Boulder retaining wall design ideas are impressive with the raw beauty of the stones and the feeling of strength and sturdiness.
They can have a different purpose – to strengthen a sloped terrain, they can be purely decorative, or used to mark the boundaries of a plot. However, the usual function of a retaining wall is to prevent soil erosion and that is why we see garden retaining walls on steel hills but when you want to add them as a decorative garden element, you can build them on a flat area.
A boulder is a natural stone which come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, amazing colors. Boulders have the ability to fit into the outdoor space and create an atmosphere of natural beauty. You can find boulders in many stone yards as they are often used for construction and landscaping, you can see them around pools, garden water features like waterfalls, zen stone gardens, etc. The popularity of boulders is due to the different textures and colors which have a great visual effect.
Boulder retaining wall design – strong, stable and visually appealing
Retaining walls are often the only solution in areas with slopes and boulder retaining wall design ideas come especially useful when you want to combine functionality and natural appearance. If your site has a natural slope and is located on a hilly terrain, it is necessary to think about a retaining wall. It will be a spectacular decorative element of landscape design and at the same time perform the role of protecting your land from erosion. A boulder retaining wall also gives a chance to divide your sloping land into functional and aesthetic horizontal zones where you can grow flowers, plants, herbs or just a terraced green lawn around the house. Any uneven terrain provides an excellent opportunity to create the most incredible landscape projects and take advantage of the boulder retaining wall design ideas that we selected to show you. It is true that people find it difficult to imagine how to landscape a sloping terrain, but you will see how boulder retaining walls can become an organic part of the landscape and help you design water cascades, waterfalls, terraces which add a vibrant and dynamic look to the landscape.
Boulder retaining wall design – how to benefit from the advantages of natural stone
Retaining walls can be constructed from different materials. Cinder block retaining walls are especially popular and efficient, you can use brick, wood, you can pour concrete or use other type of stone. However boulder retaining wall design takes advantage of the great decorative value of boulders. In addition, they are incredibly strong and resistant to frost and sudden changes in temperature and aggressive environmental influences. A boulder retaining wall adds a special rustic charm and character to the landscape and the exterior design of the home. When boulders are naturally shaped by water and glaciers, the smooth surface and the scars are exceptionally charming.
Boulders can have different shapes and it depends on the personal preferences, taste and requirements what type of boulders you will choose for your boulder retaining wall. Tall stones are magnificent accents in rock gardens, they work very well in a garden waterfall composition, or at the base of a retaining wall. Low vertical boulders are massive, strong and heavy and an excellent base for retaining wall construction. Flat boulders have a flat top surface and often are man-made and a good choice for retaining walls, stepping stones and dry stacked garden walls.
Why choose a boulder retaining wall? Boulder retaining walls offer many benefits to the homeowners. In fact, those are the oldest type of retaining walls and have the longest life span. Further to that, boulder retaining walls are budget friendly as they can be constructed from field stones. The rustic look of boulder walls makes the landscape look very natural and you can be sure that your wall will last for a century as hardly any other material has a longer life or will last longer than boulders.
How to build a boulder retaining wall – useful tips for construction
When you plan to build a boulder retaining wall you can choose from boulder rocks or man-made boulder blocks which are evenly sized and the construction process is much easier. You need to get boulders which will provide both the desired strength and visual appeal. Bear in mind that large boulders can be incredibly heavy and it is strongly advisable to get your boulders from a local source. Determine the amount of boulders for your retaining wall so that you get the length and height you need. Experts advise that you get boulders of different sizes – large, medium and small so that you can shape corners or other wall variations.
Before starting the construction of a boulder retaining wall, make sure that you have checked the local rules and regulations and get the necessary permits from the local authorities. Draw a sketch of the retaining wall, especially if you plan a DIY project and list the exact measurements. However it is best if you hired professionals as they would be able to advise you on the need of removing trees, water or electricity underground lines, etc.
Boulder retaining walls, like any other retaining walls, need a foundation and that is the most important part of the construction. You have to dig the soil with a shovel or a digging machine, lay a layer of gravel of about 4 inches, compact the gravel and add a layer of sand.
Adding the boulders begins with the largest stones. Depending on the height, you may need to use smaller boulders at the upper levels of the retaining wall. Remember that large boulders are very heavy and you may need help to carry them to their place. Usually boulder retaining walls are constructed without mortar as the shape and heavy weight of boulders create a strong wall. Add a second and third layer and make sure that the stones are placed in the dipped area between the boulders in the lower layer.
Drainage is another very important element of retaining wall construction. A major advantage of boulder retaining walls is that they offer a natural drainage but it is still advisable that you leave gaps between the stones for water to drain.
Once you have finished with laying the large boulders, fill the gaps with the smaller boulders. This will add to the support and the strength of the wall as well as to the finished look and the visual appeal of the boulder retaining wall. Boulders have irregular shapes so you need to select them carefully and fit them together tightly to give the boulder wall an authentic natural look.