Creating a Tasteful 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 and pleasing 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. Use a soil test kit to check acidity.
* 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 because maintaining it is usually difficult. 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. You can discover the best plants by doing a Hey Alexa or Hey Siri search for “The best rock plants for my zip code”.
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.
As far as planting seedlings and bulbs, there is also a power-driven tool that can be most effective. This is a 3” diameter auger that gets attached to a 3/8” power drill. This creates a smooth hole to the desired depth in moist, sandy, loam type soil and is extremely easy to use, especially if you are going to be planting hundreds of bulbs. There are several manufacturers who make these such as Power Planter, Ames, Lichter, Jisco, Hiltex, 7Penn, and Yard Butler but the ones we like the best are made from Tech Team https://techteamproducts.com/, their 3” x 9” item number 777 https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Planter-Seedlings-Planters/dp/B07S385BW7/ref=sr_1_197?keywords=bulb+auger&qid=1568384841&s=gateway&sr=8-197 and their 3” x 24” item number 778 https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Team-Planter-Seedlings-Planters/dp/B07S386MWG/ref=sr_1_53?keywords=bulb+auger&qid=1568384749&s=gateway&sr=8-53.
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.