A rock garden is typically a blend of rocks and plants. Rock gardens are unique additions to most home landscapes and a good way to use sloping or seemingly unusable areas of the yard.
The Japanese have prized rock gardens since medieval times. Their zen gardens are recognized as peaceful and meditative places. Rock gardens are peaceful and beautiful; they are also surprisingly low maintenance. Once the initial work has been done, they will not need much care to continue to thrive.
Where to Build a Rock Garden
The main requirement in a rock garden location is an area of yard with good soil drainage. For this reason, many rock gardens are built on slopes where water can easily run off. A natural sloping area of garden is generally the best choice, but raised beds can also be built if need be.
Some rock garden experts recommend an area that faces southeast or north so that plants are not exposed to too much sunlight.
Building a Rock Garden
To prepare the area, it should first be dug out about one foot into the dirt to remove any weeds and loosen the soil. After the area is well dug out, a foundation can be built. The bottom of the rock garden should be lined with the largest boulders first and then arranged with several larger rocks. Try to bury at least half of each rock so that the area will be sturdy. The areas between should then be filled in with smaller stones until the area is covered or the desired appearance has been reached. Be sure to mix up the sizes and allow a few of the largest boulders to remain prominent. A solid foundation is the key to a good rock garden.
Limestone is one of the best types of stone to use, but granite and other types of stone will also work. Rocks that are naturally found in the region will look the most authentic.
Planting in the Rock Garden
Once the area is filled in with rock, it is time to lay soil. A gritty soil is best; topsoil can be mixed with sand to help promote good drainage. Create areas of soil nestled in the rocks where plants can grow.
Verbena, Alyssum, delosperma, and geraniums are all good options to plant in rock gardens. Any type of alpine plant or flower will grow well in the dry soil and add beauty to the overall design. Space flowers out in the pockets of soil and let them grow naturally around the rock.