Most people believe that a rockery is just a decorative composition of flowers and stones. This is certainly true, but it is not all so simple as it has its own difficulties in construction and maintaining.
In order to create an impressive rocky garden that would be a pride of your place it is not enough just to put together some stones and flowers. When you are in the process of creating a rockery, it is necessary to pay attention to the general style of your garden and its landscape design.
Only when all things in your garden are in harmony with each other, the effect would attract anybody. What is rockery? The very word “rockery” comes from the word “rock”, the partial synonym of a “cliff” or a “stone”.
That is why main elements of garden rockery construction are stones and the whole composition is made around them. There can be some other elements but the most important thing is that all the parts make a complete masterpiece.
- Where to build?
- Different Styles
- Choosing stones
- InstructionStep 1. Prepare a territory Step 2. Foundation Step 3. The soil Step 4. The main idea Step 5. Stones Step 6. Plants
- Video tutorial
- What plants to choose?
Where to build?
In general, a rocky garden can be made in any climate conditions, although you should choose the plants that would do for your weather. Also take into account the fact that most plants need a lot of sunlight and protection from strong winds.
However, even if you have decided to make a rockery in a shadowed place, you should just choose the right plants and your garden would delight your eye.Attention: If you are going to create a rockery at the lot where water accumulates in the spring or after a rain, you should have good drainage there. You can make it with sand, crushed stones, claydite, crushed bricks or construction waste. If you make place for a rockery at a height, there is no need to make drainage.
It is not desirable to make a rockery under leaf-bearing trees because in the autumn it would be covered with dead leaves.Warning: If there are moles or shrews on the territory, it is necessary to cover the foundation of the future rockery with a close-meshed metal net.
There are many amazing ideas of modern rockery gardens and here are some of them:
- European style assumes the highest possible proximity to natural conditions. Both elements of construction and the composition itself should make an impression of a naturally made garden. There can be various flowers: procumbent or ornamental plants and even bushes.
- English stone rockery garden mostly consists of conifers. Also it is appropriate to use wormwood and crops.
- In the Japanese style stones play the principal role. They are also the basis of the whole composition. There are few plants in such gardens (about three or five species) and they have minimum importance.
When you are making a plan of your garden, pay attention to the quality of the soil, the humidity, the light and choose the best variant of a rockery.
Stones are the principal element in a rockery and plants are secondary and additional one.
Follow a simple rule: rockery stones must be of one type or at least the similar ones. Stones for rockery garden also should look alike and have similarities in their structure.
It would be better to use moss-covered garden rockery stones. However, if you do not have such rocks, you can break off sharp sides of the ones you have. In the result you will have “old” stones.
Moreover, stones for rockeries should be solid. They must be resistant to rains, snow, low temperatures, slight damages made by your tools and must support the ground.Advice: Avoid using sedimentary rocks and minerals because they can spoil the growth of the plants.
Specialists do not recommend using decorative stones as they would distract your attention from the plants. So, what kind of rocks should you use to build a rockery?
The best choice is to take limestones or sandstones. Also basalt, granite, dense volcanic rocks and shell rocks are suitable for a rock garden. In Europe people often use dolomite, tufa and shell rocks but you should remember that they cannot stand very low temperatures.
In order to create an attractive rockery, choose the stones you like and also take into account the special features of your territory and its soil.Learn more information about rock types for landscaping: for pool, small, large and flat rocks, pebble rocks, white marble, slate stones, glass landscaping rocks, lava rock and it’s pros and cons. Also fake and river rock.
In this section you will see some of the most beautiful ideas of rockery gardens that will inspire you to create your own:
If you have decided to create a rockery on your own, you should take some necessary measures to build a rock garden that will make you glad for a long time. The main scheme of a rockery consists of several big rocks, a gravel addition and undersized perennial plants that are situated between stones.
The form of the composition should be approximate to the natural landscape. A rockery should not be square or right-angled, it is better to make natural windings of the boundaries.
Follow the steps that is described below in order to create an easy rockery garden.
Step 1. Prepare a territory
This step should be taken in the early spring. Firstly, choose a lot with plane surface.Attention: It is not necessary for the surface of the land to be plane but there should not be strongly noticeable precipices.
Step 2. Foundation
Remove the layer of turf (about twenty centimetres) in the marked territory. Then cover the bare ground with geotextile, after that sprinkle drainage material and smooth it down with sand.
This layer should be about fifteen or twenty centimetres. Compress the soil tightly. This firm foundation will prevent the subsidence of big rocks.
Step 3. The soil
Fill the rest of the rockery’s height with a substance consisting of seven parts: three parts of garden mould, two of sand, one of peat and one of crushed stones.
The process of the soil’s shrinkage takes about two months. After this period you can turn to the next step.
Step 4. The main idea
Make a plan of your rock garden on paper according to your wishes. Decide how many stones you need, what species of plants you want, and how to organize them.Advice: you may also use a software program to make the process of imagining easier.
Step 5. Stones
Most landscape designers recommend using yellow, brown or beige rocks. These colours usually accentuate the fresh green colour of plants. Avoid using a lot of grey colour. If you have grey gravel, big rocks should be of a different colour.
Select a few big rocks and take as much gravel as it is necessary for your garden. Dig the big rocks into the ground to make them more stable. Also you can fix them with gravel or sand.Attention: When you are placing rocks, do not forget to leave place for plants.
Furthremore, do not forget to clean small and big stones, this procedure is compulsory.
Step 6. Plants
Plants usually serve only as an additional element to the rocks in a rockery. That is why you should plant them only when you have organized the whole composition with stones.
If you still did not understand how to create a garden rockery, then watch this video:
Here you can find more design ideas of rock landscaping:
What plants to choose?
Specialists strongly recommend using procumbent plants or coniferous and deciduous plants with a strong network of roots and some decorative qualities. If you want to build a rockery in the English style, choose undersized junipers, thujas or firs.
For creating a European rockery you will need undersized deciduous bushes with fruits and flowers.You can accentuate some parts of a rockery with roses, azaleas, box trees or barberries.Advice: when you are creating a rockery, avoid taking aggressive plants that grow very fast. They would ruin the image of your composition.
To sum up, it can be clearly seen that landscaping rockery is not the easiest task, but it definetely worth it. So, if you have decided to make your own garden rockery, it is necessary to approach this issue seriously. Take into account all the factors typical of your territory, choose more suitable plants and rocks for your climate and enjoy the results!