You might have a place by the front door or a spot within view of your patio or driveway where a beautifully colorful rock garden showpiece would make an inviting visual. Sunny areas or shady spots make no difference as you'll choose your plantings accordingly. Rock gardens are low maintenance, in season all year long, and provide an eye-catching element for your garden. Just keep in mind that a rock garden should end up looking like a natural rocky landscape and be low maintenance. Here's your chance to be creative!
To be visually exciting and successful the first time, plan carefully. Mounding up well-draining soil and placing the same type of large-sized angular rock that will look like outcroppings will be a good start.
Learning about the types of plants that will set off the rocks is important. Talk to a local landscaper for ideas or a local nursery. Websites like www.anniesannuals.com or www.highcountrygardens.com have extensive selections of water-wise plants perfect for a rock garden. A variety of colors will add interest and beauty. Choosing plants from mountain regions can add a raw and wild appeal you might like. I hope this blog will spark your imagination by throwing out some basic rock gardening ideas.
Rock gardens often look best if they are situated on the rise in terrain or are located on a hillside. If you have a good-sized mound or hill, contour it with stone edging going around the mound starting at the bottom and winding up the mound, which will give the garden a tiered effect. Even a stairway can be incorporated using flat stones that will provide you with access to the entire garden without stepping on the plants or disturbing the landscape.
The plants in the rock garden can be watered with drip or spray irrigation. Tubing can be covered under the surface of the soil or mulch, and then emitters or sprayers installed where the plants are located. If the garden is on a hillside or mound, then sprayers can be inserted on risers and spray down the slope to each plant or grouping of plants.
A small 2'-3' diameter pond overflowing into a small waterfall can be a great added feature in this setting. Add stacked rocks on the uphill side of the pond to create a textured look, rocks adjacent to the waterfall and stream flowing out of it will add a lot to this garden. Smaller stones at the base of the stream bed with a pond liner underneath will help this rock garden look like a wild stream bed.
A rock garden does not need many rocks to attain a natural look. A few large ones amongst some medium-sized rocks can achieve the look you want. Over time you can be continually adding to the size. Eventually, you can accomplish a high-country arid look often called a xeriscape, add flowering desert plants that, once established, are very drought tolerant. If you have rocks that have moss growing over them, add some low growing ground cover, and a few succulents to give it a forest floor feeling. Lastly, an Asian style garden with some azaleas, statuary, bamboo, and the sound of running water from a fountain can provide the perfect place to meditate. Once established, this type of garden will become a low maintenance showpiece.