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Rock Garden Landscaping Ideas

Rock garden landscaping ideas can help you make a difficult part of your yard more attractive. Maybe it is under a tree and nothing grows well there, or your yard ends in a bit of a slope.

Various spots can be problem areas for a number of reasons. Maybe the soil is already too rocky to dig, or maybe it just doesn't drain well and becomes a muddy mess when it rains.

Creating a rock garden can transform these areas into attractive corners you actually enjoy. Rocks can be used to add visual interest, to prevent erosion, or just to fill an area that otherwise may be an eyesore.

rock garden landscaping ideasMaybe you have a source of rocks on your property... if they're small, they're not too difficult to move. A good design to do with small rocks is to form a dry river bed... it can meander over the troublesome spot, while linking it to other landscaped areas in your yard. The rocks form the river bed, and if anything will grow, plant a little here and there along the "banks."

If you don't have a source of rocks, you'll have to buy some or find some that someone else doesn't want. At some landscaping companies, you can buy boulders or standing stones of various sizes. They will need to be delivered and put into place with heavy equipment. But they can certainly make a statement in your yard.

If you use large rocks, you'll want to place them carefully. They are difficult to move if you change your mind!

Once you have some rock garden landscaping ideas you like, figure out what you are going to do where.

If you have a boulder or three you want to place, figure out where they are going now. You'll want to dig in those spots, so the rocks look like they are coming out of the ground naturally, instead of just setting them on top.

To age your rocks, you can actually grind up moss in a blender with potter's clay and yogurt. Pour the resulting mixture on your rocks. Mist it to keep it moist as the moss begins to grow. Voila! Instant moss-covered rocks!

Maybe you want to use stones to build a small retaining wall for a slope or to create a terraced look in your yard. This is another terrific rock garden landscaping idea that adds the texture of stone to your yard.

Rock Retaining Wall

To build a stone retaining wall, you'll want to dig a trench along the path the wall will take. The trench should be as wide as half the height of the wall. You'll want to lay the first few courses of stone in this trench so they are mostly submerged. By using the widest, largest stones in the bottom few layers, it will give your wall a lot more solidity.

By stacking rocks so they fit well together, you are creating a sturdy wall that allows its own drainage... water will seep through the small cracks between the stones. When choosing stones for your wall, you'll want them to have two sides that are mostly flat (the top and bottom). This will make stacking them easier.

Also, the heavier the rocks are, the sturdier your wall will be. The initial work will be harder with heavier rocks, but the results will be worth it.

When your retaining wall is about half the finished height, you want to incorporate what are known as "deadmen." Every so often, you want to carve out a bit of the dirt behind the wall, and insert a rock perpendicularly to the other stones in the wall that extends into the dirt. This will help anchor your wall into the slope. Finish your wall with capstones... stones that are similar to those at the bottom of the wall. They should be heavy and flat.

Rock Garden Plants

Now you'll want to add some plants. Many rock garden landscaping ideas incorporate drought tolerant plants. Some plants you may want to consider: sedum, coreopsis, echinacea (coneflower), lamb's ears, stonecrop and several varieties of ornamental grasses.

Xeriscaping is using drought tolerant plants instead of plants that need a lot of watering, like lawns. If you like the way your rock garden looks, you may want to extend it further into your yard, minimizing your use of water and cutting back on your mowing chores.

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