Placing boulders in desert landscape adds a dramatic element as well as changing the look and dimensions of the design. Boulders are a great investment; they require no maintenance, no water and they can’t die – so no down side to the investment. They come in many different colors and of course sizes. However, it’s very important to pick the right size boulder for the area of placement so as not to overwhelm your yard or the plant material. When doing a design, I like to place boulders in groupings of three or place them alone. They can be placed laying flat or can be placed upright. Any boulder over a quarter of a ton will require a crane placement. There is usually a minimum of 2 hours for a crane to place boulders. For smaller properties or backyards, I do not recommend using larger boulders as there is usually no crane access for backyards. Any boulder a quarter of a ton or less can be placed by manual labor and a rock dolly.
Boulders are always the first element of a new landscape design to be installed. Once the boulders are in place then the plant material can be placed around the boulders. For low plant material, like barrel cactus, the plants should be placed in front of the boulders. For tall growing plants like cactus and Madagascar palms, the plants should be placed behind the boulders.
For people new to desert landscape the idea of boulders may seem rather uninspiring. But once you see how stunning and beautiful some boulders can be, you will realize that they are one of nature’s sculptural works of art!