Why Boulder Walls Are a Great Landscaping Choice for Your Property

Landscaping your home or property is one of the best ways to set the tone and add curb appeal—for a business, that’s especially important. Have you considered boulder retaining walls for landscaping in New Germany, MN? This is a type of retaining wall that can add a lot of rustic and natural charm to your landscaping.

Types of boulder walls

Boulder retaining walls are a phenomenal building material with no weathering or erosion. The greatest character is that they are comprised of natural stone, as opposed to modular concrete block walls.

Boulder walls differ in size, shape and aesthetic, depending on factors like size, weight, angularity and placement of the individual boulder to be used in the retaining wall. These four factors are key to building a perfect boulder retaining wall. Talking to a landscape design contractor can help you determine exactly what you want your retaining wall to look like.

Size and weight

Your first choice in building a retaining wall is what size and weight to use. Many people don’t know it, but there are two different types of boulders to be used in retaining walls. Typically, “fieldstone boulders” (boulders found on the surface of the earth) and “quarry boulders” (boulders beneath the surface of the earth) are the most popular in landscape design. Both fieldstone and quarry boulders have their own uniqueness. Fieldstone boulders generally have more character, aging, angularity and sometimes moss growing on the boulder itself. Quarry boulders have very little character and are sometimes more rounded, colored stones.

The size and weight of your boulders are key. A one-foot boulder sphere weighs about 88 pounds, for example. If you increase the boulder by just one inch in diameter, the boulder weighs an additional 52 pounds. When pricing a boulder wall, pay attention to the size of the boulders that your contractor describes—when contractors price a boulder retaining wall, they buy their boulders by the ton, and install it by square foot for the landscape customer.

Angularity and placement

Angularity and placement are also important. Contractors who use a bobcat bucket or fork to install the boulders usually take longer and sometimes skimp on quality of placement. On the other hand, contractors who use a bobcat grapple or thumb can install boulders faster and with better placement quality.

Placement or pattern of the boulder retaining wall must be kept in mind. There are two patterns to choose from when installing a boulder retaining wall:

  • A basket weave/modular wall is like stacking uniform bricks. It involves using regular-sized stones that are rectangular or square in shape and size stacked in uniform patterns.
  • A random pattern boulder wall involves more skill and more time compared to basket weave.

While installing a boulder retaining wall in New Germany, MN, we always suggest “don’t get married to a specific stone”—sometimes the stone you’re really into just doesn’t work, so it’s always smarter to work with something that will.

Engineering concerns

Boulder retaining walls over 4’ should always be constructed by a certified landscape engineer. When installing boulder retaining walls, you should always use geotextile fabric and filter rock. For example, we use filter rock to help cover the voids so the fabric does not show. On the other hand, some landscape clients want to grow softscapes in the boulder retaining wall voids, so it is sometimes recommended not to use fabric. In this case, inexpensive fabric should be used, and when the client wants to plant in the voids, they can cut the fabric and make the whole process work.

The team at Garden Market and Landscape specializes in boulder retaining walls in New Germany, MN. Call and set up your consultation for a free boulder retaining wall design and estimate.

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