A very common way homeowners proceed to solve the problem posed by rocky slopes is the creation of a rock garden. Although, in a case whereby the yard is flat and lack rocks, rock gardens can be employed also. However, the latter requires more strength but at the end of the day, it is definitely worth every joule of energy used.
Space & Color-An Essential Component
Space is very essential in the design of a rock garden. Even though it can be done with a small space, it looks much better larger spaces as a sprawling, naturalistic look can be attained. For those with a small space, they can create a garden no larger than a round raised bed made with select rocks which can easily fit into a small corner, perfectly preventing it from being in the way when the lawn is being mown. Another advantage is that the size makes it relatively easy to maintain.
Another criteria when making your own rock garden is the color. There needs to be a color theme in order to make it artistic. A good idea would be a red sandstone which would not only make the garden attractive but is also functional. However, while choosing the type of stone you would like to use, you need to remember that your choice of stone will determine your plant selection also. For the red sandstone, you will need plants that have a tinge of red and also some with colors like silver, yellow, and white.
Other supplies needed in making your rock garden include;
- Trowel and shovel
- Tape measure
Typically, a rock garden is elevated above the surrounding soil, therefore you need a layer of rocks and soil which you then build upon.
First Course– Clean Piece of Land
To start your rock garden, you also need to select a clean piece of land on which to work. If the selected place is covered with grass, then you need to ‘deal’ with the grass first. One very effective way of doing this is by covering the piece of land with a layer of newspaper and then holding them down with newspapers. Eventually, the grasses with die out and decompose, giving you the clean piece of land as desired. If you already have the clean land, you don’t need to cover with newspaper. And you should just go ahead and lay the first course of stones and soil.
An outer layer of rocks is needed to serve as the perimeter of your garden with a diameter of about 4 feet and each rock not exceeding 1 foot in any dimension. It is preferable to use your unattractive rocks for this layer. After the rocks are in place, you should fill it up with soil. As a rule, rock gardens require a soil that drains well; sandy soil. Once the perimeter has been filled up with sand, walk on it to pack it down.
Second Course– Enchanting Layer of Rocks & Plants
The next step is simply a replica of the first. Only thing is you now make use of smaller stones with diameter smaller than that of the first layer. It will be a circle inside a circle. When placing the stones for the second layer, you also need to make sure that the space between both layers is large enough to plant in. This, along with the spaces in between the stones of the second, is where the plants will be installed. The lighter, prettier stones are needed for this layer because it is closer to the top and more easily seen.
Selecting the Plants
Selecting the plants you will use is governed by just the colors. There are lots of variables to consider when choosing the plants and you also need to make sure that all the plants chosen as similar growing requirements in order for them to thrive. Each plant chosen should;
- Fit into the color theme
- Prefer good drainage
- Require only a moderate amount of water
- Thrive in a sunny area
- Show some variation in height and texture
Planting the Rock Garden
When planting, you need to make sure that the color of a plant shows perfectly well where it is placed, and then plant in threes. For example, if you are using white blooms of candytuft, the white will be striking against the red of the stone. So you can plant them first, picking spots for them where their colors can really shine. The rest of the plants with darker colors can radiate out from the candytuft.
Adding More Rocks
As you plant, you will add more rocks. The goal you are trying to achieve is to make the plants seem like that are protruding out of the cracks in the rocks. Therefore, as you are planting, you can place smaller stones around a plant after installing it. It is much easier to move a rock than to dig up a plant after installing it.
Mulch for Rock Gardens
Mulching can be especially difficult for a new rock gardener. On one hand, you can want to minimize weeds in the rock garden. And, on the other hand, the traditional bark mulches would stand out like a sore thumb among the rocks.
The simple solution will be to use stone. Now picking the stone can be a bit tricky as you need one whose color is quite similar to the color of your main rocks. And you can easily buy a stone mulch from a store also.
Once all these are in place, all you have to do is maintain your garden and watch it grow into a master piece that is both beautiful and functional.