If you’re Wile E. Coyote — or even just a fan of the perennially unlucky character from the Road Runner cartoons — then you might not be interested in using boulders to adorn your lawn.
For the rest of us, however, they’re becoming more popular than ever.
Landscaper Tommy Stapon said he’s been working with the enormous rocks frequently over the past several years since more of his clients are now choosing boulders instead of wood or concrete walls.
“People like the natural look,” said Mr. Stapon, who owns Town and Country Nursery in Jamesport. “Concrete walls all fade and in 10 years they look like garbage. With boulders, you have that look forever.”
According to the state Department of Transportation’s website, boulders and large rocks are common in areas of glacial deposits. Landscaping with them is common upstate New York, particularly when it is difficult to get rid of them.
Allan Schule, owner of Sound Shore Pond in Wading River, said rocks aren’t always ideal for certain projects, but believes they’re the best choice in most cases since boulders are more natural-looking compared to other materials used for hardscape projects.
“I have a rock in my truck every day,” he said, adding that he hand-picks each boulder. “There’s really no maintenance. Bricks crack and fade. Nothing really changes on the rocks and if you want more color, you power-wash it.
“We try to mimic nature,” he added. “You want to work with Mother Nature, not against it.”
When evaluating a client’s yard, Mr. Schule said he takes into consideration the color of the house. He then tries to find a boulder with a similar shade.
Most important, however, is figuring out what to plant around the rocks.
“In nature, you don’t really see a rock by itself,” Mr. Schule explained. “You see some plants creeping over it or a scrub nearby. You never want a rock to look like it just fell out of the sky. Plantings makes it look like the rock has been there for hundreds of years.”
In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, Mr. Schule said boulders are less expensive and cost about a third less than other materials.
While Mr. Schule purchases boulders at T S Hauler in Calverton, most of the boulders Mr. Stapon uses come from excavation work performed in the New York City area. The last bunch he received was from a project in Brooklyn.
“You never know what you’re getting,” he said. “You just tell them what size you want.”
Mr. Stapon said he’s done seven jobs with boulders this year, adding that it takes between a few hours and a day to complete a project.
“I just have a knack for picking out the rocks,” he said. “It’s like putting a puzzle together.”
WITH RACHEL YOUNG
Top photo: A boulder-landscaped front yard in South Jamesport. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)