How to Landscape With Rocks & Boulders

Rocks and boulders provide a strong architectural form to the landscape.

Incorporate a wide range of rock colors, sizes and shapes.
They are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors to accent both large and small landscapes. Rocks add character to stone walkways, patios, outdoor water features and flower beds and borders. When you add rocks and boulders to your landscape, make sure you take the time to plan the landscape so you don't have to move the rocks around, which can be difficult. To gather ideas, look through stone supply stores and nearby landscape projects to help with your design. .

Create a blueprint of the garden and include the desired location of the rocks and borders. Scale the boulders to the landscape; if they are too large, they overpower the design; if they're too small, they don't provide the desired impact.

Draw in any hardscape features like pathways and fences that involve the rocks and boulders. Don't forget utility lines, drainage ditches and essential outdoor systems that can be crushed by heavy boulders.

Visit a rock supply store to gather ideas on shapes, sizes and colors of rocks and borders. Take pictures of the rocks to help create the design.

Remove all debris, including weeds, sticks and stones from the desired location. Rake the cleared out land and tamp it down to create a level, compacted site.

Raise the level of the soil when you use oversized boulders, as they can sink into the soil over time. Or, bury the bottom half of the larger boulder for a seamless design.

Cover the area where the rocks and boulders will be housed with landscape cloth. Do not place landscape cloth in areas where you plant to add plants, sod or mulch.

Rest the rocks and boulders over the landscape cloth and adjust their location and position until you have the desired look.

Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Tamper
  • Landscape cloth
  • Rocks and boulders


  • Look through books and magazines to help gather ideas and be prepared for the project.
  • Hire a landscape professional when moving heavy boulders and rocks around the landscape. Always lift rocks with your legs rather than your back.


  • Keep all rocks and boulders out of drainage ditches.

About the Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on Travels.com and GardenGuides.com. Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.