Tips for Designing and Building a Rock Garden

At first glance, the design of a rock garden may seem quite simple, but there is more than meets the eye. A rock garden can be loosely defined as any garden in which genuine mineral stone is naturally used as an essential visible component of garden design.

The stone should be seen and appreciated in the same way as plants, not just as a tough building material.

But a good rock garden is not made by simply gathering rocks, soil, and plants. Each component must be carefully selected and then carefully arranged in a way that makes the garden look natural for the style you choose.

In most cases, the garden should strive to emulate the natural geology and topography of a specific region.

Japanese rock gardens, for example, are often designed to emulate the look of the mountainous regions of Japan, using plants native to that region.

Here are nine tips for creating a rock garden that is easy to maintain, aesthetically pleasing, and naturally styled.

Choose the correct stones

In most cases, it is best to choose indigenous rocks for your rock garden, the type of rock that occurs naturally in your region.

Using stones commonly found in your area will make your garden look like a natural landscape feature. Most regions have certain types of rocks that are more common.

In much of Maine, for example, dark granite outcrops can be seen in road cuts and ravines, and this type of stone in a rock garden will look quite natural.

In the Mississippi River Valley, rocky stepped limestone is a natural choice for a rock garden. In other regions of the upper Midwest, it is the round stones created by the action of glaciers that make the rock garden look more natural.

Find affordable fonts

A large rock garden can be an expensive proposition, so it makes sense to look for affordable rocks. If you approach the project with the economy in mind, there is no reason why it should cost an arm and a leg.

At first glance, a local quarry, stone patio, or large landscaping company is the logical place to start your search.

Landscaping stone typically sells by the ton, with shipping fees added, so you can quickly find out how much your rock garden will cost.

You will probably find the indigenous stone common in your region to be the most affordable. If you have the use of a van, you can save hundreds of dollars in shipping costs.

Consider the style

Rock garden design can take many forms. Today, the goal is often to create a garden that resembles a native landscape, but you can also create a variety of themed rock gardens.

For example, you will hear the terms "alpine gardens" and "Japanese Zen gardens" used in relation to rock gardens.

The Japanese Zen Rock Gardens offer a place for quiet reflection and contemplation. His approach tends to be minimalist, making as strong a statement as possible with the fewest number of components.

In a typical Japanese Zen rock garden, for example, a few carefully placed rocks can form a focal point, highlighted by a large expanse of small rocks or sand that serves as mulch.

The mulch can be swept up to form an intricate but simple pattern.

Use the right construction tools

For DIYers, building a rock garden is one of the most physically challenging tasks you can undertake. A one-foot-diameter rock can easily weigh about 45 pounds, and a two-foot-diameter rock, common in a rock garden, can weigh about 100 pounds.

There may be many thousands of pounds of rock that must be moved and placed to build a rock garden.

Choose the right plants

If you are looking for a natural native look for your rock garden, pay attention to the types of plants that grow naturally in the rocky areas in your area.

Arboretums and public gardens often do a good job of creating this kind of natural look, and you can use their examples as a template for your plant choices.

Place the plants carefully

When it's time to plant, find an arrangement that looks natural. As a model, look at a local rocky terrain with wild plants growing on it.

Instead of a hodgepodge of species, sizable colonies of low-growing plants are usually found.

If you like creepy phlox, for example, but never know where to put it, your problem is now solved - a rock garden is potentially a great place to plant a large mass of creepy phlox.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about how to make your own DIY rock garden:

Source: Great Home Ideas

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