Can't see it? How about now:
There is nothing in nature that would deposit rocks in this hodgepodge, many-lone-rocks-sitting-out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere pattern except a glacier. In fact, this type of deposition "pattern" is so erratic that geologists call the rocks left behind by glaciers...well, erratics. The problem is, there has never been a glacier in LBB. Not even back before LBB was LBB.
Every time I stop at this intersection, I have to avert my eyes. Clearly, someone thought, "We'll add boulders to the landscape! A bunch of boulders! Boulders make things look great!"
Well, yes, I have to agree that boulders look great in a landscape, but they should look like something that might actually occur in nature. Or, failing that, they should at least offer a reference to it.
I could see how the designer could have made this mistake, though, since taken in segments, as discrete tableaus, it doesn't look too bad:
Even this scene has a certain poignancy, as if the erratics were deposited there in order to suggest to the viewer that the gas prices sign is really a tree:
It is when they are dribbled out in a line along the planting strip that the design breaks down. Even if paying homage to the natural is not a designer's intention, there should at least be places in the composition for the eye to come to rest. But stringing individual boulders out like this give one the jumpy eye.
I'm afraid I couldn't get a shot to give you the full effect, since the best angle for that is in the middle of the intersection, and this was late in the day and evening rush hour traffic was at its peak. But this view might give you some idea of the overall look:
I don't mean to be unkind with my criticism here, but as a former geologist, I have to confess that it pains me to see rocks abused in landscapes. And yet, I can understand how it happens. People like rocks. I know this for a fact because I see them spending the equivalent of the national debt on HGTV hiring some guy with a truck and a plan to build "natural" water features/retaining walls/dry stream beds with them.
But, oy, those water features/retaining walls/dry stream beds don't always look so good. And I can understand how this happens, too. The landscapers goes down to the stone yard and orders up a truckload or two of big boulders or gravel, thinking that the mere addition of them to the landscape--without a real understanding of the environment they are trying to create--would enhance the scene. But we wouldn't assume that about plants, would we?
So lookit, as a public service to those HGTV guys, I've decided to start an informal series on designing with rocks and call it something clever like...oh, let's see...how about, "Hardscaping should not be hard."
I don't really have a detailed plan; I just thought maybe I'd show some design hits and misses from time to time, maybe talk about how rocks behave in nature, maybe talk about other kinds of hardscaping, maybe muse a little about the meaning of it all--I dunno. My plan is kind of...erratic at this point.
But the rocks in my landscape are not.
Editorial note: The original photos were replaced with ones taken earlier in the day for better light.