Adding boulders to your yard is one way to give your outdoor space a unique look while providing a number of practical purposes. Todd and Libby Montreuil from Boulder Images describe the process.
What is Boulder Images?
Although the boulder industry is relatively new, Todd, one of the first to specialize in boulders, has been in the industry for 37 years. Todd came into contact with a developer and formed a partnership; Boulder Images was opened in 1999, although the original idea came about long before that "by accident," says Todd. "We were asked to try to set some boulders in a water feature years ago. Somebody heard we had equipment that could move a boulder; we got another call, and another call. Before you knew it, we switched over to doing 50% boulders, and by 1992 we did 100% boulders."
Boulder Images is not your typical landscape company. It's a company that specializes in boulders, often used for retaining walls, fire pits, stairways, and other structures. When it comes to reviving your yard, they can replace your tired timber walls or crumbling block walls.
"When it comes to building a home, everyone understands that you don't have the plumber install the carpet," says Libby. "The same thing goes with the landscaper—we're not the general contractor. We're very much a specialty crew."
That specialization includes choosing each and every boulder used in a given project. "The owner of the company goes to all the quarries around the country and handpicks every single boulder," says Libby. "For each job site, we meet to talk about the job. If he has any questions at all, he actually goes out to the job sites and looks at my design so he knows exactly which boulders to pick for each and every customer. Color, shape, layout, function."
Boulder Images is set apart from others because of their specialized equipment, too. "Nobody else has this kind of machinery," Libby says. "We're some of the only folks in the industry that actually specialize in this, and we've been doing it longer than anyone else in the industry."
It's evident that Todd and Libby love their jobs and are passionate about boulder landscaping. "What fills my bucket is making people happy and giving people a space they can love," says Libby. "In Minnesota, you don't get a ton of time outside each year. Minnesotan people, when we can get outdoors, we do. We live outside. With Boulder Images, we're trying to give people a space outside that is not only visually pleasing but also gives people a good feeling."
Why do you love Eagan?
If you're wanting to get a project done this year but worried there won't be enough time over the summer, don't worry. "Eagan gets preferential treatment from us," says Libby.
"Eagan doesn't have what's called seasonal road closings," says Todd. "When the snow starts melting in March, we can contract up and get a project going. For other places, it's like we're ready to go, the snow has melted, it's dry out, but the roads are too soft so they won't allow the equipment we need on the roads." These road restrictions delay projects in other cities, which benefits clients in Eagan who want to complete a project early in the summer.
"Since Eagan doesn't have seasonal road requirements, we can take care of Eagan clients first," says Libby.
"Even if we're booked to the end of the summer, if someone from Eagan wants a project done, we can get that done in April before the start of the season," Todd says.
How do homeowners decide what to do with their backyard?
Working with Boulder Images starts with a complimentary design consultation with Libby. During that conversation, she tries to "get a sense of how your family functions and how you want to function," Libby says. "That way I can understand how you want to use the space."
For some families, it's important to have a lot of sittable space in a retaining wall for hosting large events. For others, a place to garden without worrying about plants taking over the lawn is crucial. Families who value closeness and coziness might want a fire pit or a cove.
"Your home is the biggest investment you'll ever make," says Libby. "You spend so much to purchase your property—why not use every square inch? I'm a farm girl, so I believe in getting as many different uses out of a space as I can, so if I'm going to pay for something, I'm going to use every inch."
Landscaping with boulders can create a natural, timeless aesthetic that can add beauty and value to your property. For more information, visit boulderimages.com.
Todd and Libby connected through Boulder Images, so the company holds an extra-special place in their hearts.
"I got into it because I was a landscape designer," says Libby. "I would hire Boulder Images. I hired Boulder Images for like 10 years to do boulders, so I got to be his boss, technically. That's how we met. I ended up marrying my boulder guy."