How To Build a Rock Garden

A rock garden is a nice addition to any yard.  Many people are intimidated by the idea of building a rock garden, but it's not hard.

The first step is to pick a location.  Many people like to build a rock garden on a slope so it has a terraced effect.  If you don't have a slope, you can create a dirt mound.  However, you can also build a rock garden on flat ground.  The advantage of a slope is that it provides better drainage, especially if you have a mixture of plants that require different amounts of water.  When picking a location, also consider the type of plants you'll be using.  Pick a sunny spot for sun-loving plants and a shady spot for shade-loving plants.

Next, you'll need to build a foundation for the rock garden.  Remove the dirt from the rock garden area, about a foot down.  Put in a layer of gravel, then a layer of sand, then the topsoil.  Each layer should be one-third of the foot you removed, or about three inches.  The gravel will provide drainage and the sand will help hold the topsoil.  Mix some peat in with the topsoil to make it richer and promote plant growth.

Now decide on a color scheme for the rock garden.  You'll want to pick rocks and flowers that go together.  White rocks such as limestone would go well with flowers in cool shades of blue and leaves with silvery highlights.  A bright mix of many colors would set grayish rocks off well.  Rusty-looking rocks like sandstone would look great with bright yellow flowers such as marigolds.  Consider both your preferences and the space you have to work with.

Set the rocks in place in the rock garden.  If you buy the rocks from a landscape company, they will probably deliver and place the rocks for you.  You may be able to get some free rocks from a construction site, but you'll have to move them yourself.  This may involve renting some equipment, depending on the size of the rocks.

Once the rocks are in place, shovel some dirt around them so they look natural in their setting.  Don't add the plants just yet.  Give the ground about a month to settle, since you've recently dug it up.  You may want to add some more topsoil.

When the ground has adequately settled, you can add the plants.  Put in some bedding plants for some color right away.  Then plant several varieties of seeds and see which ones do well.  You can experiment and decide which ones you like best.  You can also try new ones each year.

Building the rock garden was worth it.  It looks great!


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