Landscaping with Rock and Stones

What separates some of the great landscapes from just ordinary ones is the creative use of rock and stone. Rock is an ideal hardscape material that can bring out the beauty of your plants and add definition and a sense of structure to your planted areas. Rock may be rivaled in durability by other stone hardscape materials, like concrete and brick, but the only rock is an all-natural material that looks like it could be original to the site, while stone is a much more tailored piece of hardscaping material. Rock also requires no maintenance, unlike its subset, stone.

Size of the Rock

For all rock work, the size and shape of the stone are central to achieving the look and feel you desire. So choose your rocks carefully. The large, flat rocks used to build these landscape steps assure anyone approaching that their journey will be completely safe. The last thing that you want in a rock landscape is instability. Even the suggestion of instability in a rock landscape is off-putting.

On the other hand, do not over-do the use of rocks in landscape design, no matter how stable they are. Make sure that you use plenty of plants in your design in order to soften the look of the rocks, which can be a bit harsh if there are no plants around.

The Marriage of Rock and Mulch

There is something magical about the combination of rock and mulch in a landscape. When we hear the word “mulch,” we often think of wood chips, straw or composts. However, landscape rocks are also generally described as mulch. Just like organic mulching materials, rock and pebble mulches have their pros and cons in the landscape. While excellent at controlling erosion, rock mulches do not help retain moisture in the soil like organic mulches. 

In fact, rock mulches tend to heat up quite a bit in the sun, causing the soil beneath them to be hot and dry. They also reflect sunlight up at plants, causing excessive transpiration and drying out. Because of this heat, dryness and dense coverage, rock mulches do work well to suppress weeds.

Natural stone landscaping in home garden with steps and flowerbeds

Cost Effective Solutions

While conventional gardens require a lot of upkeep—from mulching to weeding to mowing—there are also seasonal challenges involved. In fall, for example, you need to rake leaves to prevent your grass from becoming diseased when temperatures begin to drop.

Spring can mean rot and mildew, plus grass that stays yellow for the next few seasons, too. Then when summer arrives, you’ll need to use a lot of water to keep the lawn looking lush. It’s a lot of upkeep and stress for something you probably don’t take the time to enjoy.

Traditional gardens full of foliage may be attractive, but they also need expert upkeep to look their best—and not overgrow their bounds. For nature lovers who prefer a little less responsibility or simply a more geographically accurate garden, rocks provide the perfect solution.

Whether your property is commercial or residential, the benefits of a rock garden remain tried and true. Cost effective and easy to upkeep, you will be left satisfied with your rock garden solution.

General Rock and Stone Landscape Ideas

  • Boulder Seating

Who says mowing has to be part of your landscaping plan? Gravel rocks, boulders and slate tiles work together in a Japanese-inspired design. Be sure to incorporate larger boulders to frame the landscape to use as additional seating for entertaining. Select boulders with a flat ‘top” for comfortable lounging. This can be a great addition to a Commercial common area.

  • Rock Waterfall

When incorporating a rock waterfall into your landscape design, keep a few things in mind. Imitate nature with interesting twists and turns in your water feature. Also take a cue from natural streams and incorporate a variety of boulder sizes.

  • Stone Steps / Retaining Walls

Give the illusion of a level yard by incorporating stone steps and a stone retaining wall. Keep your wall under 4 feet tall; otherwise, a building permit may be needed.

Incorporate Rock or Stone with Carruthers

If you are interested in learning more about our hardscaping or any other services we offer at Carruthers Landscaping, check out our website or contact us today at (972) 620-9560.

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