You Can Build a Rock Garden

You Can Build a Rock Garden

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Homeowners who prefer a natural landscape setting may want to consider building a rock garden. As the name implies, rocks are the centerpiece of this type of landscaping feature, with an assortment of shrubs, plants and flowers included as well. Rock gardens often feature benches and bird baths; some include waterfalls.

Your Personal Rock Garden

Landscape contractors design rock gardens, but homeowners can do the work themselves. Local garden centers can provide many of the materials, including rocks, or you can “scavenge” much of what you need from around your property. You can also offer to “relieve” your neighbors of that rock pile they’ve accumulated over the years.

Rock gardens come in a variety of shapes and styles, allowing the homeowner to develop a place to his or her liking. The following are some ideas of types of rock gardens for your yard, to fit most any budget:

Raised bed garden — If you have limited room, but want to benefit from a garden, then a raised bed with concrete or stucco walls can provide the desired effect in a small footprint. You’ll need dirt and stone to fill up the foundation with rocks, flowers and small conifers or other shrubbery on top. Your sitting area are its sturdy, walled sizes.

Water centric garden — The centerpiece of this garden is water, an attractive addition to any rock garden. A still or running pool or a waterfall can be surrounded by plants with a running stream or waterfall supplying constant motion. Include a bird house or bird feeder in proximity to your garden and you’ll find winged friends who’ll be attracted to the sight and sound of water.

Container garden — While not technically a rock garden, a container garden offers similar visual appeal and may be a wholly practical option for the homeowner. Get 10 to 12 clay containers and fill them with plants and flowers, placing these on a patio or a flat section of the yard. This option works well for the homeowner who may not want the permanency of a concrete walled garden.

Woodland rock garden — If your property adjoins a wooded area, a woodland rock garden can serve as a barrier between your land and the woods. This type of garden does not get full sun, therefore your plants must include shade tolerant flowers and bushes. Consider offering a rich mixture of annuals and perennials, but be mindful of avoiding any vegetation favored by deer and other wildlife. Place sun loving plants on the perimeter of the garden furthest away from the woodland advises Washington State University.

Rock Garden Plants

The plants found in any rock garden will suit the tastes of its owners. When selecting plants, consider what grows well in your area and pair these plants according to color, soil conditions, access to water, sunlight and shade.

Your rock garden should offer good drainage lest your plants rot. Match colors to reflect your garden’s overall theme and consider some variation in texture and size. A watering source should be nearby unless your rock garden features arid plants exclusively.

Weeds & Mulch

Rock gardens may seem like they’re not a good way to combat weeds, but unfortunately they’re not. Any garden will have to do battle with weeds although extracting weeds from a rock garden may prove easier to handle than in most other gardens. Use smaller rocks similar to the geological rock dominating your garden as mulch advices the Colorado State University Extension.

Finally, consider keeping your rock garden as a work in progress — a special garden you can expand or change from year to year. Some people make rock gardens as memorials, a fitting remembrance to a loved one who has died, featuring walking paths, bird stations and a memorial marker honoring the deceased.

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Categories: Landscaping

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".