Whether you are looking for something fun and different to do with the kids — or just want to get outside — a rock garden may just be the thing for you! It’s great for changing the landscape around your house or for creating an activity to do with the family year round!
Create a Beautiful Rock Garden
A rock garden can be a relaxing and natural oasis in your yard. Whether you’re using large boulders, small pebbles or a variety of rocks, there are many ways to create a beautiful rock garden you will love.
Selecting a Location
- Soil: As you’re scouting locations, you’ll want to check out the soil and see what plants will grow best in that type of soil. Is your soil acidic or alkaline? If you really want to plant a particular plant that doesn’t work well in your soil, you can treat the soil to change the pH balance.
- Sun: Be sure to take note of the area throughout the day — is this a full sun, partial sun, partial shade or shady area? This will also affect the types of plants you will choose for your garden.
- Rocks: You may already have a location that has some large rocks in it. If so, that’s a terrific place to begin. If not, you can order from a local landscaper or rock quarry.
- A sloped, hilly area that is difficult to mow makes an ideal location for a rock garden. Choosing interesting rocks and plants can make this otherwise troublesome landscaping area into a showpiece in your yard.
- A front yard rock garden can include a stone wall and stone border and can add an inviting aspect to your entrance.
What to Plant?
When selecting plants, keep in mind that low-growing plants and plants that don’t require a lot of water will work best in a rock garden. You can also create multiple levels and terrace the garden for better water distribution.
Plants that do well in rock gardens tend to be drought resistant, need good drainage, and grow in a compact size. Keep in mind also that because this is a rock garden, the plants you choose will complement the rocks. For this reason, you won’t need showy stand-alone plants and can select more low-key flowers that will look great amid the various rocks you’ve also selected. Consider selecting low-maintenance plants and, of course, those that grow well in your region.
In a desert region, you might consider incorporating cacti into your rock garden. In a warm and moist region, you might choose ferns.
- Small plants: Many gardeners choose small, low-growing plants for their rock gardens. Some examples include yellow alyssum, purple ice plant, Angelina stonecrop, hens and chicks, snow-in-summer creeping phlox, reticulated iris and creeping thyme.
- Medium-sized plants: You may want to consider moonbeam coreopsis, lavender, yarrow, columbine, royal candles speedwell, autumn joy sedum, blue rug juniper, black-eyed Susan, or Shasta daisy.
- Larger plants: Consider including Mugo pine, Russian sage, rockspray cotoneaster and lamb’s ear.
Once you’ve made all your decisions, it’s time to dig up the area, pull all weeds, and then add mulch. Add gravel and rocks to make a natural look and be sure to put plants in transition areas between the rocks to add to the natural look. Then you’re done! You can add stone statues if you like, or maybe even a small pond or waterfall to add to the rocky scene.
A rock garden is a peaceful and relaxing garden that solves many landscaping challenges. Rustic, natural and whimsical, your rock garden will be a point of pride for your yard.