Stones, rocks and boulders can all add beauty, texture and an almost spiritual timelessness to your garden landscape. It can also offer some practical benefits in retaining walls and providing erosion protection. And, of course, the fact that it lasts for generations or longer is a pretty good benefit.
Functionally, stones, rocks and boulders can be used in your garden landscape in the following ways (and this isn't all of them):
- for retaining walls
- for erosion protection
- as a border to garden, pathway or driveway
- for pond bottoms and edges
- as part of water features and waterfalls
- to create a focal point in your garden
- as a decorative wall
- in rock gardens
- as decorative accents
- to bring beauty to a shaded area where vegetation doesn't grow easily
- as a garden seat
- for stairs
- in patios and walkways (e.g. flagstone)
Symbolically, stone represents power, foundation and that which is ageless, timeless or eternal. Maybe that is why it seems to bring a serenity to your garden.**
Stone it is a part of one of the four basic elements: earth, wind, water and fire. It also plays a very important role in Japanese gardens.***
"Japanese gardens always exist in relation to architecture and vice versa. They are people's view of the natural world and a stylized interpretation of what is beautiful in nature. The understanding of the stones
is emphasized. The Japanese gardener creates a special median zone that partakes both of man, by virtue of its spatial design (about 30 percent), and of nature, by virtue of its materials -- the land, stones
and plants (about 70 percent)…The drama of the stones
and intensity of planting gives continuity to the Japanese garden…"***
So whether it's the natural look and feel of stone or its quasi-spiritual quality. It just seems to add something special to any outdoor space.
*Noun je ne sais quois —a certain something source: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/je_ne_sais_quoi
** Kevin J. Todeschi. The Encyclopedia of Symbolism. (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1995.), 246.