Boulder walls can be used as retaining walls in Houston landscaping projects where a steep slope is present in the back yard. We see this in many homes that border the city’s bayous. Often, sloped areas in the yard are subject to such erosion that they are practically unusable until a retaining wall is constructed.
A wall that is made out of boulders is the least expensive form of retaining wall to build for two reasons. First, the fieldstone boulders that are used in its construction cost much less than quarried, finished stone. They can also be stacked to heights of up to four feet without the additional cost of building a compacted base.
Retention walls like this are seldom higher than four feet. If the grade is steeper than four feet, then a series of terraced boulder walls can be constructed to add dramatic decorative impact while they work together to retain soil and vegetation.
Then again, there is nothing saying that a wall has to have multiple levels of stone to technically be called a wall. If the stones are large enough, a single line of individual boulders can form a very short wall that can be used for retention, decoration, or accent.
Indeed, the use of boulders in retention walls is only one of many applications for which they are suited. Boulder walls are frequently used to decorate individual landscape elements.
Because rock is a natural material, it provides a ready compliment to vegetation. At the same time, it also provides a ready compliment to hardscapes made from stone, pavers, decorative concrete, and brick.
Walls made from large rocks are used in gardens to section off seating areas, ponds, and garden courtyards. Some custom gardens may even have a very small wall that encloses the entire space. The larger rocks provide ideal accent to the decorative gravel that is routinely used in formal garden design.
Smaller boulder walls can also be used to line walkways. The presence of rocks on either side of the hardscape creates vertical impact that makes the transit area stand out as something more than just a utilitarian thoroughfare. Walkways with rock borders like this add character and curb appeal to properties by complimenting home architecture and linking it to other hardscapes.
These hardscapes include patios, courtyards, gravel seating areas with benches, and terraces. Each of these can be built with some kind of stone, but the presence of stone in the hardscape itself is not a requirement for using boulder rocks to build an accent wall. Concrete, brick, and pavers can also be complimented by selecting natural rocks whose colors and shape mirror the design work of the hardscape.
In courtyard design, a four foot rock wall creates a partial privacy barrier for seated guests. It creates enough of a barrier that neighbors are unable to witness the details of the gathering. At the same time, its decorative appeal masks its intention to shut out the prying eyes of others.
A boulder wall of this size is also small enough that you can just see over the top and enjoy a view of the surrounding Houston landscape, tree tops, and stars.