How does one create a rock garden?

shutterstock_450046186Rock gardens are beautiful things that can bring a natural but rugged look to your home. It has so many advantages that a modern homeowner could appreciate. It creates a mood of serenity that people with such busy lifestyles appreciate. It is also very low maintenance. Unlike gardens that are overpopulated with many different plant types by the bulk, you would not have to spend as much time trying to cut and maintain this sort of garden on a regular basis. This is the same reason why many believe that this is also more pleasing to the eye. With the emergence of the minimalist trend, many gardeners now believe that less is more. If you’re one of these gardeners, a cleared out and simple rock garden may be what is best suited for your home.

Having said all of that, let’s move on to how you can also have a rock garden in your home. By following these easy steps, you’re sure to be on your way to the tranquil and zen rock garden you never thought you wanted.

First Step: Clearing Everything

As with any gardening project, you’d want to start with a clear area of land. Grab some big shears and start removing the bushes or any undergrowth area that you may observe. To save time, you might want to use a leaf blower to clear the leave and maybe some light vegetation. You can also make use of the shovel so you can easily clear out the roots. You may then use the shears to cut any remaining branches that you want to take out.

When you’re left with very small vegetation, it might be a good idea to make use of a hoe and clear this out. You need to keep in mind that you need to be shaping the slate so you can add stone, mulch and plants later on. After you’re done with all of this, you may want to use an edger to make a distinction between the lawn and the bed space. Make the edge nice and deep so as time goes on none of the mulch and stone go to the lawn. They will just go into the edge.

Second Step: Choosing a Design

 Now you need to take a step back and choose the design. Get some inverted marking paint and then mark the area where your stone garden is supposed to be. The idea is to get a general feel for the area and see how the proportions will look like. You always have the option of redoing your markings, so let your ideas flow through the paint!

Third Step: Selecting Stones


There are three types of stones that you need to choose for your garden. You need to make decisions on the large boulders (big stones), small boulders and the flat stones that you would be using for your walkways. You might also want to select colored river bed stones, or maybe a flagstone for decoration later.

Fourth Step: Installing the rocks

 You should have your final idea for the design at this point, as moving around rocks is no easy tasks. Note that you will probably end up making tweaks here and there as you go through installation, so it’s important to get to a final design in mind to make it less of a hassle.

Start with the hardest and the biggest boulders to install first. You can make use of stone shims or crowbars to move the boulders around. Setting the boulders by creating a footing is important in order to achieve that natural look for your rock garden.

Fifth Step: Choose and install your plants

There are very little plants needed for your rock garden, but they do add a balance to the landscape so be mindful of that when you go shopping. It’s easier if you purchase plants that are suitable for the climate, as this makes them easier to maintain. The textures of your plants should be contrasting so you are able to play this off in the design.

Sixth Step: Creating the Riverbed


The easiest way to make a riverbed is to make use of small boulders, juniper bushes and a riverbed stone. The junipers go at the top and slowly flow down to create that natural “flowing river” look. This is supposed to empty into a simulated basin. You must dig out the riverbed after the junipers are all set. This must follow the line set by the flowers. After this you must position various boulders along and in the riverbed. This shouldn’t be formal stonework. Get a feel of this task and see which stones look good where. Set these in a footing.


Seventh Step: Setting the Plants


At this point, setting the plants would be the easiest thing. You can be playful when working out the plant arrangement. You purchased plants with different textures so you can play around with them. Keep that in mind. Occasionally take a step back so you can review your work. You don’t want the same type of flowers to be clumped together nor do you want the landscaping to not look cohesive.


Eighth Step: Setting the Walkway

The final touch to your rock garden would be setting the stepping-stones. Besides being a beautiful decorative addition, the stepping-stones will serve as platforms for you to water and maintain the plants from. Place the stones on top to loosely plan for where you want each stone to be placed. After that, you can set them.

You can do that by tracing an area around the stone with the shovel and shoveling a shallow amount of soil. Then you may place the stone on the ground. Repeat this for every stepping-stone needed to be placed.

After that all you need to do is to add mulch to where you think it looks best. While mulch is generally decorative, do take note that it helps the plants retain water. It also stops weeds from getting through. Only then will your rock garden be complete for you to enjoy.

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