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» Articles » Sharp Tips » Using Rocks In Your Home Landscape

Using Rocks In Your Home Landscape

by Douglas L. Bishop on 9/26/2010 16:15


Incorporating rocks into your home landscaping projects is one of the easiest ways to add a distinctive “punch” to the entire visual effect.

Most likely, this all started with the early homesteading pioneers who were the first to clear the land in order to make it usable for raising crops and for grazing livestock.

As the settlers cleared the fields, the easiest thing to do with the inhospitable rocks was to move them to the edge of the fields and stack them in an orderly manner. In many cases, the enormous number of rocks removed and stacked was sufficient to actually create a fence for the finished field.

No doubt, the goal was more function than fashion.

Today, however, we utilize rocks in our landscaping for both purposes—as functional material to create such features as borders, pathways, and retaining walls, and as a fashionable and beautiful material to add statues, waterfalls, and geometrical or whimsical pieces of art.

If you are a savvy consumer and an observant scavenger of potentially useful “found materials”, the cost of adding stones to your landscape can range anywhere from zero to minimal.

First of all, look around your own property. Is there a patch of stones near the property boundary of your lot or subdivision where the unwanted rocks were bulldozed to make room for building construction? Or is there a nearby wooded area or a creek or stream or field with boulders scattered about?

Even better, is there an area where construction is just beginning and the earth-moving equipment is working to reshape the property for roads to be created and for houses to be built? (At one such construction site near our home, we procured enough stones to make a nice walkway at the back of our house.)

Just be sure you ask first—never remove anything (even rocks!) from any property without the permission of the property owner. You may find the owner only too happy to get rid of some of those stones.

Use the stones that have at least one good flat surface for walkway material. You may have to do a little bit of digging in order to get the stone properly situated with the bulky and uneven non-flat area below the surface of the ground.

Use the odd-shaped rocks to build borders for your beds. You might find it a challenging exercise and a good bit of fun to visualize and then assemble the pieces into a functional and interestingly artistic landscape creation.

If you have some rather large rocks, no matter what their shape, coloration, or origin, try to work these into your landscape as stand-alone pieces of art or as the platforms or bases upon which to place pieces of humanly-created artwork.

Available in most garden centers, you can find bags of rounded, riverbed pebbles (usually up to about ½ inch in diameter). These make an interesting form of mulch in some bedding areas—and can serve as a deterrent to prevent cats and dogs from digging in the flower beds.

Rocks and stones essentially last forever, need no maintenance, and as we have mentioned can often be obtained for a song. Use your imagination—and your inner musical voice—to create a new sense of harmony within the symphony of your home landscape.

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