Back in the day, landscaping typically meant having a nice lawn, a couple fruit trees, and brightly colored flower beds. Nowadays, do-it-yourself landscapers tend to be more aware of their impact on the environment and seek water-efficient solutions that are also pleasing to the eye.
Rocks, or decorative stones, offer many benefits, both practical and aesthetic. But if you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of installing rocks, you might end up winging it, and winging it has it costs. These simple tips, from your friends at Online Stone Solutions, can save you a giant headache down the road, not to mention time, money and a potential ugly yard.
1. Develop a plan.
Don’t put the cart before the horse. Take the time to do your research before you order your shipment of rocks. For starters, go outside and take measurements of your yard and the area that you want to beautify. Once you know that, it’s easy to calculate the quantity for the coverage you need with our useful coverage calculator.
2. Bury your boulders.
One of the main benefits of rock installations is that they can create a warm, earthy, and natural “vibe.” However, if you just drop a giant boulder on the ground without first preparing the surface, your landscape will look artificial and also present a safety hazard if someone stands on an unstable boulder.
To achieve the most natural look, make sure your boulders are partly buried into the ground. This simply requires digging a hole that is at least 1/3 of the height of each boulder. This will help anchor your boulders into the ground and give your landscape a more organic appearance, as boulders in nature are unearthed by erosion process. You should never have one that is completely exposed on the surface.
3. Ensure your hardscape cobblestones are well anchored.
A stone walkway made of cobblestones can give your landscape a more authentic look and help stop grass and weeds from spreading. When installing cobble in a hardscape setting, follow these guidelines: Make sure that that the cobble is installed with the flat side facing up and that the top surface of the stones is the same height and level across the board.
To ensure your cobblestones bond and take hold, first anchor each stone in concrete or mortar. Give it some time to dry and for the moisture to evaporate. Then use mortar to fill in the joints between the stones, making sure the joints are uniform in size. In other words, if you’re going with a 1-inch joint, use roughly the same measurement throughout the median.
4. Don’t forget your weed barrier.
Installing landscape fabric under your stones and mulch is a must. Landscape fabric prevents sunlight from reaching the seeds underground, which would otherwise sprout into weeds. If weeds do appear on top of the fabric, they are much easier to remove. A separation barrier between soil and stone also helps maintain the beauty of your stones and prevents soil contamination.
5. When installing a gravel path, don’t forget the edging.
Gravel paths are less expensive to install than median cobble and can be very attractive if – and it’s a big if – you install an edging along the border of the path. Very simply, the edging keeps the small gravel in place. Without an edging, factors such as wind, foot traffic, and blowers will cause the gravel to become dispersed, resulting in a sloppy and unkempt appearance.
It’s really that simple. Follow these tips and we’re confident that your rock installation will totally rock. If you have any questions along the way, be sure to ask your friends at Online Stone Solutions -- your trusted landscaping partner and resource. In the meantime, check out our gallery to see the wide variety of decorative stones that we offer.