sod over landscaping cloth.
Place rocks and boulders carefully over the landscape cloth. If the boulders are delivered, spend as much time as it takes adjusting their position until you are satisfied with the result.