How to make a rockery in the garden – choice of place, ideas, execution, plants and flowers for rockery

The stones blend in nicely with the plants. That is why the rockery is a very decorative element in the garden. See how to make it. A well-designed and made rockery, i.e. a part of the garden with stones, is to resemble a fragment of a mountain landscape. The Chinese are particularly fond of rock gardens, over 1000 years ago. We took over (in the 17th century) the art of making rockeries from them. To make a mini rockery , all you need is: a dozen stones, 2-3 buckets of gravel (not always needed), a few bags of soil and a few plants associated with a rocky landscape. Recommended are, for example: small conifers, Arends saxifrage, cordial bergenia, swarms, sedum, charming garden perennials – sunflower, pasque-flower. Tulips and crocuses can also grow there, which will make the rockery colorful from spring. Currently, rockeries are also built of solid and aesthetic paving materials, which perfectly imitate the structure and appearance of natural stone. An interesting fact is the rockery in pots and “rock gardens” made of tires , although this is a matter of taste.

A few tips to get you started

  • Think about the shape of the rockery. Your rock garden or rocky corner should be at least a little bit like nature. Its shape should be irregular. Avoid a perfect circle, square or rectangle. Nature knows neither the ruler nor the compass.
  • Draw a schematic plan of the rock garden on a piece of paper . Its shape, the arrangement of large stones and plants.
  • Design conifers on the outskirts. When planning a place for individual plants, reserve an edge for creeping conifers, because if they grow in the center, other smaller plants would quickly dominate.

Choose a suitable place for the rockery

The center of the garden is representative, but it is not always worth making a rockery in the middle. This works well in a large garden , where it can be surrounded by picturesque paths. In a small to medium garden, it is better to make a rockery a little to the side. The place should be quite sunny, because most of the plants are for rockeries or light. If your home rockeries are in the shade, then the choice of flowering plants that can grow there is very limited.

  • On the embankment. The rockery can be part of an embankment or a dry stream.
  • On the slope. It looks nice on a slope or near a wall.
  • At the stairs leading to the house. This is an interesting idea to make the entrance more attractive.
  • At the terrace. A good place is in the immediate vicinity of a terrace or gazebo.
  • A rockery in the form of a path. It can also take the form of a stone path leading, for example, from the house to the gazebo. It is enough to plant low plants between the stones.

How to make a rockery: step by step

Once you know what shape the rockery will have and what dimensions it will be, now it’s time to work.

  • Dig the top layer of earth to create a depression – 10 cm is enough.
  • Add small pebbles and coarse gravel if the soil is clayey and not well-drained. And if it is permeable, then such drainage is not needed.
  • Cover the perimeter with large stones , creating a kind of low wall or border.
  • Pour an embankment of universal soil or other garden soil (with a tip) inwards to create a small hill. Water it.
  • Place a few more stones on the hill. Water it daily while waiting for the earth to settle. This takes up to two weeks.
  • Add some soil when the hill becomes too flat.
  • Plant the plants. The construction of the rockery is completed by planting plants. There must not be too many of them, leave room for them to grow.

What stones to choose for a rockery

Ordinary field stones, which can be found in wastelands, are suitable for making a rockery. But it would be nice if they were irregularly shaped and at least some of them should have sharp edges (like mountain rocks). You can also buy special stones for rockeries: dolomites, granites, basalts, sandstones, limestones in garden centers. It is best to choose one type, but it is good to differentiate them in size. They should cover no more than half of the rock garden area. It is stacked to form something like horizontal shelves. Do not make the entire rocky slope. The bottom layer should be the largest. It is good to dig them 1/3 of the depth.

Plants for rockery

Once the rockery is done, it’s time to plant the plants. Plants associated with the mountains should be found here. Creeping juniper, small spruce, mountain pine or pine pine are good choices. But the flowers on the rockery also look good and make it more attractive. The harbingers of spring are highly recommended: crocuses, tulips, and daffodils. There are also reliable perennials for rockeries: bergenia, oakwort, Carpathian bell, sunflower and many others. Clumps of ornamental grasses also look very good. Tall plants are planted at the back and low plants at the front. The little ones look good in groups.

A rockery made of paving materials

On level ground, you can make a rockery, for example from elements that are used to build cobblestone walls or palisades – you can buy, for example, in construction supermarkets. Any part of the garden is separated with them, and then it is filled with garden soil and plants are planted. Several stones can be placed between them.

A rockery made of tires

It is a rockery with a grain of salt, because … without rocks. And rather for those who like unusual ideas and use waste for the sake of nature. If you haven’t taken your old tires to the so-called eco point in the commune, they are only located in the basement, you can make a stable (multi-storey) structure with a base (to create a container on the ground) and plant your favorite flowers. Hanging species, such as bakopa, ivy-leaved geraniums, plectrantus, ivy, look very good in such a container of tires. You can paint the tires in any color and in an unusual rockery made.