A rock garden can be just the ticket for a difficult site such as a rugged, sloping site or a warm, dry site. A carefully planned rock garden with a variety of native plants creates beauty and textural interest while providing an eco-friendly haven for butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. Wondering how to design a rock garden? It is not as difficult as you might think. Read on for information on backyard rock gardens and some helpful suggestions on plants for rock gardens.
Rock Garden Design Building a rock garden is not difficult at all. In fact, it’s basically just a bunch of low-growing plants nestled into a clipping, although they can vary depending on the space. The best way to create a rock garden design is to take a look at Mother Nature’s natural handiwork and then copy her ideas. AD The first task is to go on a rock hunting expedition. If you don’t have rocks in your area, you may need to purchase them. Your local nursery or garden center can suggest stone dealers. If you have a construction site nearby, builders will be happy to have you haul some rocks away for free. (Always ask first!) Be sure to use real rocks and avoid man-made items like concrete and asphalt shingles, which don’t look natural and can leach toxins into the soil.
Once you have collected your stones, bury them with their widest side in the soil. Remember, the end result should look like it was created by nature. Avoid consistent arrangements, such as placing them in a straight line or creating a pattern with them. For a more natural look, face the stones in the same direction they were facing in their original location. Arrange smaller stones around larger ones so they look natural. If your backyard is on a slope, place larger rocks or boulders toward the bottom of the garden.
Plants for Rock Gardens Once your rock garden is in place, you’re ready to add some plants. Drought-tolerant, native plants are generally best for an authentic rock garden design. As a general rule, low-growing or medium-sized plants are ideal because you don’t want to obscure the natural beauty of the rocks. Before planting, make sure the soil is well-drained, or you could end up with a rock garden filled with rotting plants. Most rock garden plants tolerate poor soil, but never moist, wet soil. If puddles don’t drain relatively quickly, you probably have a drainage problem that can be solved by a generous addition of sand and organic matter.