Building a Rock Garden

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated October 21, 2016)

Do you happen to have an area of your yard that simply won't grow anything? Perhaps you live in an area of the country where water is a bit scarcer than you would like? Or would you like to have a yard or garden that is exceptionally easy to maintain? If the answer to any of these is yes, you may want to consider building a rock garden. Not only can these types of gardens be astoundingly beautiful, but they are also exceptionally easy to maintain. Simply follow these instructions to ensure that you get the job done properly.

  1. Choose the right spot. When building a rock garden, just as with any other kind of garden, you will need to choose the right spot. Ideally you will want to choose a location that has been rather difficult for you to traditionally garden. Some examples of this could be on a slopped section of the yard, an area that has an excessive amount of shade, or simply an area that you have difficulties with.
  2. Start digging. When you have finished choosing the location to build your rock garden, you will need to mark off the boundaries of the garden. You can do this with the use of some string and stakes, or by using a can of spray paint. After the boundaries have been set, you can begin digging. Use a shovel, and dig down about one foot throughout the entire area. This will allow you to create a solid foundation, while also removing any weeds that may be in the area. Properly dispose of the soil so that you don't run the risk of allowing any weeds to grow in your new garden.
  3. Create a drainage system. One of the elements to a successful rock garden is to have a good drainage system. This means that you will need to put down a layer of gravel or rocks. This layer will help drain excessive amounts of moisture from your soil, and help prevent any unwanted problems from cropping up. This layer should be as level and even as possible, though you don't need to have a specific type of rock used, and the layer should be about four inches deep.
  4. Don't forget the sand. With the gravel and rocks in place, you will then need to create another layer, this time made of sand. This layer helps keep the topsoil in place, and prevents excessive runoff during rainstorms or watering. This layer only needs to be about two or three inches deep, though it does need to be as level as possible.
  5. Lay the soil. As with most kinds of gardens, the soil is of utmost importance. While you can always purchase some premade topsoil from your local nursery or home improvement store, you can also make your own. There are all kinds of recipes that you can use to make your own soil, but a good general recipe is to use equal parts of topsoil, peat moss or humus, and pebble sized gravel.
  6. Place the rocks. With the foundation now made, you can begin working on the rocks themselves. While you can use any type of rocks that you would like, you really should use rocks that you either find in the yard itself, or that are natural to the area. Place them randomly throughout the area, and any rock that is around the size of a boulder should have about 1/3 of it in the ground. Do not use too many rocks though, or your garden can end up looking too cluttered.
  7. Wait for a while. Even though you have the rocks for your garden in place, you are not finished yet. Allow the rocks to sit in the garden for about one month. This will allow the rocks to fully settle, and also allow the rocks to look "more natural."
  8. Begin planting. If you are interested in planting foliage in your rock garden, you can now do so. Ideally, you will want to choose some plants that will do best in your area, and only use some plants that are low maintenance. Plant a few of your chosen flowers or plants randomly in your rock garden, and allow them to see how they will do. This way you can tell if you want to add any additional plants, or if you need to move any of the existing plants that you currently have in place. In addition, you may want to use several different kinds of plants, such as flowers and grasses.

When you have finished planting any plants that you may want to include, you are pretty much finished. All you need to do now is water the plants periodically, and keep a look out for any possible weeds or other problems, and you should be good. Keep in mind that just because this garden is lower maintenance, it doesn't mean that it is maintenance free. You will still need to do a bit of work to get the most out of your garden.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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