The natural curb appeal of boulder landscaping in retaining walls or a boulder garden is one of the hottest trends right now. Not only are boulder retaining walls a timeless, sophisticated addition to your yard, they’re also durable and aid in preventing soil erosion.
Even though they’re hot right now in landscape design, they aren’t new! People have been using boulders and rocks to create dry retaining walls for centuries. Why? Because they’re stunning and robust!
Boulder walls can be used to strengthen sloped terrain, create terraces in your landscape, or to make an impressive boulder garden. Boulders add visual appeal surrounding gardens or when defining different areas of your yard. The most popular purpose for using boulders for a retaining wall is to prevent soil erosion.
Obviously, boulders are heavy, which contributes to the sturdiness. So, they require heavy duty equipment to move, haul, and place rocks properly. The Rock Solid Team’s newest addition to our equipment — a Bobcat E50 with rotating Grapple — is specially designed to make constructing the wall or garden that perfectly suits your needs.
Designing A Boulder Retaining Wall
Natural boulder and stone walls add to your home’s charm and provide structural strength. Plus, they come in a range of sizes, colors, and shapes. A boulder’s texture is created naturally by glaciers or water, making each boulder unique and each wall distinctive. There are many types of boulders to choose from. Popular varieties include fieldstone, limestone, and granite.
One of the most common uses for boulder walls is to create two distinctive upper and lower parts of a yard. The other is to increase stability to a sizeable slope. If you purpose is to stabilize a slope, it improves the overall appearance and prevents the slope from eroding over time.
The other major use of boulder walls is to create attractive borders around a water feature, next to a pool or to define a space around your firepit. Tall, rounder boulders make great additions to rock gardens or surrounding waterfalls. The low, shorter boulders are ideal for using along slopes or rock stairs on a pathway because they’re heavy and strong.
The Advantage of Natural Stone Boulders
We’ve already discussed the visual appeal of natural stone and that besides using for a retaining wall, they also make great additions to a rock garden or focal point in a yard — but it’s their durability that contributes the most to their functionality. Unlike mortar walls, concrete, or wood, boulders withstand extreme temperature changes. They’re frost-resistant and Minnesota winter-resistant. Ideal for your yard!
Boulder walls and most stone walls don’t require mortar to hold them together because of the weight and shape of the stone, which results in natural drainage. To help with drainage, during construction a layer of gravel and sand is laid before arranging the boulders on top.
The art of laying stones to make a self-draining wall is known as “dry walling.” The stones are laid so that their core remains dry all winter by ensuring that they have natural water drainage. If water is able to accumulate in a retaining wall, the freeze-thaw cycle will destroy the stability and structure.
Boulder Retaining Walls Prevent Soil Erosion
One of the core reasons that our clients choose to install a new retaining wall is to prevent soil erosion down a large slope in their yard. The boulders block the soil above from sliding and thus creates a more usable space in your yard. If your yard has a slope of 35 degrees or more, a retaining wall is essential to protect your landscape.
This protection is especially important when the upper portion of your yard has been supplemented with topsoil due to dense, poorly draining native soil. The imported topsoil helps your lawn or garden thrive and the boulders act as a natural barrier keeping the soil in place.
Little Maintenance Required for Boulder Retaining Walls
Another huge benefit of boulder retaining walls is that they require little upkeep or maintenance. If properly laid with enough space for water drainage, they remain in place and don’t require washing or waterproofing.
Rain, sun, wind, and other weather elements won’t compromise the structure and beauty of your wall. You’ll be able to enjoy your wall for decades. However, the caveat here is that the construction of the wall is done properly.
The Rock Solid retaining wall contractors have the knowledge and experience to design and construct a retaining wall that will last. We account for all the important considerations required to build a boulder wall such as type and amount of rocks, dimensions required, and the building of a solid foundation. Contact us today for your free quote!