3 Fresh Ideas For A Rock Garden

A rock garden can be an attractive addition to any yard. Landscaping rock comes in almost unlimited color, size and shape options. You can utilize everything from boulders to sand in your rock garden. What's more, landscaping rock can be a good way to solve problem areas such as a slope or shady corner. Add a fresh rock garden to your landscape.

Raised Garden

Rocks stack, so they can be ideal for creating a raised planting bed. You can utilize flat stones to make a raised bed in a flat yard or as a low retaining wall on a slope. Don't mortar the stones – instead leave them casually stacked. Fill the bottom of the bed with drainage gravel, and add potting soil. Sunset Magazine recommends connecting the raised bed to your drip irrigation system, if you have one.

From there, it's just a matter of choosing your plants. Alpine classics such as moss phlox, white cinquefoil and royal blue aubrieta grow well in such a raised planting bed. Use hardy plants such as dianthus "tiny rubies" and gypsophila franzii to fill in crevices in the rock face.

Boulder Garden

Boulders are another method for taming a slope or adding visual interest to a flat yard. Choose an odd number of boulders in different sizes as the foundation for your garden. Have the largest boulder placed first, but not in the center. Arrange the other boulders with asymmetry to keep the look natural.

For plants, consider showy items such as irises, Russian sage and ornamental grasses. Depending on the size of your rock garden, you may want to dot the ground with groundcover plants. When installing the larger plants, place them against the rocks so their foliage shows off against the boulder face without obscuring it.

Ivy Garden

If you have a shady corner, an ivy garden is a good solution. For this garden, you need a series of flat stones. Place them in as natural a pattern as possible. If your shady corner is sloped, place the larger stones at the base. Leave enough room between your stones for planting.

You don't have to stick to exclusively ivy for this garden plan. In fact, ferns, nettles and violas are also shade-loving plants. Before planting your garden, place the plants in their containers around the stones. Make any adjustments necessary before actually planting into the ground. Since you're using ivy, consider adding a short trellis for the plant to climb.

Utilize attractive landscaping rock to create a pretty rock garden.