After thinking back on my boulder shopping experience (from 2010), I came up with six helpful tips. If anyone is considering doing a project like this, or already has, I’d love to hear from you.
1. Figure out if you want a natural or formal look.
If you like a natural look – something you’d see in a stream at the bottom of a mountain – look for an irregular shaped boulder. Pitted surfaces, and nooks and crannies are also great natural looking features.
Our bubbling boulder has all kinds of nooks and crannies that allow the water to pool, creating a natural bird bath. I love to watch the birds bathe in it. They also drink from it.
If you like a fancy or formal look in your yard – something out of a magazine – look for a boulder with a strong geometric shape (e.g., square or rectangular) and smooth surfaces. A very round, ball shaped boulder would also provide a nice formal look.
Do a word search for “bubbling boulders,” and click on the images. Browse through a few pages of various bubbling boulders to determine your style preference. It will also give you some specific ideas for the boulder and project.
2. Take your time to find the perfect boulder.
The most important thing – aside from the budget – is to find the perfect boulder. By perfect, I mean perfect for your taste, your style, and your yard. What’s perfect for one person may look hideous to another. The extra time at the beginning will be well worth it.
3. Get the boulder wet before you buy it!
What surprised me most – even more than the cost of this project – was how different boulders look wet versus dry.
When I was looking for our boulder, I asked the salesman if he had some water I could use. The facility had a working water hose which was perfect! I was amazed at how drastically different the color of the boulder was when it was wet.
Seeing this difference may cause you to eliminate a boulder you’re favoring, or reconsider one previously ruled out.
I recommend bringing one or two gallons of water with you in case the facility does not have an available water source. If you forget to do this, you can stop somewhere to get water.
I can’t stress this point enough. The very definition of a bubbling boulder is that it will be wet (thus, the bubbling). So make sure you like what the boulder looks like when it’s wet.
4. Don’t make a purchase on-the-spot.
Look at MANY boulders. If you think you’ve found the right one for your yard, take a few really good photos, and then LEAVE. Look over the photos for the next couple weeks. If you continue to like the boulder just as much, or, better yet, it grows on you even more – you’ve got a winner!!:) If the boulder becomes less attractive to you, keep looking. It’s better to figure this out before the purchase and hard work.
5. Ask about the store’s layaway options.
Yep, you heard me right. That’s how I purchased my 3,628 pound boulder. I made a $100 payment every month for five months, a $200 payment one month, and the balance before delivery. It allowed me to get the boulder I wanted, AND it gave me time to get the yard ready for the boulder.
6. Consider looking for a free boulder.
The obvious upside to a free boulder is that it’s FREE. The biggest downside is that the selection is more limited.
Pray about it. If God wants to bless you with it, He can cause you to come across the perfect boulder that’s just lying along the roadside. Free is always better.