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Landscaping Boulders Cost Guide

When most people think of landscaping projects, they might imagine the addition of all things green: Sod, hedges, trees or flowers. However, adding a new level of interest to an outdoor space can often be best accomplished by landscaping with rock. From crushed gravel walkways all the way up to enormous landscaping boulders, rock can be an Eco-friendly and eye-catching addition to almost any outdoor space. 

After reviewing the average landscaping boulder costs below, let ImproveNet connect you with up to four landscaping pros in your area!

Cost of Landscaping Boulders

  • Average Minimum Cost of Landscaping Boulders: $100 per ton
  • Average Maximum Cost of Landscaping Boulders: $600 per ton

Advantages of Using Landscaping Boulders

Perhaps, the most obvious reason to use boulders in landscaping is for the stately and grand focal point they create in an outdoor space. In an otherwise ordinary garden, for example, a giant boulder will be an eye-catching addition and a conversation piece. Boulders also tend to grow moss and lichen on their surface, which changes colors over time and reflects the seasons in a beautiful way. While some homeowners think that boulders simply won't work in their type of property or with their design style, the reality is that boulders come in all sizes, shapes and types of rock. It is possible to find boulders in white, black or even red, which means that they look at home in desert landscapes as well as in evergreen forests. Finally, landscaping boulders cut down on water usage, and they may take the place of a large tree in an area where rainfall is limited.

Disadvantages of Using Landscaping Boulders

While the pros of using landscaping boulders are numerous, there are also some drawbacks to adding these big items to a property. Some of the disadvantages to keep in mind include the following:

  • Color Can Fade Over Time
  • Boulders May Be Too Heavy to Move Alone
  • Difficult to Picture Boulder Until it is in Place

Costs of Landscaping Boulders

Trying to pin down the exact cost of a landscaping boulder can be tricky, because a lot of the price depends on whether the homeowner uses materials native to the area. For example, shipping a giant boulder across the country would be incredibly expensive, but bringing one from a nearby quarry a few miles away is a lot more affordable. On average, however, buyers should expect to purchase boulders by the ton. Prices tend to start at $100 per ton and go all the way up to $600 per ton for unique color variations or unusual arched shapes.

How to Choose the Right Boulder

Since boulders can vary so substantially in color and size, it can feel overwhelming when it comes time to choose just one or two for the entire landscape. While the right boulder can greatly improve the appeal of an outdoor space, the wrong one can take away from the area's beauty. Since boulders are so heavy, getting it right the first time is important. Returning a boulder is not as simple as returning a piece of furniture from a local retailer! When picking landscaping boulders, think about where it will be used as well as what the objective will be. Then, consider which colors look best in the landscape and what the budget will permit. Caliche boulders, made from calcium carbonate compressed underground, are a light gray color and are typically the most affordable option for buyers.

Major Types of Boulder Shapes

To many, a boulder is a round rock that is incredibly large in size. While the size can fluctuate, as mentioned above, the actual shape can also vary from the more traditional round design. There are five general categories of boulder shapes, and most landscaping boulders can fit into one of the following categories:

  • Low Vertical Boulder: Wider Than it is Tall
  • Tall Vertical Boulder: Upright, Taller Than it is Wide
  • Arching Boulder: AKA Thrusting Stone, Has a Curved Top
  • Flat Boulder: Low Profile, Flat Surface
  • Reclining Boulder: Higher on One Side than the Other

Ideas for Using Boulders in Landscaping

There are dozens of different ways that boulders can be used in landscaping. While placing a large boulder in the middle of a grassy lawn might not strike you as artistic or elegant, large landscaping boulders can be a wonderful addition with a little bit of thought and creativity. Here are just a few of the most common ways that landscaping boulders can be utilized in an outdoor setting:

  • Large Flat Boulders Used as Seating
  • To Create a Separation of Spaces
  • As a Statement Piece
  • Surrounding a Pool or Water Feature
  • As a Retaining Wall
  • As a Large Planter
  • Flanking Natural Stone Steps

Costs and Information About Installation

Thanks to the sheer size and weight of landscaping boulders, delivery and installation is almost always a necessity for homeowners. Even a boulder that could fit in the back of a car, for example, might weigh down the whole vehicle and probably could not be removed by even several strong men. Therefore, it is important to calculate delivery and installation costs when budgeting for landscaping boulders. Simply unloading a large boulder onto the desired spot on the property can cost as little as $40, and it is almost always under $100 unless the boulder needs to be stacked, arranged or partially buried.

Whether for a desert environment or a lush garden, landscaping boulders can be an attractive addition to any outdoor space. Pricing is typically done by the ton, but a lot of the expense will depend on how far the boulders have to be shipped and whether they are a unique natural stone, color or shape.

Ready to start your own landscaping boulder project? Let’s get started!

Last updated on Aug 4, 2016

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