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How to Use Boulders in Your Landscape Design

In Minnesota, we’re lucky to have a variety of natural rock available. Using boulders, especially ones that have been gathered locally, can create a rugged, natural look to any home landscaping project. Here at KG Landscape, we like to use boulders in many different colors and textures to complement the home and any plantings you intend to add.

Benefits of Boulders

  • Using boulders in a flower bed can increase curb appeal by adding texture, height, and a focal point to your yard.
  • Boulders can help prevent erosion on slopes.
  • Boulders can be used as an alternative to concrete blocks or bricks in retaining walls.
  • Locally sourced boulders in your landscape design can help tie your yard to your natural surroundings.
  • Landscape boulders don’t need any maintenance! They’ll take on a more natural look as the years go on as dirt accumulates on the rock and moss and lichens take hold.
boulder retaining wall eden prairie minneapolis

Using boulders in a retaining wall can help prevent erosion and incorporate landscaping into the natural surroundings.

Drawbacks of Boulders

  • They’re really heavy, and so can be expensive.
  • Because of their weight, you need to choose their placement carefully. They’re not moving again without a lot of work.

Tips for Using Boulders

  • Before placing boulders, dig out the soil to bury at least one third of the stone. This will help keep the rock anchored and will help it look natural in its new home.
  • Use boulders to their best advantage by highlighting interesting rock faces. One way to do this is by turning these faces toward walkways. Another is to focus outdoor lighting on rock features.
  • Group boulders in odd numbers. They rarely appear by themselves in nature (except for glacial erratics), so group rocks together. You can also incorporate a variety of rock sizes together for added interest.
  • If your landscape design already includes natural stone, try to keep to the same type of rock or the same color scheme. Boulders should blend in to whatever is already there, helping them look more natural in your yard.
  • Plant around the bases of boulders. Flowers, shrubs, and ground cover can help soften the edges of boulders, and plants can gain protection and retain moisture better around these rocks.
fire pit pergola slate patio boulders beautiful

These boulders blend into the plant beds.

  • To make each boulder more of a focal point, keep them set apart by using mulch in plant beds.
  • Use boulders to add elevation to any yard. Some homeowners will even create a raised bed using boulders, soil, mulch, flowers, and grasses to take this illusion of height even further.
  • Boulders can make a yard look and feel more natural. All-grass lawns certainly have their place, but rock can help incorporate your space into the natural landscape.
  • Try mixing flowers, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees, and ground cover plants around boulders for added variety. Mix flowering plants and non and add plants of varying heights for a more natural look.
boulder outcropping front yard landscape design shakopee

This garden uses boulders along with plants of varying heights to create visual interest.


If you’re looking to add boulders to your landscape for a more rugged and natural look, we’re happy to help. Call us today at 763-568-7251 or send a message using our quick quote system.