Photo: Long lasting impressions (Shutterstock)
While it is common to incorporate stones into landscape designs, most of the time it is an outline around plants or a tree, or a pathway through a yard or garden. But there is another option: you could plan and create an entire rock garden.
What is a rock garden?
Even if you don’t know the term “rock garden”, you’ve probably seen one by now. Basically, a rock garden is what it sounds like: a garden planned around rocks that are either part of naturally occurring formations or are laid out and arranged to look like they’ve always been there, like that GreenMyLife.
Accordingly an article in garden design, Rock gardens can vary in shape and size:
A rock garden can range from a complex, large-scale project with many aspects and layers to a small corner adorned with gravel and river stones. Even a container can become a miniature rock landscape.
G / O Media can receive a commission
Rock gardens can serve a variety of purposes that not only look beautiful, but also fill in a dry river bed, define a slope, and serve as an alternative to a traditional lawn. They are also a great option for areas on a property where the ground is uneven or damaged in some way.
How rock gardens can save you time and effort
One of the main attractions of a rock garden is that it cuts down the time you spend weeding and tending a piece of land. Think about it: weeds cannot grow on soil covered by a stone. Sure, weeds (and ideally the plants you actually want) can grow between the rocks, but that’s the point. And unlike a traditional lawn made of grass, rock gardens are not something you can (or should) mow.
Fewer plants in one area also mean you don’t have to spend as much time watering and other types of gardening maintenance. It also saves water – something to consider Environmental Protection Agency estimates that landscape irrigation accounts for nearly a third of all water use in the United States, using seven billion gallons of water every day.
How do I create a rock garden?
While rock gardens are easy to maintain and visible year round (unless you live in an area where it snows), you can’t just crash a few rocks and end the day – the process takes some planning.
Accordingly Garden designThat includes everything from choosing the right location, to sketching the design you want to create, to choosing a rock garden style like Japanese, Alpine, or Southwest. You will also need to do some research to find out what type of plants will grow best in your climate and terrain, and to identify the right soil for the project.
Both Garden design and Old House Online have detailed instructions on how to build and then maintain a rock garden, including plant suggestions.