When I’m arranging and installing rocks & boulders to hold back earth there is a certain relief and confidence that it will look good.
This is because the rock-work has a purpose and function, and to the viewer it makes sense being there.
So with that I’m meeting the number one requirement in rock placement in the landscape and that is: make it look like it belongs there.
Where it starts to get tricky is when rocks are placed for artistic enhancement. Now this is where some basic rules of design combine with good taste and judgement.
You’ll see landscapes with “rock arrangements” that are stunning and wonder if these boulders have been here since the beginning of time.
And then there are those where the size and placement of the rocks is just plain wrong. Or you can’t quite put your finger on it.., but they just don’t look like they belong.
Any time you’re introducing rocks & boulders into the landscape it does require a “good eye”.
What helps me in the “rock arrangement process” is to over-order on quantity just to have a good selection to choose from.
And as I always say, “Take a step back and look at what you’re doing from a distance and several viewing angles”.
Like so many realms of design, experience will improve your arrangements – it did for me.
In the meantime, get inspiration and examples of the best rock & boulder arrangements by hiking in the woods. Bring your camera and shoot different rock-groupings that you can later refer to.
The plantings in the picture above are recently installed and we “sized-down” on the plants to help control costs.
The initial feeling might be the rock work is kind of heavy (no pun intended). Two key points here are:
In fact, you must be conscious (as always) of future plant growth and allow for it. If the rock & boulder work is looking weak or light from the start, it may totally disappear when the plantings mature.
Here is the previous post to this project. And here is the next.
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Landscapes are complex, and shortcomings anywhere in the process can affect the project… and your peace of mind.
My approach is process-oriented. I break things down from planning to implementation — and make sure everyone is kept informed.
My goal is to alleviate concerns such as design decisions, costs, workmanship and material quality. I want folks to stress less and actually enjoy the process.
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