When you’re planning your landscape, using large rocks and boulders adds a natural textural element to your yard or garden. Moreover, eye-catching stones or rocks are low-maintenance, durable, and organic. However, landscaping with large rocks and boulders can also serve a practical purpose. For example, large rocks can disguise or hide a problem area such as unattractive foundation walls, utility equipment, or ungraceful grades or hills.
Whether you want to position some large rocks or boulders around key areas of your yard or create a rock garden, there are countless ideas for using these natural elements in your landscape.
What Is a Rock Garden?
Also called a rockery, a rock garden is basically a garden that uses rocks and rock arrangements as statement pieces or functional pieces in a garden.
Traditionally, rock gardens have been heaped arrangements of rocks and stones that have soil and plants around them. However, modern rockeries have evolved for eclectic tastes.
Ideas for Landscaping With Large Rocks
Landscaping with rocks and boulders adds unique and exciting textures to your yard or garden. Let’s go over some various ways you can use rocks to enhance your landscape.
1. Create a mystical atmosphere
After sunset, night falls on a garden. This is the perfect time to create an otherworldly or mystical atmosphere in your outdoor living space. To create this atmosphere, position large glowing outdoor orb lights or other types of landscape lighting to enhance your rock groupings.
For a dramatic statement, you can point landscape lights at your boulders in ways that are interesting and highlight the unique textures and shapes of your large rocks.
3. Flank your entrance
When you flank an entrance with boulders, you give visitors a lasting impression. Place a large rock on each side of the entry to your driveway or yard for maximum impact.
Be sure to bury your rocks partially into the ground for a more natural look. For driveway flanking, the larger the rocks, the more dramatic the appearance.
4. Design rock garden terraces
Large rocks work beautifully as part of a natural terrace. Planting perennials that grow without needing a lot of help from you is key to ensuring that your terrace looks beautiful in every season.
Having terraces can be helpful in ways that are beyond just aesthetically pleasing. Rocks will help hold the earth in place and can prevent the loss of topsoil in hilly areas.
5. Group large rocks in clusters
One thing you can do is simply group a few (or several) large rocks or boulders in clusters. For example, you can build a rock wall or use your large rocks to create a natural fountain area.
For best results in grouping boulders, use three or more of these large rocks. After all, boulders aren’t often found alone in the wild, so grouping them makes them look more natural.
6. Surround large rocks with gravel
A variety of different rock sizes is both functional and attractive. Small rocks are just as hardworking as boulders because they help prevent the larger rocks from shifting out of place or settling.
7. Build a fire pit
You can use large rocks to create a base for a functional fire pit, and this is one of the most popular ways people use stones in their landscaping. Stone is naturally heat-proof, and you will create a conversation spot that your family will enjoy on chilly evenings.
To design your fire pit, you will need to have several large rocks that are similar in size. This is more of an advanced project, so be sure to find a good online tutorial and have all the right tools and supplies in place.
8. Design a mediterranean dry rock garden
One gorgeous way to use rocks in your landscaping designs is to create a Mediterranean-style garden with sweet-smelling plants and flowers and herbs.
For your Mediterranean dry rock garden, choose plants that work well with your climate so that they grow naturally with minimal maintenance. Some popular dry rock garden plants include foxglove, smoke tree, lavender, and rock purslane.
9. Border flower beds
Large or medium-sized rocks make excellent borders for flower beds. The longer they sit in the beds, the more natural they will look. Over time, they will gain a weathered look that only time will give you.
To create this effect, you will need to dig a trench that is between two and three inches deep along the edge of the flower beds. If you line your trench with landscape cloth, it will help to prevent hard-to-tackle weeds from growing between your stones.
10. Edge your walkways
Flanking your walkways with large rocks defines the path. This is not just attractive. It also helps to create a safe walking environment and keeps people off of your grass.
Edging your walkways and garden paths with large rocks is incredibly easy, even for the novice landscaper.
11. Enhance small bodies of water
If you already have a pond in your yard, you can use large rocks along the edges to define and enhance your water source. If you don’t have a pond, why not dig one? Bodies of water are excellent landscape devices.
For large rocks around ponds to be most effective, you will need to bury them more than halfway into the soil. This will give the rocks a natural appearance. Stack your rocks around the edge of the pond securely.
A bonus of having rocks around your pond is that it will attract wildlife such as birds, frogs, and turtles.
12. Build a retaining wall
It’s easy to build retaining walls with large rocks, especially if they are somewhat flat. The great thing about this type of retaining wall is that it will have plenty of crevices that you can plant in.
The benefits of a retaining wall go beyond just being a beautiful element in your yard. Rock retaining walls can actually help prevent erosion if you have a yard that is uneven. For best results, invest the time in finding large rocks that lock nicely into place and don’t leave gaps.
The rocks and stones you choose for your yard will set the tone for your landscape. Keep in mind that large rocks may be challenging to move around, so be sure to choose rocks you want to live with for a long time.